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
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10:30 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Bomb threat called into Supreme Court

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue

A Supreme Court public information officer tells CNN that a bomb threat was called into the court, but the building has not been evacuated.

The Supreme Court building sits across the street from the US Capitol, where President-elect Joe Biden will take the oath of office at noon ET.

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect that a bomb threat was called into the court, but it was not evacuated.

10:19 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden likely to make small tweaks to his inaugural address until the very end 

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

A senior adviser to Biden says the President-elect will likely make small tweaks to the inaugural address until the very end.

Biden has been working on this speech for weeks with his team, including with his speech writer Vinay Reddy and senior adviser Mike Donilon, who has played a major role in crafting so much of Bidens messaging over the years. 

Biden is known to be a meticulous preparer for speeches big and small and has been known to make changes up until the last minute. We’ve also heard the President-elect talk about how he marks up his speeches to help with pacing. 

Sen. Chris Coons, one of Bidens closest allies on Capitol Hill, told CNN he expects the speech to be one of optimism that notes the challenges the country has overcome together and also challenges "Congress to come together in partnership with him and meet the real needs of the American people."

1:08 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

What members of Congress are saying as they arrive for the inauguration

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Daniella Diaz

Members of Congress have started to arrive at the Capitol for Inauguration.

Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell told reporters "it is disappointing that for the first time in our country’s history we will not have a peaceful transfer of power," but added that today is a day of "renewal."

Democratic Rep. Karen Bass said that for her, today is about getting control of the Covid-19 pandemic and that "for me personally is, is that an end of the divisiveness an end of the racism, of the narcissism, I mean it's been a terrible four years, it really has. Our country has been ripped apart. I was here on January 6. And so today what it means for me personally is that maybe our nation can heal now."

Bass, who did not attend Trump’s inauguration, said that today was a historic day to be able to watch Kamala Harris be sworn in as the first woman and also the first Black and South Asian woman to be sworn into office.

"It’s a new day in America" Rep. Juan Vargas, a Democrat from California, said. 

Asked about the enhanced security around the event, Vargas shared that he has had conversations with many members of the National Guard and that they are excited to be at the event.

"We have met so many Guardsmen and it has been fantastic," Vargas said. "They’re all excited about being here."

"It has been uplifting in a way that I did not expect."

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell were also seen arriving at the Capitol ahead of the event.

10:14 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

The Obamas and Clintons have arrived for Biden's inauguration

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

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Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama have arrived at the US Capitol for Joe Biden's inauguration.

Their arrival was followed by former President Bill Clinton and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shortly after.

See the Obamas and Clintons arrive for the inauguration:

10:02 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

This official will be acting treasury secretary until Biden's pick is confirmed

From CNN's Phil Mattingly

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Monetary Policy at Treasury, Andy Baukol, will be the acting treasury secretary until President-elect Biden’s designated nominee, Janet Yellen, is confirmed, according to a Biden transition official.

Baukol is a long-time career civil servant and has been running point on the Treasury transition process. 

Senate Democrats are pressing to have Yellen confirmed as soon as tomorrow, though that will require all 100 senators to consent to the expedited timeline. 

10:00 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

At today's inauguration, there will be a sea of flags where the crowds would normally be

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

American flags are seen in the early morning as preparations continue for the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20.
American flags are seen in the early morning as preparations continue for the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

A traditional highlight of any inauguration is the sea of supporters of the incoming president that flood the national mall from all over the country. 

In keeping with the trend of this transition of power being like none other, that tradition will also be massively different. 

Because of concerns related to coronavirus and increased security after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the public has been barred from watching the inauguration from the mall. 

There is an intense security perimeter that wraps around the entire mall with only one entrance and only credentialed journalists and staff are allowed in. 

In place of the people, the inauguration committee has placed 200,000 flags representing all 56 American states and territories. 

The flags have been lit brilliantly and give the impression that the mall is packed, when in reality there are very few people down here. 

The goal is to make the optics event look impressive for the millions of people watching from home who can’t be here. 

One added wrinkle to the presentation: Forecasters are calling for 40 mph+ winds during the ceremony — which means those flags will be flapping.

CNN's Ryan Nobles reports from the National Mall:

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.