Amid the fallout from President Trump’s second impeachment, President-elect Joe Biden remained focused on his priorities in a speech Thursday outlining his proposed $1.9 trillion package to tackle the coronavirus and address the economic havoc it has caused.

Biden also repeated his plea for national unity, saying it’s “not some pie-in-the-sky dream. It’s a practical step to getting the things.The country can’t overcome its many challenges “as a separate and divided nation,” he said in closing. “The only way we can do it is to come together.”

Biden will take office Wednesday, with inaugural activities dramatically altered because of the pandemic and unprecedented security in Washington because of fears of more violence after last week’s deadly takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

At a briefing on inauguration security with Vice President Pence, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said more than 100 people have been arrested in connection with the riot and more than 200 suspects identified.

Here’s what to know:
  • Biden is poised to tap Jaime Harrison, a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, to lead the Democratic National Committee. Harrison set fundraising records in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) last year.
  • The House made history by impeaching a president for a second time, indicting Trump a week before he leaves office for “incitement of insurrection” with false claims of a stolen election that led to the storming of the Capitol and five deaths.
  • The bipartisan impeachment vote set up a politically explosive reckoning for Senate Republicans, who spent four years enabling Trump’s behavior but in the wake of last week’s Capitol riot are grappling with how — and whether — to punish him.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) moved Thursday to forestall a messy internal leadership fight, making clear he did not support calls to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) as the No. 3 GOP leader in the House after her vote to impeach Trump.
  • National Guard forces from a growing list of states moved into positions around Washington as authorities scrambled to understand the threats surrounding Biden’s inauguration and prevent a repeat of last week’s attempted insurrection at the Capitol.
4:10 a.m.
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Senate hearing delayed for Biden’s director of national intelligence nominee

A Senate hearing for Avril Haines, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be the director of national intelligence, has been delayed, according to a transition official. It is unclear when the hearing will be rescheduled.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had originally planned to hold an open nomination hearing at noon on Friday for Haines, who would have been the first of Biden’s nominees to receive a Senate hearing. With a few exceptions, Biden’s Cabinet picks will require Senate confirmation.

This week, Biden’s transition team urged “swift hearings and confirmations” for its national security nominees in light of reports of potential threats and additional violence across the country.

“DNI-designate Haines was looking forward to appearing before the Committee tomorrow. We are disappointed the hearing was delayed, particularly given the urgency to have national security leaders in place in this time of crisis,” transition spokesman Ned Price said.

“Nevertheless, DNI-designate Haines eagerly awaits the opportunity to answer the Committee’s questions next week,” he added.

A hearing for Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security, has been scheduled for Jan. 19, the day before Inauguration Day.

3:29 a.m.
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Twitter outlines transfer of official White House accounts on Inauguration Day

Twitter has announced how it will handle the transfer of official government accounts from the Trump administration to the incoming Biden-Harris administration on Inauguration Day.

Once Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, Twitter will transfer current “institutional White House Twitter accounts” — including @WhiteHouse, @POTUS, @VP, @FLOTUS and @PressSec — to the National Archives and Records Administration.

The official accounts under the Trump administration will be publicly archived by appending a “45″ to the handles. For instance, Trump’s @POTUS account will be publicly archived as @POTUS45, just as the Obama administration’s account was archived as @POTUS44, the company said.

Once that is complete, the Biden administration will gain access to the institutional White House accounts, which will no longer include the followers or tweets from the Trump administration. @Transition46 will become @WhiteHouse, @PresElectBiden will become @POTUS, @SenKamalaHarris will become @VP, @FLOTUSBiden will become @FLOTUS, and @PressSecPsaki will become @PressSec.

A new account, @SecondGentleman, has already been created for Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris.

1:36 a.m.
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Biden makes case for unity in pitching $1.9 trillion ‘American Rescue Plan’

In a lengthy speech from Wilmington, Del., on Thursday night, Biden made the case for his “American Rescue Plan,” a $1.9 trillion economic and health-care relief package aimed at bringing the country out of its twin public health and economic crises.

In selling his proposal, Biden once again called for the country to unite — a theme he has focused on since the beginning of his presidential campaign but a goal that has seemed increasingly difficult in recent weeks, particularly after a pro-Trump mob overran the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday in a violent siege that resulted in the deaths of one police officer and four rioters.

“Unity is not some pie-in-the-sky dream. It’s a practical step to getting the things we have to get done as a country, get done together,” Biden said Thursday.

Biden’s plan calls for $400 billion aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic, including $20 billion for a universal vaccination program. On Thursday, Biden blasted the vaccine rollout that had taken place under the Trump administration as “a dismal failure thus far” and vowed to “move heaven and earth to get people vaccinated,” with an initial goal of 100 million shots administered in his first 100 days in office.

His plan also calls for more than $1 trillion in relief to families and $440 billion in aid to communities and businesses.

Without mentioning Trump by name, Biden promised repeatedly that he would handle the pandemic and its economic fallout differently.

“There will always be stumbles, but I will always be honest with you about the progress we’re making and what setbacks we will have,” Biden said.

And without explicitly noting that he will likely face pushback from Republicans, as well as the hyperpartisan environment in Congress and in the country right now, Biden cited a “moral imperative” to act.

“Now I know what I just described does not come cheaply. But failure to do so will cost us dearly. The consensus among economists is we simply cannot afford not to do what I’m proposing,” Biden said.

Biden closed his remarks with a call for unity as the only way forward for the future of the country.

“We didn’t get into all this overnight. We won’t get out of it overnight. And we can’t do it as a separate and divided nation,” Biden said. “The only way we can do it is to come together, to come together as fellow Americans, as neighbors, as the United States of America.”

11:16 p.m.
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Pence greets National Guard troops on Capitol Hill

Vice President Pence visited National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 14, thanking them for their efforts toward holding a safe inauguration. (Reuters)

Vice President Pence made an unscheduled stop Thursday night to visit National Guard troops on Capitol Hill, who had been deployed following the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Thank you for stepping forward for your country,” Pence told the troops, who applauded him, according to a pool report.

Pence said as a former Indiana governor he was familiar with the National Guard and spoke to individual members asking where they were from and how long they had served. He chided one from Pittsburgh about a friendly rivalry; many others were from neighboring Virginia.

Pence wished the huddle “a safe inauguration and a swearing in of a new president and vice president” before he departed.

“Hooah,” the troops yelled in response.

10:43 p.m.
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Trump requests $27.4 billion in spending cuts from Congress six days before leaving office

With less than a week left in office, Trump sent a letter to the House and Senate leadership asking for 73 specific cutbacks to the 2021 federal budget totaling $27.4 billion.

The president has the power to propose rescissions to a budget already signed into law, but it’s up to Congress to cut the spending. Congress has 45 days to act on the president’s request. Given that neither the House nor the Senate is slated to return to work until Jan. 19, the last day of Trump’s presidency, his request is likely to be ignored.

Trump had signaled in December when he signed the $1.4 trillion fiscal 2021 spending bill that he would ask Congress to cut back some projects and programs.

“I will sign the omnibus and covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed,” Trump said in a statement then. “I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill.”

The letter to congressional leadership asks to impound funds from nearly every major Cabinet-level agency, as well as the “African Development Foundation, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the District of Columbia, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Inter-American Foundation, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the Peace Corps, the Presidio Trust, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.”

10:12 p.m.
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More than 100 arrests made since Capitol invasion, FBI director says

Vice President Pence met with the heads of the FBI, FEMA, and the Secret Service on Jan. 14 to update the public on security concerns around the inauguration. (The Washington Post)

At a briefing on inauguration security Thursday, national security officials said they were confident in their ability to ensure a safe inauguration next week, citing more than 7,000 National Guard troops who have been brought in to Washington so far — a number expected to grow to 21,000 troops by Inauguration Day — and an expansive perimeter effectively covering all of downtown D.C.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray said more than 100 people have been arrested in connection with last week’s invasion of the Capitol and that more than 200 suspects have been identified.

“We know who you are, if you’re out there, and FBI agents are coming to find you,” Wray said as he briefed Vice President Pence at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters.

Wray said the arrests of people suspected to have taken part in the insurrection — in cities as far as Phoenix, Dallas and Honolulu — should serve as a “very stern warning” to anyone else who wanted to engage in violence.

“We are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter … about a number of events surrounding the inauguration,” Wray added, noting that agents were trying to discern how much of that chatter was “aspirational vs. intentional.”

Pence said he appreciated their efforts to ensure Biden and Harris were sworn in “in a manner consistent with our history and traditions.”

“The American people deserve a safe inauguration on January 20th and I encourage you to convey to all your members to continue to lean forward to achieve just that,” Pence said at the briefing.

8:55 p.m.
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As U.S. Capitol attack unfolded, some Hill staffers remembered their school-shooting drills

As the word spread via email alerts and social media that a violent mob had breached the U.S. Capitol last week, workers in offices throughout the complex locked and barricaded their doors, turned out the lights, stayed low to the ground, silenced their phones and sat quietly in the dark hoping the danger would not come to them.

For many of the Hill’s younger staff members, the decision to take those actions wasn’t instinct, it was training. An entire generation of Americans who grew up during an epoch of horrific school shootings have learned since kindergarten what to do when an outside threat enters the building.

In a small conference room in the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), eight of her staff members hunkered down undetected for two-and-a-half hours as the invaders occupied and trashed the offices of the third most powerful person in the country.

8:48 p.m.
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GOP Sen. Murkowski says House 'appropriately’ responded with Trump impeachment

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said the House’s quick decision to impeach Trump on charges of “incitement of insurrection” was the appropriate response to his “unlawful” actions.

“On the day of the riots, President Trump’s words incited violence, which led to the injury and deaths of Americans — including a Capitol Police officer — the desecration of the Capitol and briefly interfered with government’s peaceful transfer of power,” she said in a statement. “Such unlawful actions cannot go without consequence and the House has responded swiftly, and I believe, appropriately, with impeachment.”

But Murkowski, who is up for reelection in 2022 and voted against hearing from more witnesses in Trump’s first Senate impeachment trial, did not indicate where she’d fall on convicting Trump, saying only that she would listen to all the evidence and “will then announce how I will vote.”

Other Republican senators have made similar comments that leave open the possibility that they would convict Trump. On Thursday, Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama also said he would wait for the trial to pass judgment on whether Trump should be convicted.

“I believe we need to wait and hear the evidence. If there is a trial, which would be my third as a sitting senator, I would sit as a juror,” Shelby said. “And as a juror, I would carefully consider the evidence presented.”

Every Republican but Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah acquitted Trump last year.

8:47 p.m.
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Far-right groups make plans for protests and assaults before and after Inauguration Day

President Trump’s exhortation for his supporters to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6 has galvanized a nationwide extremist movement and fueled those determined to disrupt the transfer of power to President-elect Joe Biden and violently challenge the legitimacy of the election for months — and possibly years, according to U.S. officials and independent experts.

U.S. officials have warned authorities nationwide to be on alert for potential acts of violence at state capitols, as well as a possible second attack on the Capitol or on the White House. Law enforcement authorities have said extremists may use firearms and explosives and are monitoring online calls to rally in cities nationwide beginning Sunday. Security at the inaugural ceremony in Washington on Jan. 20 probably will be the most intense ever.

At the center of the amorphous but increasingly motivated extremist movement sits the current president, now twice impeached, deprived of his social media megaphones but still exerting a powerful influence over his followers who take his baseless claims of election fraud as an article of faith.

8:13 p.m.
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House Minority Leader McCarthy opposes effort to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from leadership post after her vote to impeach Trump

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) moved Thursday to forestall a messy internal leadership fight, making clear he did not support calls to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the No. 3 GOP leader in the House after her vote to impeach Trump.

Several Trump loyalists, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), have called on Cheney to resign or be removed from her post as Republican conference chairwoman, suggesting that she cannot effectively lead a group whose members voted overwhelmingly against Trump’s impeachment.

Cheney issued a scathing statement ahead of her impeachment vote — one that was quoted by Democrats several times during the floor debate Thursday: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

Cheney was one of 10 Republicans to break with the GOP and join Democrats in voting for Trump’s impeachment.

A McCarthy aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal political matters, said the leader “does not support efforts to remove her as conference chair.” The statement was first reported Thursday by the Washington Examiner.

While Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) has circulated a petition seeking to oust Cheney, the daughter of former vice president Richard B. Cheney, other House Republicans publicly backed her continued service as chairwoman — including several members who opposed impeachment. Rep. Cheney told reporters Wednesday she was “not going anywhere.”

7:45 p.m.
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Dozens of people on FBI terrorist watch list came to D.C. the day of Capitol riot

Dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in Washington for pro-Trump events Jan. 6, a day that ended in a chaotic crime rampage when a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, according to people familiar with evidence gathered in the FBI’s investigation.

The majority of the watch-listed individuals in Washington that day are suspected white supremacists whose past conduct so alarmed investigators that their names had been previously entered into the national Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, a massive set of names flagged as potential security risks, these people said. The watch list is larger and separate from the “no-fly” list the government maintains to prevent terrorism suspects from boarding airplanes, and those listed are not automatically barred from any public or commercial spaces, current and former officials said.

The presence of so many watch-listed individuals in one place — without more robust security measures to protect the public — is another example of the intelligence failures preceding last week’s fatal assault that sent lawmakers running for their lives, some current and former law enforcement officials argued. The revelation follows a Washington Post report earlier this week detailing the FBI’s failure to act aggressively on an internal intelligence report of Internet discussions about plans to attack Congress, smash windows, break down doors and “get violent . . . go there ready for war.”

7:39 p.m.
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With Trump banned from Twitter, his supporters are parsing speeches for clues about what’s next

Shortly after President Trump was impeached a second time, he shared a five-minute video on YouTube.

From the Oval Office, Trump “unequivocally” condemned the attack on the U.S. Capitol, saying “violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement.”

As the clip coursed through far-right channels, Trump’s biggest supporters struggled to make sense of the comments. “No mention of Biden’s transition,” one user wrote in a QAnon forum, suggesting that meant Trump would remain in office after Jan. 20.

Another, hearing an echo in the recording, speculated the president was preparing for a military takeover from a bunker.

For most of his presidency, social media served Trump as his megaphone, allowing him to spread his message at all hours of the day and night. But since he was banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for his role in the deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, he has communicated only sparingly with his supporters.

7:33 p.m.
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Two Democratic lawmakers request cots for newly stationed National Guard members

Responding to images of National Guard members in a newly fortified Capitol complex lying on floors, two Democratic lawmakers have written to Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy requesting cots.

“With the uncertainty for needed rest and recoup time in flux, and to ensure that the Guard members are fully able to execute their protection mission, we urge you to make available cots or other equipment to more easily facilitate their ability to rest while they are on Capitol grounds,” said the letter, signed by Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.), the senior member on the Appropriations defense subcommittee.

In the letter, the lawmakers said they are grateful for the additional protection in the wake of the short-lived takeover of the Capitol last week by a violent pro-Trump mob.

But they said they were distressed by photographs of Guard members “having to take breaks or rest on the floors of the Capitol.”

Guard representatives have said that the members stationed at the Capitol are staying at hotels when they are not on duty.

Meryl Kornfield contributed to this report.

7:25 p.m.
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Star-studded virtual concert part of Biden inauguration activities

As part of inaugural activities transformed by the coronavirus, a star-studded concert will be staged virtually on Sunday night that will double as a fundraiser for the Biden Inaugural Committee.

Carole King, Will.I.AM, James Taylor, Fall Out Boy, Michael Bivins, Ben Harper and AJR are among the performers listed on in invitation to the event, which will be hosted by Keegan-Michael Key and Debra Messing.

“An experience usually reserved for people able to travel to Washington in person, this concert will be available to all supporters across the country, no matter where you are or what you can afford to donate,” says the invitation, which includes suggested donations starting at $5.