Preparations for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration continued Wednesday amid a heavy security presence in Washington, with the areas around the Capitol and downtown streets closed to the public and tens of thousands of National Guard troops mobilized in a massive show of force.
In a major departure from previous inaugurations, most of the events were already planned to take place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a sign of the anxiety gripping Washington following the riot at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob earlier this month, the building was briefly on lockdown and its west front, where a rehearsal for Wednesday's inaugural ceremony was taking place, was evacuated Monday after a "small fire" under a nearby bridge prompted an announcement of a security threat.
On Tuesday evening, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will speak at a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool to commemorate the over 400,000 Americans who have died from Covid-19. A field of flags has been placed on the National Mall, representing those unable to attend the inauguration because of the coronavirus. The inauguration comes as the Senate prepares to try President Donald Trump on one article of impeachment for urging thousands of supporters to march on the Capitol on Jan. 6.
This live coverage has ended. Continue reading inauguration news from Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021.
Read the highlights:
— Viewers' guide to Biden's Inauguration Day: Everything you need to know.
— Texas man who stormed Capitol accused of threat to shoot children if they turned him in.
— Trump to lift some Covid travel restrictions, a move Biden quickly rejects.
— Four years of capturing Donald Trump.
— By the numbers: A statistical look at Trump's four years in office.
Facebook has no plans to lift Trump ban, sources say
Facebook has no plan in place to lift the indefinite suspension on President Donald Trump's Facebook account following his departure from the White House on Wednesday, sources familiar with the company's plans said.
The ban on Trump's account remains indefinite, the sources said, and there is no current plan in place to lift it. The social media giant said on Jan. 7 that it would "indefinitely" ban the president's account due to his role in inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol a day earlier. The company said the ban would last at least through the end of his term.
Facebook's suspension stopped short of the permanent ban that other social media companies like Twitter and Snapchat lated placed on Trump's accounts.
After pandemic, inauguration was 'make-or-break' moment. But small businesses in D.C. fear the worst.
Small businesses in Washington traditionally see their sales double or triple during inauguration week, as people from around the country travel to the capital to welcome the new president. But after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, restaurants and stores are facing another week of bleak sales amid a punishing pandemic as the city shuts down over threats of violence from supporters of President Donald Trump.
“I always say D.C. pays the price for what happens on the national level,” Angela Franco, interim president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, told NBC News. “Any protest that doesn’t end up well, the city ends up paying the price.”
The city has been hammered by political unrest over the last year as the pandemic closed stores and prohibited indoor dining, gutting some businesses. More than one-quarter of small businesses in Washington were closed by July 2020 and revenues fell by about 50 percent, according to an October report from the D.C. Policy Center. The district’s small businesses had the sixth-largest closure rate of 53 major cities in the United States over the course of the pandemic last year, the report found. Dozens of storefronts shut down over the summer as protests raged over police violence against Black people, costing businesses additional lost sales.
Now, threats of violence during the inauguration mean that roads around the Capitol are blocked and 25,000 National Guard troops are stationed around the city. It’s just the latest blow to Washington’s fragile small-business community.
Pelosi tells MSNBC's Joy Reid: 'Trump was a stain on our country'
Pelosi spoke Tuesday about the end of Trump's presidency and the transfer of power Wednesday to Joe Biden.
Speaking about Trump's decision not to greet Biden at the White House, Pelosi said in an interview on MSNBC, "I do think that we're bigger than all of this. Donald Trump was a stain on our country.
The full interview with Joy Reid is set to air at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday.
"I don't think we could have sustained our democracy if he had two terms in office, for what he was doing to our institution or what he was doing to our Constitution. He dishonored it," Pelosi said.
She added that Trump "in every respect was unworthy to be president, did not respect the office that he held and certainly did not respect the office the rest of us hold as well. I respect the office of presidency, of the president, more than he did for how he mistreated it. So in any event, he's gone. We have to let — we have to — how can I say it? It's not lessons learned because it was so evident all along what a disgrace he was. But to find out how we can bring people together, that's our responsibility and again, nobody better than Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to do that."
In tearful farewell address, Biden thanks Delaware, remembers late son
President-elect Joe Biden bid a tearful farewell to Delaware on Tuesday, thanking the people of his home state and emotionally reminiscing about his late son Beau in his penultimate speech before his inaugural address.
Speaking at a send-off event in Wilmington, where Biden had headquartered his presidential campaign and, later, his presidential transition, Biden repeatedly broke down weeping as he spoke.
“Excuse the emotion, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart. And the hearts of all. We love you all. You've been there for us in the good and the bad. You never walked away. And I am proud, proud, proud to be a son of Delaware," Biden said, with tears streaming down his face.
"And I am even more proud to be standing here doing this from the Major Beau Biden facility. Ladies and gentlemen, I only have one regret. He's not here. Because we should be introducing him as president," added Biden, who continued crying.
Democrats race to push Biden's agenda after transition delays, GOP infighting
After weeks of Republican infighting over President-elect Joe Biden's victory, which culminated in the deadly siege of the Capitol two weeks ago by supporters of President Donald Trump, Democrats are now racing to help Biden get to work on day one.
Democrats will officially capture the Senate on Wednesday when, according to two sources, three new members will be sworn in during the afternoon: Georgia winners Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, and California's Alex Padilla, the appointee to replace Kamala Harris, who resigned on Monday two days before her vice presidential inauguration.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the outgoing majority leader, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will take over as leader of the chamber, are planning to meet Tuesday to discuss various items, according to multiple sources. They will talk about Covid-19 relief, the logistics of an impeachment trial of outgoing President Donald Trump, Biden's nominations and finalizing how power will be divided in a chamber split 50-50 between the two parties, the sources said.
Will the Biden administration be able to stop evictions of tenants hurt by Covid?
In spite of a federal moratorium barring ousters of tenants who attest they have been affected by Covid, eviction filings continue to course through the country. These proceedings harm renters in many ways: Evictions often result in job losses, academic research shows, and generally appear on credit reports, making it difficult for renters to find new residences. Eviction costs can also be added to rent bills, increasing the amounts ultimately owed by renters to their landlords.
Recognizing the ravages of evictions, President-elect Joe Biden has called on Congress to provide another $30 billion in rental assistance, on top of the $25 billion set aside in the December 2020 stimulus package. He has also requested an unspecified amount of money for legal aid and an extension of the moratorium, which was imposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through Sept. 30.
But a moratorium only works if it is well-enforced, tenant advocates say, and actual evictions are still happening, according to legal aid practitioners.
"While the CDC order imposes criminal penalties on landlords who violate the moratorium, no entity or persons are enforcing the order and there is no mechanism for renters to file complaints against landlords who violate the order," said Diane Yentl, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
McConnell: Capitol rioters were 'fed lies' and 'provoked by the president'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday on the Senate floor that the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 were "fed lies" and were "provoked" by Trump and others.
"The last time the Senate convened we had just reclaimed the Capitol from violent criminals who tried to stop Congress from doing our duty. The mob was fed lies," McConnell said.
"They were provoked by the president and other powerful people, and they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government, which they did not like," he added.
McConnell also acknowledged that the House has impeached Trump and that the Senate is waiting for the lower chamber to transmit the article so that a trial can begin.
The Trump years in pictures: From the Women's March to the Capitol riot
In a presidency marked by polarization, Donald Trump’s term has seen conflict at the border, successful strikes overseas and unusual photo opportunities.