The inauguration of Joe Biden

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:42 a.m. ET, January 21, 2021
46 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:09 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Obama to Biden: "This is your time"

Former US President Barack Obama campaigns for then-presidential nominee Joe Biden in Atlanta on November 2, 2020.
Former US President Barack Obama campaigns for then-presidential nominee Joe Biden in Atlanta on November 2, 2020. Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama tweeted at President-elect Joe Biden hours before he is set to take the oath of office, offering congratulations.

"This is your time," Obama wrote.

Read the tweet:

CNN's Arlette Saenz reports:

9:52 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Acting AG to resign at noon making way for unusual arrangement to start Biden administration 

From CNN's Evan Perez

Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2020.
Then-Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC, on September 22, 2020. Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen is resigning today, ending a tenure marked by the things that didn’t happen, including no special counsels appointed despite pressure from the White House.

The Justice Department said Rosen is leaving office at noon today, making way for an unusual arrangement to start the Joe Biden administration. 

In his nearly monthlong tenure as acting attorney general, Rosen withstood pressure from Trump, who personally and through White House officials had pushed repeatedly for the DOJ to appoint a special counsels to investigate matters the President wanted, a person briefed on the matter said. 

Later today, Monty Wilkinson, a career DOJ lawyer and former Eric Holder deputy chief of staff, is expected to be acting attorney general until Biden's pick, Merrick Garland, is confirmed, people briefed in the matter said.

Wilkinson is deputy assistant attorney general for human resources and administration. For a few hours, until Biden signs an executive order appointing Wilkinson, John Demers, assistant attorney general for the national security division, will serve as acting attorney general. 

With Rosen leaving, Demers would normally be the acting attorney general. But Biden is relying on a Trump-era legal opinion that installed Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general after Trump fired Jeff Sessions. Democrats questioned the legality of that appointment, but now Biden is using that precedent to appoint Wilkinson as acting attorney general. 

Demers will stay on for a time under Biden. Under US law, a Senate-confirmed official must serve as attorney general at all times to handle sensitive national security matters.

9:41 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Stocks open higher ahead of new presidency

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe 

US stocks opened higher on Wednesday as the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is getting underway in Washington. 

President Trump leaves office with a stock market near record highs. That said, the market performance under the Trump administration fell short of that under previous presidents.

Here's where things opened:

  • The Dow opened 0.3%, or 86 points, higher.
  • The S&P 500 rose 0.6%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened 1% higher.

9:37 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

This could be the first sunny inauguration in nearly 3 decades

From CNN's Allison Chinchar

Members of the honor guard practice at sunrise for a presentation at Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington, DC, on January 20.
Members of the honor guard practice at sunrise for a presentation at Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington, DC, on January 20. Sarah Silbiger for CNN

This could be the first sunny Inauguration Day since President Bill Clinton was sworn in for his first term – nearly three decades ago.

It will be a chilly, blustery day in Washington today, with one of the windiest inaugurations on record expected.

Forecast at Noon calls for a temperature around 45 degrees, partly to mostly sunny skies, with the possibility of a passing flurries. Gusty winds of 35 to 40 mph are expected during the ceremony, which will create a wind chill of 35 to 40 degrees

Here's a look at the weather at the last few inaugurations:

  • Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration: Temperature of 48 degrees at noon. Cloudy. Sprinkles at swearing in ceremony; light rain at start of parade. South winds around 5 mph.
  • Barack Obama's 2013 inauguration: Cloudy. South wind 7 mph. Temperature of 45 degrees at noon.
  • Obama's 2009 inauguration: Filtered sun through cirrus clouds. Breezy winds gusting around 20 to 25 mph. Temperature of 28 degrees at noon with wind chill values as low as the mid teens.
  • George W. Bush's 2005 inauguration: Mostly cloudy skies with a temperature of 35 degrees at noon. Around 1 inch of snow was already on the ground.
  • Bush's 2001 inauguration: A cool dreary day, with rain and fog -- visibility down to 2 miles, and a temperature of 36 degrees at noon.
  • Bill Clinton's 1997 inauguration: Temperature of 34 degrees at noon with mostly cloudy skies.
  • Clinton's 1993 inauguration: Sunny and pleasant with a noon high of 40 degrees.

9:51 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Kamala Harris wearing Black designers on Inauguration Day 

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff attend mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, with congressional leaders on January 20.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff attend mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC, with congressional leaders on January 20. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is wearing Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson, per a Harris aide. 

Christopher is a young Black designer, from Baton Rouge, and lives in New York City. Sergio is a Black designer from South Carolina.

The Second Gentleman is wearing a Ralph Lauren suit.

CNN's Kate Bennett reports:

9:50 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

17 House GOP freshmen sent a letter to Biden committing to work with him

From CNN's Daniella Diaz and Annie Grayer

Republican Rep. Beth Van Duyne, who represents a Texas district where Democrats were competitive, led a letter to Joe Biden signed joined by 16 GOP House freshmen, saying they look forward to working with him.

"We firmly believe that what unites us as Americans is far greater than anything that may ever divide us," they wrote. "In that spirit, we hope that we can rise above the partisan fray to negotiate meaningful change for Americans across the nation and maintain the United States’ standing as the best country in the world."

Some of the representatives who signed onto the letter include Madison Cawthorn, Barry Moore, Burgess Owens, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Peter Meijer, Ashley Hinson and Carlos A. Gimenez.

"The constituencies we represent showcase the variety of thought across our great nation," the letter said. "Americans are tired of the partisan gridlock and simply want to see leaders from both sides of the aisle work on issues important to American families, workers, and businesses," it added.

CNN's Manu Raju reports from Capitol Hill:

9:30 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump repeated false claims and exaggerations in his final speech as President

From CNN's Daniel Dale

President Donald Trump made false claims from the first hours of his presidency to the last.

In his final speech, Trump falsely claimed that he got “almost 300” judges confirmed. In fact, he got 234 total judges confirmed to the Supreme Court, district courts and appeals courts, according to figures from Brookings Institution visiting fellow Russell Wheeler.

Trump also claimed that his number of judicial confirmations is a “record-setting number.” In fact, President Jimmy Carter appointed 261 judges, according to Wheeler — 39% of the available judgeships at the time to 27% for Trump.

Trump, exaggerating as usual, rounded his 74.2 million votes in the 2020 presidential election to “75 million votes.” He boasted that he set a record for a sitting president, which is correct, but he did not acknowledge that Joe Biden got over 7 million more votes than he did. 

Trump also said he passed the largest tax cut in American history. This is not true either in inflation-adjusted dollars or as a share of the economy. 

Trump did not explicitly say, as he normally does, that he is the one who got the Veterans Choice health care program passed — but he nonetheless suggested he is responsible for the program, taking credit for the ability of veterans to get reimbursed by the government for treatment from doctors outside the VA system. That initially happened because of the Choice bill President Barack Obama signed into law in 2014, though Trump did sign a 2018 law that modified and expanded the Choice program.

9:33 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Joe Biden tweets: "It's a new day in America."

The sun rises as preparations are made at the Capitol on January 20.
The sun rises as preparations are made at the Capitol on January 20. Caroline Brehman/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden just sent his first tweet of Inauguration Day, moments after Donald Trump left the DC area for the final time as president.

9:25 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Jill Biden will wear female American designers

From CNN's Kate Bennett

As is customary and in line with the tradition of previous first ladies, Jill Biden will be making an Inaugural attire donation to the Smithsonian. 

Her Inauguration Day attire will be from female American designers, a personal familiar with the matter tells CNN. 

According to the Biden transition team, the President-elect is wearing a navy suit and navy overcoat, both by American designer Ralph Lauren. Jill Biden was wearing an ocean blue wool tweed coat and dress by emerging American designer Alexandra O'Neill of Markarian.