Biden news – live: President-elect cancels inauguration travel plan amid threats but Gaga will still perform

Related video: Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene says she will file impeachment articles against Joe Biden on his first day

Joe Biden and his transition team have received a briefing from senior FBI officials, the Secret Service and national security officials on the threats made against his inauguration on 20 January, with further violence feared from supporters of Donald Trump in the wake of the storming of the US Capitol last week.

“The team is engaging with the current administration to gain as much information as possible on the threat picture, and on the preparations being put in place to deter and defend against violent disruptions or attacks,” the president-elect’s staff said in a statement.

As he continues preparations to succeed the disgraced and now twice-impeached Mr Trump, the Democrat is set to unveil his plan for the nationwide rollout of coronavirus vaccines in a bid to finally rein in the pandemic.

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Sir Keir Starmer says Labour ‘already building a close working relationship’ with Biden

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his team is already building “a close working relationship” with US president-elect Joe Biden’s team.

During a visit to a mass vaccination centre in Stevenage, Sir Keir said the Democrat’s presence in the White House will “make a huge difference” in America as well as in the UK.

“We hope to have a good working relationship,” he said.

“We would’ve loved to have been there for the inauguration, that’s not going to be possible with travel restrictions but we’re already building a close working relationship between my team and president-elect Biden’s team.”

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 13:00

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Biden poised to name foreign policy expert Kurt Campbell as Asia czar

The latest prospective addition to the Biden administration is Obama-era veteran Kurt Campbell, who has been nominated to be the president-elect’s senior official for Asia policy, which includes responsibility for the US relationship with China, in dire need of a reset with Trump gone.

Campbell, the top US diplomat for Asia under Barack Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is considered an architect of their “pivot to Asia” strategy, a vaunted but so far still limited rebalancing of resources to the region.

“I can confirm Kurt will be coordinator for the Indo-Pacific at the NSC,” a transition spokeswoman said, referring to the White House National Security Council.

Since leaving government, Campbell, 63, has run the Asia Group consultancy and advised Biden’s Democratic campaign. He is co-founder of the Center for a New American Security think tank.

Campbell outlined his approach to Asia in a 2016 book The Pivot that advocated strengthening existing alliances and building closer relations with states like India and Indonesia in the face of a rising China.

He has since endorsed some of the tough approaches toward China adopted by the Trump administration and praised some of the 45th president’s unprecedented dealings with North Korea.

However, Campbell has also criticised Trump for failing to engage sufficiently with the region as a whole and for undermining relations with key allies like Japan and South Korea.

In a Foreign Affairs article this week Campbell wrote of the need for “serious US re-engagement” in Asia and “ad hoc” coalitions and partnerships to sustain the existing order threatened by China.

Additional reporting by Reuters

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 12:30

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Lady Gaga to sing national anthem at Biden inauguration

Variety reports this morning that the pop superstar will perform in DC next Wednesday and be joined on the bill by Jennifer Lopez.

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 12:00

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Tom Hanks to host star-studded TV special celebrating Biden inauguration

The beloved Hollywood actor and Covid survivor will compere while Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi and Demi Lovato are topping the bill.

As I recall, Trump struggled to get anyone at all to play his…

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 11:30

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Graham calls on Biden to ‘call off’ Trump impeachment

South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, once a victim of doxing by Trump when his former presidential rival gave out his phone number at a rally but since an avid apologist and golf buddy to the president, is calling on the president-elect to “call off” impeachment proceedings in response to the Capitol riot.

Graig Graziosi has this report on the president’s statement last night, distancing himself from rioters dressed head-to-toe in his tacky merch when they stormed the government, which Senator Graham appears to think is sufficient.

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 11:10

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Biden urges Senate not to forget legislative responsibilties as Trump trial looms

Biden called on the Senate yesterday to conduct Donald Trump’s impeachment trial while simultaneously working on other critical issues, suggesting a desire on his part to wrap up all businesses concerning his disastrous predecessor as quickly as possible.

The president-elect is known to be keen to crack on with a broad and ambitious range of policy initiatives addressing broader national health and economic problems arising from the pandemic.

But the Trump issue is expected to dog the country for some time to come, a fact Biden acknowledged in a statement yesterday saying the House’s vote “to impeach and hold the president accountable” – which passed 232 to 197 with 10 Republican defections – was “a bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience.”

“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy,” he continued. 

“I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”

For the latest on the president’s landmark second impeachment – what a stone cold loser! – you could do worse than follow my colleague Jon Sharman’s live coverage below.

Although you could do even better and just stay here where the real action is.

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 10:50

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QAnon congresswoman announces impeachment stunt

Recently elected and already deeply tiresome Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a conspiracy theorist and QAnon believer, has announced her latest absurd publicity stunt on Newsmax: drawing up articles of impeachment against Joe Biden on his first day in office.

Nothing will come of it, of course, and Greene is clearly not the brightest bulb in the box, as yesterday’s performance in Congress made abundantly clear.

Namita Singh has more on her unsanctionable buffoonery.

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 10:30

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Ex-FBI director urges Democrat to pardon Trump

Speaking to BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, James Comey – fired by Trump in May 2017, necessitating the appointment of Robert Mueller as FBI special counsel to investigate the Russia question – has said the president-elect should consider pulling a Gerald Ford to enable the country to move on from the stain of Trumpism.

“As part of healing the country… I think Joe Biden is going to have to at least think about that,” Comey told Maitlis.

Not everyone’s convinced though…

Namita Singh has this report.

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 10:10

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Biden scraps plan to arrive at swearing-in by train

“Amtrack Joe”, once famous for traveling by rail from Delaware to his day job in the Senate, will not be able to make a symbolic entrance in DC next Friday due to the ongoing security threat, which is a shame.

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 09:50

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President-elect to unveil vaccine rollout plan and $2trn Covid relief package

As he continues preparations to succeed the disgraced and now twice-impeached President Trump, Biden is set to unveil his plan for the nationwide rollout of coronavirus vaccines in a bid to finally rein in the pandemic, which has claimed more than 385,000 American lives while Trump lost interest.

Biden hopes a multidimensional strategy, expected to be detailed in a speech this evening, will put the country on the path to recovery by the end of his first 100 days. 

“It’s going to be hard,” he said Monday after he got his second vaccine shot. “It’s not going to be easy. But we can get it done.”

His aides have told their allies in Congress that a new Covid relief package with a $2trn price tag is also forthcoming as part of a “shoot for the moon” strategy, according to CNN

It will include unemployment insurance measures and the widely desired $2,000 bailout cheques opposed by since-demoted Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Joe Sommerlad14 January 2021 09:30

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