Inauguration Day 2021 news: Donald Trump vows 'movement is only just beginning' in farewell speech - live updates

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Marcus Parekh
·42 min read
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Donald Trump has vowed his movement is "only just beginning" as he addressed Americans before he leaves office on Wednesday.

In a video posted online, he told Americans: "To serve as your president has been an honour beyond description."

Earlier, Joe Biden paid tribute to Delaware, his home state, and to his Irish heritage in an emotional farewell speech before he travels to DC for Wednesday's inauguration. Quoting James Joyce, who said "When I die Dublin will be written in my heart", Mr Biden cried as he told a crowd of supporters in Wilmington: "Excuse the emotion... but when I die, Delaware will be written in my heart. And the hearts of all the Bidens."

America is preparing for Mr Biden's inauguration, while Mr Trump is tonight expected to issue a wave of pardons. He is reportedly considering issuing as many as 100, although US outlets say he will not attempt to pardon himself or direct family members.

Follow the latest updates below.

11:55 PM

Today's headlines

  • Donald Trump has vowed his movement is "only just beginning" as he addressed Americans in a farewell speech before he leaves office

  • Joe Biden broke down in tears as he paid tribute to his son Beau at his farewell speech in Delaware, his home state

  • Two National Guard members were removed from the unprecedented security mission to protect the inauguration over links to violent rightwing organisations, officials revealed

  • Mr Biden and Kamala Harris, his vice president, held a ceremony by Washington's Lincoln Memorial to remember coronavirus victims as the US death toll from passed 400,000

  • Mr Biden's incoming treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, indicated that she could support reversing parts of Mr Trump's flagship tax cut

  • The new administration is expected to offer an historic olive branch to the estimated 11 million migrants living in America without legal status, offering an eight-year path to US citizenship

  • Joe Biden has announced his nomination for assistant health secretary, who would become the first openly transgender federal official confirmed by the US Senate

  • Mr Biden’s daughter Ashley has said she will not have a job in her father's administration, unlike Ivanka Trump, in her first interview since the election

  • YouTube will keep Donald Trump locked out of his account for at least seven more days, preventing the president from posting on one of the few social media networks he had not been permanently banned from

  • Donald Trump will leave office with the lowest approval ratings of any postwar president

11:25 PM

YouTube extends Trump ban

YouTube will keep Donald Trump locked out of his account for at least seven more days, preventing the president from posting on one of the few social media networks he had not been permanently banned from, Margi Murphy writes.

The Google-owned video website confirmed on Tuesday that it would be continuing the suspension "in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence".

It has also indefinitely disabled comments under his videos over concerns supporters might use them to incite or organise violence on and around Inauguration Day.

Read more: YouTube extends Donald Trump suspension over violence fears

10:58 PM

Biden leads tribute to Covid victims

Joe Biden has led a tribute to the 400,000 US victims of the pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington.

Mr Biden said: "To heal we must remember. It's hard sometimes to remember. But that's how we heal. It's important to do that as a nation."

Kamala Harris added: "For many months we have grieved by ourselves. Tonight we grieve, and begin healing, together."

Covid, and America's recovery from the pandemic, is central to Mr Biden's agenda.

Read more: Joe Biden's policies: the president-elect's views on Covid-19, immigration and the environment

Biden and Harris, with their partners, paid tribute to America's Covid victims - AP
Biden and Harris, with their partners, paid tribute to America's Covid victims - AP

10:36 PM

Johnson ready to 'work closely' with Biden

Boris Johnson has said he is looking forward to "working closely" with Joe Biden, on the eve of his inauguration in Washington.

Mr Johnson, who has faced criticism over his close relationship with Donald Trump, cited a host of policy areas in which he hoped to collaborate with Mr Biden.

"I warmly congratulate Joe Biden on his historic inauguration as 46th President of the United States and look forward to working closely with his new administration as we defeat Covid and build back better from the pandemic," Mr Johnson said in a statement.

"In our fight against Covid and across climate change, defence, security and in promoting and defending democracy, our goals are the same and our nations will work hand in hand to achieve them."

Britain is set to host a G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, in June – the first face-to-face gathering of the world leaders' forum in almost two years – as well as the COP26 UN environmental gathering in Scotland in November.

"I look forward to welcoming him to Carbis Bay for the G7 and Glasgow for COP as we join forces to protect our planet," Mr Johnson added.

"Only through international cooperation can we truly overcome the shared challenges which we face."

Johnson has been criticised for his close relationship with Trump - GETTY IMAGES
Johnson has been criticised for his close relationship with Trump - GETTY IMAGES

09:49 PM

Pence will return to Indiana... briefly

Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence will be returning to his southern Indiana hometown after the inauguration of Joe Biden.

The Indiana Republican Party said the former Indiana governor and his wife, Karen, are expected to attend Mr Biden's inauguration on Wednesday and then fly to Columbus Municipal Airport, where they will greeted by supporters.

Mr Pence grew up in Columbus, and some family members still live there. But he hasn't owned a home in Indiana for at least the past eight years. He lived in the Indiana governor's residence before moving to the US Naval Observatory in Washington when he became Vice President.

Mr Pence hasn't said where he plans to live when his White House term ends.

09:08 PM

'To serve as your president has been an honour'

The White House has posted Donald Trump's farewell address video in which he has thanked supporters, staff and the US military and Secret Service.

He said to Americans: "To serve as your president has been an honour beyond description."

08:54 PM

Trump: 'We restored American strength'

In his farewell address video, which is expected to be released in a few minutes, Donald Trump has celebrated his legacy.

"We did what we came here to do – and so much more," Mr Trump will tell Americans.

"Above all, we have reasserted the sacred idea that in America, the government answers to the people.

We restored the idea that in America, no one is forgotten – because everyone matters and everyone has a voice. I took on the tough battles, the hardest fights, the most difficult choices – because that’s what you elected me to do.

"Our agenda was not about right or left, it wasn’t about Republican or Democrat, but about the good of a nation, and that means the whole nation.

"We restored American strength at home—and American leadership abroad."

08:38 PM

Actors' union votes to hold disciplinary hearing for Trump

Donald Trump might be hoping to restore his TV career when he leaves the White House tomorrow. But he could be doing that without a union after the national board of the Screen Actors Guild union voted on Tuesday to hold a disciplinary hearing for Mr Trump following the deadly riot at the US Capitol.

The Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said the board voted in response to charges that MrTrump incited the attack by promoting conspiracy theories about election fraud. The president faces expulsion from the union depending on the outcome of the hearing.

“Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred – democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press,” union president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. “There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”

Mr Trump receives a $90,776 pension for his television work and a further $8,724 from his work covered by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, though it would be unaffected if the union expels him, according to entertainment news site Deadline.

Donald Trump appeared in Home Alone 2 - DISNEY
Donald Trump appeared in Home Alone 2 - DISNEY

08:18 PM

Trump: Pray for the success of Biden administration

Donald Trump's farewell address, which he is due to deliver in about an hour, has been released by the White House.

In it he urges America to "pray" for the success of the Biden administration and trumpets his own achievements.

Mr Trump claims he realised the "dawn of a new Middle East", that he "rallied the world to stand up to China like never before" and that he will leave office as the "first president in decades who has started no new wars".

He also vowed: "The movement we started is only just beginning".

08:08 PM

Dozen National Guard troops removed from inauguration duty

A dozen members of the US National Guard have been removed from inauguration security duties after vetting, which included screening for potential ties to right-wing extremism, Pentagon officials said on Tuesday.

A Pentagon spokesman said the vetting went beyond ties to extremist groups.

One Guard member was removed from duty after troubling text messages and another had been reported to a tip line, Army General Daniel Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters.

07:34 PM

Why Boris must envy Biden's financial bazooka

Joe Biden's first weeks in office are going to be dominated by Covid and the financial recovery.

He has already outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to boost the US economy.

But Jeremy Warner says Boris Johnson must be watching Mr Biden with envy as, unlike the US, Britain is too reliant on the confidence of foreign investors to grow its way out of trouble:

"While the incoming US president, Joe Biden, plans a further $1.9 trillion (£1.4 trillion) pandemic-related fiscal stimulus – together with a separate, but similarly sized, package of climate crisis spending to come – here in Europe we fixate not so much on the challenge of rescuing the economy from Covid oblivion but on how to repair the damage the disease has already inflicted on the public balance sheet. Even as the pandemic subsides, the US is pushing down hard on the fiscal accelerator, while in the UK and Europe we talk of applying the brakes. Just as the US promises to race ahead, Europe threatens to slow to a standstill."

Read more: Biden unleashes a fiscal bazooka, but Britain has no such weapon

07:08 PM

Trump leaves office with worst approval ratings

It's Donald Trump's last day in office today and he leaves the White House with the lowest approval ratings of any postwar US president.

Mr Trump trails his predecessor Barack Obama and lags behind the unpopular Harry Truman. John F Kennedy is still the most popular president since 1945.

07:02 PM

Biden: 'Delaware will be written in my heart'

In a short address, a surprisingly emotional Joe Biden paid tribute to Delaware, his home state, and to his Irish heritage.

He said Irish poets were the best in the world, and quoted James Joyce, who wrote: "When I die Dublin will be written in my heart".

Starting to cry, Mr Biden then said: "Excuse the emotion... but when I die, Delaware will be written in my heart. And the hearts of all the Bidens."

06:46 PM

Biden send-off party begins

Joe Biden's send-off event in Wilmington, Delaware has begun much like all American sporting events, which a stirring rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.

The event, at which Mr Biden will speak before he travels to DC tonight, is being livestreamed online:

06:30 PM

McConnell reminds Democrats of moderate mandate

Aside from criticising Donald Trump for stirring up a violent mob (see 5:33pm post), Mitch McConnell has also warned Democrats that their party has no mandate from the American people for radical policies.

As Ben Riley-Smith, our US Editor, points out, Mr McConnell may be moving away from Mr Trump but the Senate Majority Leader is unlikely to be a friend of Joe Biden:

05:56 PM

Happy day for the Trumps after all

It may be Donald Trump's last day in office after a bitter election defeat, but there is some good news for the Trump family: the president's daughter Tiffany has picked today to announced her engagement.

Ms Trump revealed on Instagram that she is going to marry businessman Michael Boulos, whom she has been dating since 2018.

05:51 PM

No White House job for Biden's daughter

Joe Biden’s daughter Ashley has said she will not have a job in her father's administration, unlike Ivanka Trump, in her first interview since the election, Josie Ensor writes.

The only child of President-elect Biden and wife Jill, Ashley, a 39-year-old social worker in Delaware, said she instead wanted to use her new platform to ”advocate for social justice and mental health.”

“I will not have a job in the administration,” she told NBC's Today Show, in what could be seen as a jibe at the current First Daughter, who, along with husband Jared Kushner, had adviser roles in the White House. “I do hope to bring awareness and education to some topics, subjects that are, you know, really important.”

Ms Biden, who is married to plastic surgeon Howard Krein, was active in her father's presidential campaign, speaking at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and hosting an event for women in Wisconsin.

Read more: Ashley Biden: 'I will not have job in my father's administration,' unlike Ivanka Trump

Ashley Biden was active in her father's campaign for president - WIREIMAGE
Ashley Biden was active in her father's campaign for president - WIREIMAGE

05:33 PM

McConnell attacks Trump 'lies'

Mitch McConnell has attacked Donald Trump on the floor of the Senate, accusing the president of encouraging the riot at the Capitol this month.

In a further sign that Republicans are distancing themselves from Mr Trump, the Senate Majority Leader said: "The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President and other powerful people."

He also said the mob "tried to use fear and violence to stop" the certification by Congress of Joe Biden's election victory.

However, Mr McConnell was one of the Capitol Republicans who backed the president’s decision to fight the preliminary vote totals after the election, casting doubt on the election's integrity. Mr McConnell refused to acknowledge Mr Biden's victory until December 15, more than a month after polling day.

He could be a key player in the Senate's vote on whether to impeach Mr Trump.

Read more: Analysis: Mitch McConnell's cold fury means Donald Trump could be convicted

Mr McConnell has been increasingly critical of Mr Trump in recent weeks - GETTY IMAGES
Mr McConnell has been increasingly critical of Mr Trump in recent weeks - GETTY IMAGES

05:23 PM

Biden has strong support from Europeans

The European public is strongly supportive of Joe Biden but is increasingly concerned about democracy in the US following Donald Trump's tenure, a survey has found.

The Pew Research Center said 79 per cent of people in Germany, 72 per cent in France and 65 per cent in Britain were confident that Mr Biden would make the right decisions in world affairs.

Mr Trump enjoyed the confidence of a mere 10 per cent of Germans, 11 per cent of French and 19 per cent of Brits when the same question was asked in mid-2020.

But the survey also found widespread concerns about the overall health of US democracy after Mr Trump contested his defeat with false allegations of voter fraud.

Some 73 per cent of Germans, 64 per cent of French and 62 per cent of the British think the US political system needs major changes or complete reform, said the survey, which polled 3,066 adults from November 12 to December 23 – before the US Capitol attack.

Read more: Joe Biden's agenda – what is the new president's foreign policy?

Mr Biden with Angela Merkel in 2013. The President-elect has the support of Germans, according to a new poll - AP
Mr Biden with Angela Merkel in 2013. The President-elect has the support of Germans, according to a new poll - AP

05:01 PM

New intelligence chief says security services will focus on domestic terror

Joe Biden's pick for national intelligence director has said that the intelligence community under her watch would support countering the threat coming from domestic extremists like the ones who stormed the US Capitol this month.

Avril Haines said at her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that the primary responsibility for US-based threats belongs to the FBI and the Department Homeland Security. But she said she expects that intelligence agencies would be involved in those discussions, particularly if there are connections between Americans and foreign extremist groups.

Ms Haines called the events of January 6 "truly disturbing" and said it was "eerie" coming to the Senate and seeing the National Guard deployed around Washington.

Members of the Boogaloo Boys, a rightwing group who call for civil war, protesting outside the state house in Richmond, Virginia on Monday - GETTY IMAGES
Members of the Boogaloo Boys, a rightwing group who call for civil war, protesting outside the state house in Richmond, Virginia on Monday - GETTY IMAGES

04:33 PM

National Guard officers stood down over 'ties to militias'

Two National Guard members are being removed from the security mission to secure Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration over links to violent rightwing organisations, officials have revealed.

A US Army official and a senior intelligence official told AP on the condition of anonymity that the officers had been stood down from inauguration duties but said no plot against Joe Biden was found.

The officials did not reveal the fringe group or in which unit the Guard members served.

04:23 PM

What's going on?

Joe Biden is on his way to Washington DC for tomorrow's inauguration ceremony.

After a send-off in Wilmington, Delaware – his hometown and the seat of his successful presidential campaign – he will travel with his wife Dr Jill Biden and Kamala Harris. the new Vice-President to the US capital.

Tonight they will speak at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in a ceremony to honour lives lost to the coronavirus. Nearly 400,000 Americans have been killed by the virus and the US response to Covid is a key pillar of Mr Biden's early White House agenda.

Then, tomorrow, Mr Biden becomes the 46th President of the US at a stripped-down – but nonetheless star-studded – ceremony at the Capitol. With an unprecedented level of security after the riots in DC earlier this month, here's how the ceremony is being protected:

03:57 PM

Biden, GOP leaders will attend church before inauguration

US President-elect Joe Biden has invited top Republican and Democratic congressional leaders to a bipartisan prayer session at church early Wednesday, hours before his inauguration, people familiar with the plans said.

Two weeks after an unprecedented violent assault on the US Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, and with the nation bitterly divided politically, Biden intends to attend services at St. Matthews Cathedral in Washington with the top four leaders in Congress.

"Yes I can confirm" that top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell will join Biden, who was a longtime colleague in the US Senate, at the church, a person knowledgeable of Sen McConnell's plans told AFP Tuesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the top Democrats in Congress, have also been invited along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, according to a source close to Biden.

Sen McConnell was a firm Trump ally but he broke with the president over his baseless claims of massive election fraud.

03:44 PM

Biden promises a new era in climate policy

If Donald Trump had hoped to up-end the global consensus on climate change by leaving the Paris Agreement, he has proved ineffectual, writes Emma Gatten.

As Mr Trump rowed back on environmental regulations and dismissed global warming as a hoax, the rest of the world finally started to get to grips with the need to cut carbon emissions.

That Joe Biden is more serious than any previous US president about tackling climate change therefore says as much about the time we’re in as it does about the man himself.

Mr Trump’s actions have left the US as a laggard in climate action, trailing the EU and China on carbon neutrality commitments.

If the Biden administration has any hope of being at the forefront of this new global reality, the race will be on.

READ MORE: Biden promises a new era in climate policy - but first he must undo Trump’s damage

03:33 PM

'Joe Biden’s celebrity-packed inauguration is an embarrassing start to his presidency'

The President-elect's cringeworthy attempts to appeal to a younger crowd - and Hollywood liberals - can't erase his campaign trail gaffes, says Ella Whelan.

Presidential inaugurations have long been about showing off. With parades, marches, shows and dances, presidents have taken the chance to bask in the glory of their victories (and occasionally rub salt in the wounds of the defeated).Neither is it uncommon for such events to take on the glitz and glamour of a Hollywood premiere. In January 1949, at the first televised presidential inauguration, Harry S Truman posed with the likes of Jane Powell, Gene Kelly and Phil Regan who had sung the national anthem earlier that day. Sometimes celebrity appearances were political.

READ MORE: Joe Biden’s celebrity-packed inauguration is an embarrassing start to his presidency

03:14 PM

Biden picks transgender woman as assistant health secretary

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

A pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general, Dr Levine was appointed to her current post by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017, making her one of the few transgender people serving in elected or appointed positions nationwide. She won past confirmation by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate and has emerged as the public face of the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic - no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability - and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond," Biden said in a statement. "She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration's health efforts."

A graduate of Harvard and of Tulane Medical School, Dr Levine is president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She's written in the past on the opioid crisis, medical marijuana, adolescent medicine, eating disorders and LGBTQ medicine.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine may become the first transgender person to be confirmed by the US Senate - Joe Hermitt /The Patriot-News 
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine may become the first transgender person to be confirmed by the US Senate - Joe Hermitt /The Patriot-News

03:00 PM

Janet Yellen to urge Congress to 'act big' to help US economy

US President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, will urge lawmakers to support big stimulus spending for the coronavirus-ravaged US economy, according to prepared remarks seen by AFP.

Biden, who will take office tomorrow, has proposed a $1.9 trillion rescue package to help businesses and families struggling amid the pandemic, and Ms Yellen would be tasked with getting that massive bill through a Congress where some are wary of the skyrocketing budget deficit.

"Neither the President-elect, nor I, propose this relief package without an appreciation for the country's debt burden. But right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big," Ms Yellen will tell the Senate Finance Committee at her confirmation hearing.

"People worry about a K-shaped recovery but well before Covid-19 infected a single American, we were living in a K-shaped economy, one where wealth built on wealth while working families fell further and further behind," she says. "This is especially true for people of color."

If confirmed by the chamber, Ms Yellen would be the first-ever female Treasury secretary - after serving as the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve - and would take office as the world's largest economy attempts to get back on its feet after Covid-19 caused tens of millions of layoffs and a sharp contraction in economic growth.

She also would be one of the few Treasury secretaries with a background is economics and policy, rather than a career at a Wall Street investment bank.

02:45 PM

Meet Kamala Harris: America's new vice president

The old photograph shows two children sitting together by the pond, doing experiments involving tadpoles. The boy has a Beatles-ish bowl haircut; the girl’s hair is “wild”. He is future San Francisco city councilman Aaron Peskin; she is Kamala Harris, the next vice president of the United States.

“I’ve known her all my life,” says Mr Peskin, a doyen of municipal politics who has spent decades serving the city that made Kamala Harris – right down to attending the same kindergarten and school in nearby Berkeley, California. Now 56, he believes their shared upbringing helps explain why she is dangerous to Donald Trump.

In August, Ms Harris was finally unveiled as the running mate for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (ending weeks of political coquetry from his campaign). As the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, she would be not only the first woman in the White House but also the first black woman and the first Asian-American.

READ MORE: Meet Kamala Harris: America's new vice president

02:28 PM

What's next for Donald Trump when he leaves office?

What will Donald Trump do next? That is the question being mulled over in Washington DC now.

His final days in office have been marred by his unprecedented second impeachment by the House of Representatives in the wake of violence at the US Capitol on January 6.

In light of those events, Trump has finally committed to a peaceful transfer of power, though he will break with tradition and not attend Joe Biden's inauguration.

So what path could the man who upended the norms of the Oval Office take in the months and years ahead? There are many possibilities.

READ MORE: What's next for Donald Trump when he leaves office?

02:10 PM

How Joe Biden made grief a superpower

More than anything else, grief has bookended Joe Biden's political career, writes Peter Stanford. It has shaped both his life and how the American public saw him right up to his election as president.

In 1972, just after he had won a Senate seat in Delaware as a fresh-faced 29-year-old, his wife and baby daughter were killed in car accident, while his two small sons ended up in hospital fighting for their lives. And 43 years later, in 2015, just as he was being urged to run for president to succeed Barack Obama, whom he served as number two, one of those “beautiful boys”, Beau, died of a rare strain of brain cancer at 46.

Biden sat out that 2016 race, the grief too raw, but in the 2020 election the experience of tragedy and loss that he has endured and survived contributed, in an age of Covid, to his appeal to voters as a candidate for the highest office in the land.

READ MORE: How Joe Biden made grief a superpower

01:56 PM

Meet Dr Jill Biden

Jill Biden spent eight years serving as the Second Lady during the Obama administration, but her highly personal nine-minute live address at the Democratic Convention last August, from an empty classroom at the high school where she used to teach, was her first formal introduction to most of the American public.

Now, as America counts down the days until the inauguration of her husband Joe Biden, Dr Biden looks set to redefine the role of First Lady, as she will be the first to have a full-time paid job outside the White House.

A self-professed introvert, Dr Biden has always been reticent about entering the political spotlight, although she is often described as Joe Biden's biggest defender and one of his best assets. She is also said to be one of his most trusted political advisers, reportedly playing a pivotal role in helping Mr Biden narrow down his list of potential running mates.

READ MORE: Dr Jill Biden: Her journey from teacher to America's First Lady

01:37 PM

Trump decorates Bahrain king on last full day in office

US President Donald Trump bestowed a rare award on King Hamad of Bahrain on Tuesday, acknowledging the Gulf state's normalisation of ties with Israel on his last full day in office.

Trump, who sees Arab recognition of Israel as a key overseas achievement of his presidency, already conferred the same award on King Mohammed VI of Morocco last week for his move to restore ties.

Announcing his bestowal of the Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, on King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Trump also paid tribute to Bahrain's hosting of a June 2019 conference on the economic dimensions of his controversial Middle East peace plan, which broke with decades of international consensus and was boycotted by the Palestinians.

Palestinians burn pictures depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa during a protest against the deal with Israel to normalise relations - Mohammed Salem/Reuters
Palestinians burn pictures depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa during a protest against the deal with Israel to normalise relations - Mohammed Salem/Reuters

"King Hamad has shown extraordinary courage and leadership through his support of the Vision for Peace and his decision to establish full diplomatic relations with the State of Israel," the official Bahrain News Agency quoted Trump as saying.

"King Hamad has challenged old assumptions about the possibility for peace in the region, and in doing so, positively reshaped the landscape of the Middle East for generations," Trump added.

Just across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain is a longstanding Western ally which is home to the US Fifth Fleet.

01:21 PM

Who are the likely Republican candidates to run for president in 2024?

It's never too early to look ahead!

The 2020 presidential race has only just finished, but the Republican candidates for 2024 are already preparing themselves for their shot at the White House.

Mike Pence, Ivanka Trump and Ted Cruz are among the rumoured candidates to become Donald Trump's successor.

READ MORE: US election 2024: who are the likely Republican candidates to run for president?

01:08 PM

'Joe Biden's historic challenge is to restate the case for freedom'

His inaugural address this week is unlikely to reach the rhetorical heights of FDR, but it still matters, says William Hague.

Even in the best of times, the inaugural address of a president of the United States cannot be an easy one to prepare. It must contain new material while being based on campaign pledges that are already well-known; excite supporters while holding out reconciliation with opponents; combine determination with readiness to compromise; be addressed to Americans while still being of interest to the rest of the world; and set out specific plans while simultaneously summing up the whole purpose of the new presidency. Just to make it nearly impossible, all this has to be condensed into no more than 20 minutes because the live audience is outside in the freezing cold.

READ MORE: Joe Biden's historic challenge is to restate the case for freedom

12:55 PM

Joe Biden's inauguration rehearsal forced to evacuate amid security concern

12:36 PM

Lady Gaga and Tom Hanks to offer distraction from steel ring around Joe Biden's inauguration

Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez will attempt to lighten the mood at an unprecedented presidential inauguration inside a new "Green Zone" in Washington, reports Nick Allen.

The national anthem will be sung by Lady Gaga as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the US Capitol, and Lopez will also perform.

As Hollywood stars flocked to be part of swearing in a Democrat president Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute TV special featuring celebrities including Justin Timberlake, and a "virtual parade" around America.

It will be an attempt by Mr Biden's team to distract from the massive security operation surrounding the event.

READ MORE: Lady Gaga and Tom Hanks to offer distraction from steel ring around Joe Biden's inauguration​

12:23 PM

Jon Sopel: ‘Trump is leaving – but Washington has changed forever

During four years of reporting on US politics, I saw the outgoing President at his dazzling best and terrifying worst, says the BBC's US correspondent Jon Sopel.

The storming of Congress by Trump supporters on January 6 was simultaneously one of the most shocking things I have reported on, and yet the most predictable; inevitable even. For four years Trump has denigrated the institutions of government, whenever lawmakers or the judiciary did something he didn’t like. He has fuelled the suspicion in his supporters that there is something rotten at the heart of Washington.

READ MORE: Jon Sopel: ‘Trump is leaving – but Washington has changed forever’ ​

11:59 AM

Biden's top diplomat vows US will lead but restore alliances

Antony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden's choice to be secretary of state, will vow that the United States will "outcompete" a rising China while reviving frayed alliances, in a sea change from Donald Trump's go-it-alone "America First" approach.

On the eve of Biden's inauguration, Mr Blinken was set to say at his confirmation hearing that the United States will seek to remain the pre-eminent global power but renew cooperation on common challenges such as Covid-19 and climate change.

"America at its best still has a greater ability than any country on earth to mobilize others for the greater good," Mr Blinken, a mild-mannered longtime aide to Biden, was to tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to his prepared remarks.

"We can outcompete China - and remind the world that a government of the people, by the people, can deliver for its people," Mr Blinken will say, paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln's paean to democracy two weeks after a mob of Trump supporters ransacked the Capitol in hopes of overturning Biden's victory.

In a sharp shift in tone from Trump's secretary of state Mike Pompeo - who spoke of "swagger," "American exceptionalism" and global conflict with China - Mr Blinken said he would show "humility."

"Not one of the big challenges we face can be met by one country acting alone - even one as powerful as the US," Mr Blinken will say. "We can revitalize our core alliances - force multipliers of our influence around the world. Together, we are far better positioned to counter threats posed by Russia, Iran, and North Korea and to stand up for democracy and human rights."

11:46 AM

A history of inauguration gowns worn by First Ladies

The famously-stylish and sociable hostess Dolley Madison was the first First Lady to host an official Inauguration Ball, in 1809. In her richly embroidered cream dress, with a substantial bustle, she set the tone for generations to come by pulling out all the stops when choosing her inaugural gown.

Today, the inaugural gown is possibly the most important dress that an incoming First Lady will ever wear (she likely holds only her wedding gown in higher regard). Over the years, inauguration dresses have captured the world's headlines, marked the styles of the times and been immortalised in the fashion history books and at Washington's Smithsonian Museum.

Our Senior Fashion Editor Caroline Leaper takes a look back at the most significant inauguration gowns in history.

READ MORE: Inauguration gowns through history: The stories behind what the First Ladies have worn and why

11:29 AM

Donald Trump hopes for military parade on final day

While Joe Biden prepares to be inaugurated tomorrow, Donald Trump reportedly plans to kick off his first day back in civilian life with a farewell event for himself at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Scheduled to begin at 8am (1pm GMT), three hours before Biden's inauguration, the event may include a military parade and an official armed forces farewell for the commander-in-chief. A large crowd of supporters have been invited, alongside selected backers and current and former officials in his administration and their guests at a huge red-carpet affair.

However, given the ignominious circumstances under which he is leaving office, it remains to be seen whether Trump will be granted his wish.

From Maryland, Trump will fly down to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. He must land by noon (5pm GMT) as that is when Biden will officially be president and Trump loses access to Air Force One.

11:12 AM

The presidential pardon explained

The final days of a presidential term normally see an outgoing president issue a series of pardons to those who have had criminal convictions.

Rumours are swirling about who Donald Trump may pardon, but what is a presidential pardon and how might Trump exercise this power?

READ MORE: What is the presidential pardon and who may Donald Trump pardon before he leaves office?

10:56 AM

Who is Hunter Biden?

Joe Biden’s second son was a primary target for attacks by Donald Trump during the bitter 2020 presidential campaign.

Indeed, it was Trump’s accusations of impropriety on behalf of Hunter Biden that led him to threaten to withhold $391 million (£289 million) in military aid to Ukraine unless they investigated the Biden family’s business dealings. That threat led to the first impeachment of Trump.

Born in 1970 to Joe and his first wife Neilia, Hunter’s early life was marred by tragedy. When he was just two years old, he was seriously injured in a car crash that killed his mother and younger sister, Naomi.

READ MORE: Hunter Biden: the president-elect's second son who was the target of Donald Trump's attacks

10:44 AM

How Joe Biden's 2021 inauguration day will compare to past ceremonies

10:28 AM

The 'Field of Flags' in pictures

Flags are placed on the National Mall ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden - Alex Brandon /AP
Flags are placed on the National Mall ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden - Alex Brandon /AP
The "Field of Flags" is being used to represent the American public, who are not able to attend the inauguration due to security concerns and the coronavirus pandemic  - TIMOTHY A. CLARY /AFP
The "Field of Flags" is being used to represent the American public, who are not able to attend the inauguration due to security concerns and the coronavirus pandemic - TIMOTHY A. CLARY /AFP
The "Field of Flags" is illuminated on the National Mall as the US Capitol Building is prepared for the inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden - JOE RAEDLE /AFP
The "Field of Flags" is illuminated on the National Mall as the US Capitol Building is prepared for the inauguration ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden - JOE RAEDLE /AFP

10:13 AM

Trump's releases list of statues for 'National Garden of American Heroes'

Donald Trump has named a host of famous and historical figures he plans to memorialise in a "National Garden of American Heroes", including black civil rights leaders, an arcade gamer, and the late host of TV game show Jeopardy!, reports Josie Ensor.

In one of his final acts as president, Mr Trump, who leaves office on Wednesday at noon, issued an executive order calling for statues to be made of a long and varied list of 244 people, including Abraham Lincoln, Kobe Bryant, Whitney Houston, and Walt Disney.

Jeopardy! host George Alexander Trebek, who died in November, was considered one of the odder choices, particularly considering he was Canadian-born - though later became a naturalised American citizen.

Some were surprised to see the inclusion of individuals such as Martin Luther King Jnr, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late liberal Supreme Court Justice who was replaced by Mr Trump’s more conservative pick, and Hannah Arendt, the German-Jewish political theorist who wrote about the rise of fascism and totalitarianism.

READ MORE: Trump's list of statues for 'National Garden of American Heroes' includes Jeopardy! host and MLK

09:59 AM

New US Capitol riot video shows mob rifling through Senators' desks

09:45 AM

Snoop Dogg lobbying for pardon for Death Row Records founder

Rapper Snoop Dogg is reportedly lobbying to acquire a pardon for Death Row Records co-founder Michael 'Harry-O' Harris, as America prepares to find out who is on Donald Trump’s final list of pardons.

Mr Harris, 58, was convicted of attempted murder and kidnapping in 1988 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. During his time in jail, he has reportedly reformed his character and has become a vocal advocate for prison reform.

Snoop Dogg is working with two lobbyists, including Alice Johnson, a woman who became a criminal justice reform activist two-and-a-half years ago after her life sentence was commuted by President Trump following extensive lobbying by Kim Kardashian West.

“The president knows about it. I've spoken with Ivanka [Trump] and I've spoken with Jared [Kushner], and I've been told that President Trump is aware of the case and has been reviewing it,” Ms Johnson said. “In reviewing Michael Harris' case, his story, and what he's gone through, this is such an unfair case.”

Mr Harris attempted to gain early release earlier this year on compassionate grounds, citing the coronavirus pandemic. His request was denied.

Mr Harris was one of the founders and early financiers of Death Row Records, a rap label that in the 1990s boasted artists Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac on its roster.

Snoop’s attempts to secure Mr Harris’ release face a potential hiccup. Two years ago, Snoop clashed with Trump after he released a music video showing him shooting a fake gun at a clown that resembled the 45th President.

"Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!" Trump tweeted at the time.

09:29 AM

Inauguration Day 2021: When is Joe Biden sworn in as US president?

Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, following months of bitter resistance from Donald Trump to the outcome of the November presidential election.

Despite Mr Trump falsely decrying the outcome as fraudulent and the violence seen in the Capitol building on January 6, the US Congress confirmed Mr Biden will become the next President, after they certified 270 Electoral College votes on January 7.

Following the fatal events on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump committed to a peaceful transition of power.

The traditional outdoor ceremony for the new president is set to go ahead - although the threats of further violence coupled with the coronavirus pandemic will scale back the usual celebrations.

READ MORE: Inauguration Day 2021: When is Joe Biden sworn in as US president, and who is performing at the ceremony?

09:16 AM

'Why the Biden Bounce could beat the Trump Bump'

The incoming president’s stimulus plans and rollout of a vaccine are likely to further support US stocks, says Matthew Lynn.

It might not rhyme, as the Trump Bump did, but at least it alliterates. If stocks are up this week as President Joe Biden takes office then there is no question what it will be called: the Biden Bounce.Amid all the razzamatazz of the inauguration, the possible temper tantrum from the man vacating the White House and the heightened concerns around security on the day itself, the markets will rightly be asking what will be the impact the of the new president on the equity indices.The answer?

READ MORE: Why the Biden Bounce could beat the Trump Bump​

09:04 AM

Donald Trump's presidency: The best and worst moments from his four years in office

08:48 AM

Trump scheduled for busy final day in office

In the world’s busiest job, there is no let off in the final hours. Donald Trump faces a manic last day in the White House.

In a press release of his official schedule, Donald Trump will be working “from early in the morning until late in the evening” and will “make many calls and have many meetings”.

As arduous and gruelling as this sounds, the press release declined to provide further details on who Trump will be speaking with or what they plan to discuss. Presumably it is all extremely important.

Elsewhere, in a much lighter day of work, President-elect Biden will deliver remarks in his hometown of Wilmington before travelling to DC with his VP Kamala Harris to honour the lives lost to Covid-19 at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

08:28 AM

How California overtook New York to become the US state with most coronavirus deaths

With its long warm summers, white sandy beaches and sparsely-populated counties, Californians were certain they were living in one of the best settings to battle the virus, reports Margi Murphy.

But now the Golden State has overtaken New York for the most deaths and hospitals are reaching capacity, with health officials warning the toughest weeks are yet to come.

California was quick to respond at the start of the pandemic with strict stay-at-home orders, enforced mask wearing in public spaces and school closures, leaving scientists struggling to understand where the state went wrong.

Around three million residents have tested positive in California and over the weekend it confirmed that deaths had hit 32,960, just beating New York’s 32,725.

READ MORE: How California overtook New York to become the US state with most coronavirus deaths

08:10 AM

Preparation for Joe Biden's inauguration in pictures

07:55 AM

Joe Biden to block Donald Trump's plan to lift Covid-19 UK travel restrictions

US President-elect Joe Biden plans to quickly extend travel restrictions barring travel by most people who have recently been in the UK and much of Europe and Brazil soon after President Donald Trump lifted those restrictions effective from Jan. 26.

Mr Trump signed an order Monday lifting the restrictions he imposed early last year in response to the pandemic after winning support from coronavirus task force members and public health officials.

Soon after Mr Trump's order was made public, Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted "on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26."

She added: "With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel."

Until Mr Biden acts, Mr Trump's order ends restrictions the same day that new Covid-19 test requirements take effect for all international visitors. Mr Trump is due to leave office on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Joe Biden to block Donald Trump's plan to lift Covid-19 UK travel restrictions

07:40 AM

Melania Trump releases farewell message: 'Violence is never the answer'

07:27 AM

FBI says Capitol rioter allegedly hoped to sell Pelosi laptop to Russia

A woman identified as having taken part in the storming of the US Capitol is accused of stealing a laptop belonging to top Democrat Nancy Pelosi which she hoped to sell to a Russian spy agency, according to the FBI.

There is no indication Riley June Williams, a 22-year-old careworker from Pennsylvania, took a laptop from Ms Pelosi's office. The FBI, which is working off a tip, said in the court record the "matter remains under investigation."

The complaint, filed late Sunday in US District Court in Washington, sought the arrest of Williams on grounds including "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds."

Relying on several photos and videos of the chaotic January 6 riot, an FBI agent said Williams was seen near the office of Ms Pelosi, US House Speaker.

A witness, identified in the court document only as W1 but who claimed to be "the former romantic partner of Riley June Williams," alleged that Williams planned to send the laptop to a friend in Russia to sell it to the SVR foreign intelligence agency.

That sale "fell through for unknown reasons, and Williams still has the computer device or destroyed it," the affidavit says.

READ MORE: Woman who 'took laptop' from Pelosi's office in Capitol riot 'planned to sell it to Russian spies'

07:15 AM

Donald Trump prepares slew of pardons for his final 48 hours

Donald Trump is set to issue a slew of up to 100 pardons on his final full day in the White House today, though CNN and Fox News both reported he would not attempt to pardon himself.

As many as 100 pardons and commutations are reportedly being prepared for the US president to sign ahead of noon on Wednesday when he formally hands power to Joe Biden.

Those chosen will join a list of people pardoned since the November election which already includes former Trump campaign figures, one-time Republican congressmen and businessmen.

Mr Trump’s willingness to use the presidential power to pardon criminals has spawned a lobbying drive with lawyers paid tens of thousands of dollars to push potential beneficiaries.

READ MORE: Donald Trump prepares slew of pardons for his final 48 hours in the White House