UPDATE (7:10 p.m.)
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has voted to confirm Avril Haines as the new director of national intelligence, giving President Joe Biden the first member of his Cabinet.
The 84-10 vote by the Senate on Wednesday came after senators agreed to fast-track her nomination.
Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it was fitting that Haines was confirmed first. He said the intelligence post is of "critical importance to the country."
Haines told the Senate Intelligence Committee at a confirmation hearing Tuesday that China would be an important focus of the Biden administration. She said she sees her role as speaking "truth to power" and delivering accurate and apolitical intelligence even if it is uncomfortable or inconvenient for the administration.
The Senate was able to vote quickly on the nomination, and bypass a committee vote, after Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton dropped his objection.
Cotton had said he wanted to hear from Haines on the Bush-era CIA interrogation program before he agreed to move forward. Haines was a deputy CIA director in the Obama administration.
PREVIOUS (5:50 p.m.)
WASHINGTON (NBC News) - The White House is expected to hold the first official press briefing of the Biden Administration at 6 p.m. Central Time.
The briefing comes just a few hours after President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders from the Oval Office.
Biden wore a mask while seated behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of orders early Wednesday evening. He said there was "no time to start like today."
The first order Biden signed was related to the coronavirus pandemic. He also signed an order reentering the U.S. into the Paris climate accord.
While his predecessor Donald Trump broke long-standing practice by skipping Biden's inauguration, he did follow through on one tradition and left behind a letter for Biden.
The new Democratic president said Trump "wrote a very generous letter." But Biden said he wouldn't reveal its contents until he had a chance to speak with Trump.
PREVIOUS (4:30 p.m.)
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders from the Oval Office hours after his inauguration.
Biden wore a mask while seated behind the Resolute Desk with a stack of orders early Wednesday evening. He said there was “no time to start like today.”
Biden signed three executive actions: one ordering a mask mandate on federal property, another provides "support for underserved communities," and the third was to "rejoin the Paris climate accord."
While his predecessor Donald Trump broke long-standing practice by skipping Biden’s inauguration, he did follow through on one tradition and left behind a letter for Biden.
The new Democratic president said Trump “wrote a very generous letter.” But Biden said he wouldn't reveal its contents until he had a chance to speak with Trump.
PREVIOUS (1:55 p.m.)
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have taken part in the traditional inaugural military tradition of “Pass in Review.”
Biden, Harris and their spouses stood Wednesday on the East Front steps of the U.S. Capitol to observe the procession of ceremonial military regiments.
Several groupings passed by the steps, with military members saluting the newly minted president and musicians playing traditional patriotic tunes.
The inaugural parade that typically follows was to be replaced by a virtual parade later in the day because of concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
PREVIOUS (1:40 p.m.)
(NBC News) - Four official White House Twitter accounts are now assigned to the Biden administration.
President Joe Biden has taken over the POTUS Twitter account. Posting his first POTUS tweet saying, "There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That's why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families."
There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face. That's why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.— President Biden (@POTUS) January 20, 2021
The official White House Twitter account now also belongs to the Biden administration. As do the accounts for the vice president, transferring from Mike Pence to Kamala Harris. The First Lady's account switched from Melania Trump to Dr. Jill Biden.
PREVIOUS (10:50 a.m.)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Joe Biden has officially become the 46th president of the United States.
Biden took the oath of office just before noon Wednesday during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. The presidential oath was administered by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Biden was sworn in using a Bible that has been in his family since 1893 and was used during his swearing-in as vice president in 2009 and 2013. The 5-inch thick Bible, which could be seen on a table next to Biden's chair on the dais, has a Celtic cross on its cover and was also used each time he was sworn- n as a U.S. senator.
Biden's late son, Beau, also used the Bible for his own swearing-in ceremony as attorney general of Delaware and helped carry the Bible to his father's 2013 ceremony.
Biden takes the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherits a confluence of crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors. But there were comforting signs of tradition for the hallowed American democratic rite now underway at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago.
On a chilly Washington day dotted with snow flurries, a bipartisan trio of ex-presidents along with the elite of nation's government gathered for the ceremony.
PREVIOUS (10:20 a.m.)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Joe Biden's presidential inauguration ceremony has begun.
Biden swears the oath of office at noon Wednesday, becoming the 46th president of the United States. The Democrat is preparing to take the helm of a deeply divided nation and inherit crises arguably greater than any faced by his predecessors.
History will be made at Biden's side, as Kamala Harris becomes the first woman to be vice president.
The ceremony in which presidential power is transferred is a hallowed American democratic tradition. And this time it serves as a jarring reminder of the challenges Biden faces: The inauguration unfolds at a U.S. Capitol battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks ago, encircled by security forces. It's devoid of crowds because of the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Donald Trump departed Washington on Wednesday morning ahead of the inauguration rather than accompany his successor to the Capitol.
Former Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are attending. The other living former president, 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, previously announced he would not attend.
PREVIOUS (9:30 a.m.)
WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Joe Biden has arrived at the U.S. Capitol ahead of his inauguration as the United States’ 46th president.
Biden and his wife, Jill, arrived at the complex on Wednesday morning, about 90 minutes before his noon swearing-in ceremony. They were accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and were greeted by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
The president-elect’s motorcade wound its way through a mostly deserted Washington following a morning church service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Streets that would typically be lined with thousands of inaugural onlookers were ringed instead with a massive security presence to include military vehicles and armed troops.
About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington following the violent melee at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.
Biden paused to wave from the Capitol steps before entering the building.
PREVIOUS (8:50 a.m.)
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump has followed at least one presidential tradition.
The White House says the Republican president left behind a note for his successor, Democrat Joe Biden.
Deputy press secretary Judd Deere declined to reveal what Trump wrote to Biden or to characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents.
Trump has refused to publicly concede to Biden and did not mention the Democrat by name in a pair of farewell addresses.
Trump interrupted many traditions of the presidency, including by not attending Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Trump also did not invite Biden to the White House for a meeting after Biden was declared the winner of November’s presidential election
Trump left the White House for the final time as president on Wednesday morning, saying, "It's been a great honor, the honor of a lifetime.”
PREVIOUS (8:30 a.m.)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump has left the White House for the final time as president.
After Trump emerged from the building he spoke briefly to aides and supporters and said, “It’s been a great honor.”
After his departure, Trump went to Joint Base Andrews in suburban Maryland, where he had a military sendoff, with four U.S. Army cannons gave a 21-gun salute.
Trump then went to Florida, where he’ll stay at Mar-a-Lago. Trump is leaving Washington just hours before Joe Biden takes the oath of office.
It’s the first time in more than a century that a sitting president has rejected the tradition of attending his successor’s inauguration.
When is the Oath of Office given?
The Oath of Office will be given at Noon, Wednesday, Jan. 20 as outlined by Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution.
What time is the inauguration and how can I watch from home?
The day's events will be broadcasted on all major television networks, including this NBC station, and livestreamed on KTIV's website, app and Facebook page.
KTIV App Users: Click here to watch NBC's inauguration day coverage.
There will be a special edition of TODAY with continuing coverage throughout the day.
A prime-time special will be broadcast live beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT on Jan. 20. It will also be streamed live.
Who are the celebrities performing at the inauguration?
Lady Gaga will sing the National Anthem. Jennifer Lopez will give a musical performance on the West of the U.S. Capitol.
Justin Timberlake, Bon Jovi and Demi Lovato, are set to perform in a 90-minute primetime TV special hosted by actor Tom Hanks.
Who is in charge of the inauguration?
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is responsible for the planning and execution of the Inaugural Ceremonies of the President-elect and Vice President-elect.
The JCCIC has carried out this tradition since 1901. The members of the committee include Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Steven H. Hoyer, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
Who is attending?
President Donald Trump said he will not be attending the event on Jan. 20. Trump plans to leave Washington the morning of Inauguration Day.
Vice President Mike Pence said he will attend Biden's Inauguration last week. Pence also called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Friday to congratulate her.
Senators and members of Congress will receive a ticket for themselves and a plus-one.
Public health protocols, such as including face-coverings and social distancing, will be in place.