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The Biden Era Begins

  • January 20, 2021

Joe Biden will be sworn in as president of the United States today at around noon Eastern in Washington. Here’s the full schedule of events.

This inauguration won’t be like the others, with a sparse crowd attending the swearing-in ceremony because of the pandemic. President Trump won’t be there either, as he and many of his supporters continue to tout false claims about the election. There is a heavy security presence to avoid any repeat of a pro-Trump mob’s deadly violence at the Capitol two weeks ago.

  • “American democracy is under siege,” writes David Leonhardt in our sister newsletter The Morning, likening today’s spartan proceedings to wartime inaugurations in 1861, 1865 and 1945.

On Mr. Trump’s last full day in office, he issued 143 pardons and commutations, “a final lashing out by Mr. Trump at a criminal justice system that he had come to view as unfairly hounding him and his allies,” The Times writes. Among the notable business figures granted clemency — here is the full list — are Elliott Broidy, a financier and top Trump fund-raiser who pleaded guilty to violating foreign lobbying laws in activities that involved the fugitive Malaysian financier Jho Low; Ken Kurson, the former New York Observer editor and an ally of Jared Kushner who was charged with cyberstalking; the former Google executive Anthony Levandowski, who pleaded guilty to stealing corporate secrets; William Walters, the sports bettor convicted of insider trading in a case that entangled Carl Icahn and Phil Mickelson; Sholam Weiss, who was sentenced to more than 800 years in prison for insurance fraud; and Bob Zangrillo, a financier who was charged in the Varsity Blues college-admissions scandal. (Many of the pardons appear linked to lobbying from influential figures: Mr. Levandowski’s petition, for instance, was supported by Peter Thiel, the Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey and the former Hollywood executive Michael Ovitz.)

On Mr. Biden’s first day, he plans to propose legislation to reverse many of Mr. Trump’s immigration policies, including giving undocumented immigrants a chance to become citizens. Mr. Biden also plans to issue a series of executive orders, including extending a moratorium on foreclosures on federally guaranteed mortgages and revoking an order that limited diversity training for federal agencies and contractors. He might disappoint progressives with an order to extend a pause on federal student loan payments through September instead of canceling big chunks of debt as some have hoped.

  • Mr. Biden’s White House will impose stricter coronavirus testing, social distancing and mask wearing. Many of his aides will begin the term working from home, Axios reports.

In photos and headlines: Follow Mr. Biden’s road to the presidency in this illustrated timeline and revisit the biggest front-page displays of Mr. Trump’s term.

Jack Ma reappears. The Alibaba co-founder spoke at an event honoring teachers in China’s village schools today, his first public appearance in three months. He has kept a low profile since Chinese regulators began cracking down on his business empire.

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