WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration (all times local):
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is explicitly pointing his finger at President Donald Trump for helping to spur the attack on the Capitol by the outgoing president’s supporters.
The Kentucky Republican said Tuesday on the Senate floor, “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”
McConnell spoke six days after the Democratic-led House impeached Trump on charges of inciting the Jan. 6 attack. A Senate trial on whether to convict Trump and perhaps bar him from ever again holding federal office is expected to begin in coming days.
After years of supporting Trump with little criticism of him, the influential McConnell has said he’s not decided whether he would vote to convict him. His decision may prove critical because in a Senate that will be divided 50-50 between the two parties, it would take 17 Republicans to join all Democrats for the two-thirds margin needed for conviction.
Joe Biden replaces Trump as president at noon on Wednesday.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN’S INAUGURATION:
When Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts leads President-elect Joe Biden in the oath of office, security will be unusually tight following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and inaugural events will be curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
— Inaugural event to celebrate resiliency of Black Americans
— Biden, Harris take break from inaugural prep to mark MLK Day
— Inauguration rehearsal evacuated after fire in homeless camp
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
Three new Democratic senators are set to be sworn into office after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.
The arrival of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California will give Democrats a working majority in the Senate — split 50-50, with the new vice president, Kamala Harris, as the tie-breaking vote.
A person granted anonymity to discuss the planning tells The Associated Press that Harris is set to deliver the oath of office to the three Democrats after she is sworn in during the inauguration as vice president.
Warnock and Ossoff defeated Republican senators earlier this month. The Georgia secretary of state is expected to certify those results Tuesday.
Padilla has been tapped by California’s governor to fill Harris’ remaining term in the Senate.
— By Lisa Mascaro.
Two U.S. Army National Guard members are being removed from the security mission to secure Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration. A U.S. Army official and a senior U.S. intelligence official say the two National Guard members have been found to have ties to fringe right group militias.
No plot against Biden was found.
The Army official and the intelligence official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity due to Defense Department media regulations. They did not say what fringe group the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in.
Contacted by the AP on Tuesday, the National Guard Bureau referred questions to the U.S. Secret Service and said, “Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration.”
The Secret Service told the AP on Monday it would not comment on if any National Guard members had been pulled from securing the inauguration for operational security reasons.
— By James LaPorta, reporting from Delray Beach, Florida.
Joe Biden will strike a unity theme before his inauguration as president on Wednesday by worshipping with Congress’ top four Republican and Democratic leaders.
The Democratic president-elect has talked throughout the campaign and the post-election period about his goal of uniting a sharply divided country.
Biden’s incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, on Tuesday retweeted a post that said Biden had quietly extended invitations to Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and to Republicans Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy to accompany him to a Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral.
Spokespeople for Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell and McCarthy confirm they are accompanying Biden.
Sen. Chris Coons tells CNN the church service is “an important part of respecting tradition.”
Coons is a Democrat from Biden’s home state of Delaware. He says the service is a “reminder of who Joe is and who we are as a nation that’s hopeful and optimistic.”