Jan 3, 2019

Live updates: Democrats retake the House

New Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

A split Congress was officially sworn in on Thursday afternoon, with Democrats taking control of the House and Republicans adding to their majority in the Senate.

Why it matters: The first item on the 116th Congress' agenda is to reopen the government, with Democrats in the House planning to pass legislation to do just that — though it likely won't get far in the Senate. Up next will be a slew of House investigations into President Trump and his administration. Follow along for the key moments of the new Congress' first day.

7 am: Rep. Nancy Pelosi says on NBC's "Today" that she does not think the Department of Justice guidance that states a sitting president cannot be indicted is "conclusive." With that response, she becomes the highest ranking official to suggest President Trump could be indicted while in office.

12 pm: The House meets for the swearing in ceremonies and to vote for the speakership. Vice President Mike Pence swears in newly elected and re-elected senators.

  • Among Pelosi's guests as she retakes the gavel as speaker, per The Hill's Scott Wong: Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto; Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead and Caryl Hart; fashion consultant Tim Gunn; President Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers; Stephanie Schriock and Ellen Malcolm of EMILY’s List.

12:40 pm: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries officially nominates Pelosi for speaker of the House.

1:44 pm: Pelosi receives 220 votes and is elected speaker, passing the 216 vote threshold necessary to cement her widely expected victory.

2:27 pm: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) introduces Pelosi as the new speaker: "The country knows Nancy Pelosi as an experienced leader with three decades of service in Congress. A fighter for her causes. And a true trailblazer."

2:49 pm: Pelosi invites the children of Congress to join her as she takes the oath of office.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

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