As President Biden begins his term in office today, he'll be tasked with leading a country beset with deep, long-term problems.
Why it matters: Though the pandemic has made them worse, existential challenges around inequality, social alienation and political division in the U.S. were in place well before SARS-CoV-2 arrived on American shores. The country's future will depend in large part on whether the choices made over the next four years can flatten the curve of American decline.
Facebook on Wednesday confirmed that it is transferring the millions of followers of the official Facebook and Instagram White House accounts to the Biden administration.
Details: The accounts for "@POTUS," "@VicePresident" ("@VP" on Instagram) and "@FLOTUS" are having the followers from their personal Pages and accounts be transferred over. It's unclear when that transition process will be complete.
President Biden had exited his Cadillac with the new "46" license plates and was strolling a short stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue toward his new home when he spotted "Today" show weather legend Al Roker.
The big picture: Biden dropped Jill Biden's hand — no warning — and trotted over to the delighted Roker. POTUS gave Roker a fist bump and said, "Gotta keep doing this!" It was a very Joe moment in a day that was designed to signal a return to normality in a turbulent America.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is officially Senate majority leader after the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of new Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).
Why it matters: With a 50-50 Senate, Schumer will control a narrow majority with Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Democratic control of the Senate is crucial to President Biden's agenda, from getting his coronavirus relief proposal passed to forgiving student debt.
Michael Pack, a conservative filmmaker who was nominated by Donald Trump to lead the government's foreign media arm, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), left the agency Wednesday at the request of President Biden.
Why it matters: Pack's eight-month tenure was filled with controversy. Most recently, he was accused of fraud, as well as misuse of office. Observers and whistleblowers have alleged throughout his tenure that he was abusing his power in an attempt to transform the agency into a pro-Trump propaganda arm.
Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.
Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.
Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.
The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.
Amazon's worldwide consumer CEO Dave Clark has offered to help the Biden administration with its coronavirus vaccination goals by mobilizing efforts to inoculate its employees, according to a letter sent to President Biden on Wednesday.
Why it matters: As demand for the coronavirus vaccine is outstripping supply, Amazon has about 800,000 employees, many of whom are essential workers. The Biden administration wants to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days.
China's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday it would sanction 28 "anti-China" U.S. politicians, including a slew of top officials from the outgoing Trump administration such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former national security adviser John Bolton and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Between the lines, via Axios China expert Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: Chinese government officials have traditionally decried the use of unilateral sanctions by Western countries, even though China regularly blocks foreign companies and individuals from its markets for perceived political slights.
Moments after taking the oath of office, President Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."
Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.
With just over 30 minutes left in his presidency, President Trump issued a full pardon to Albert J. Pirro Jr., ex-husband of Fox News firebrand and Trump defender Jeanine Pirro.
Why it matters: This was Trump's final act as president, and he issued the pardon during Joe Biden's inauguration.
Joe Biden was sworn in just before noon on Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, in an inauguration ceremony unlike any other.
Why it matters: The 78-year-old Democrat assumes the presidency at a fraught moment for the country, which remains polarized and in the grips of a coronavirus crisis that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.
In a historic inauguration, Kamala Harris was sworn in on Wednesday as the vice president of the United States.
Why it matters: Harris is the first woman, Black American and Indian American to serve as vice president in U.S. history. In addition to serving as Biden's No. 2, she will act as a critical tie-breaking vote in the 50-50 Senate.
Trade groups representing private equity and venture capital firms have joined the trend of pausing political donations, in the wake of Jan. 6.
Driving the news: The American Investment Council has suspended political contributions from its PAC to all political candidates for an undetermined length of time.
Several new polls help to show where the public's at on energy and climate as Biden takes office.
Why it matters: People tend to favor emissions-cutting and low-carbon energy initiatives, but it's hardly top of mind.
President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.
The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.
President-elect Biden will sign an executive order Wednesday to revoke the Trump administration’s plan to exclude non-citizens from the census and apportionment of Congressional representatives.
The state of play: The order aims to ensure the Census Bureau has ample time to complete an accurate population count for each state, and introduce an apportionment that is deemed fair and accurate to Congress so that federal resources are efficiently and fairly distributed.
Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.
What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies.
Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
It was 12:50 a.m. on Inauguration Day when President Trump announced 143 pardons and commutations — including a pardon for Steve Bannon. 17 minutes later, the White House released an executive order that said it all about his failure to "drain the Swamp," as he'd promised in the '16 campaign.
Driving the news: Trump revoked an executive order, signed eight days after he took office, that limits his appointees' lobbying for five years after leaving the administration.
Reflecting both the man and the times, President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.'s inaugural address needs as much reality as poetry.
What to watch ... The president-elect will do both, sources tell me: Biden’s biography equips him not just to deliver a great speech, but also to start putting the public sector back in good working order.
The online far right is about to face a cold reality it long denied was a possibility: the post-Trump era.
What's happening: Fringe-right internet users are broadly poised to enter the Biden era in one of three states: Denial, disenchantment or determination to use the moment to their advantage.
Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.
Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.
"The end is coming, Donald."
The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."
The Capitol insurrection means the anti-tech talk in Washington is more likely to lead to action, since it's ever clearer that the attack was planned, at least in part, on social media.
Why it matters: The big platforms may have hoped they'd move to D.C.'s back burner, with the Hill focused on the Biden agenda and the pandemic out of control. But now, there'll be no escaping harsh scrutiny.
Domestic terrorism has proven to be more difficult for Big Tech companies to police online than foreign terrorism.
The big picture: That's largely because the politics are harder. There's more unity around the need to go after foreign extremists than domestic ones — and less danger of overreaching and provoking a backlash.
President-elect Biden will on Wednesday launch a "whole-of-government" initiative aimed at advancing racial equity in federal policymaking and rooting out systemic racism from programs and institutions.
Why it matters: Biden’s win relied heavily on voters of color — especially Black Americans.
President-elect Biden on day one will begin his attempts to close off the prospect of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with an executive order that places a temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities.
President-elect Biden will reverse President Trump's controversial policy restricting travel for nationals from several Muslim-majority countries.
Why it matters: The ban restricted travel and immigration, to varying degrees, for about 7% of the world's population. Biden previously blamed Trump for the "unconscionable rise in Islamophobia."
As part of his Day One executive actions, President-elect Biden will ask the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to "immediately" extend the federal eviction moratorium until the end of March and ask other federal agencies to extend foreclosure moratoriums on federally-backed mortgages.
Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has thrown millions of people out of work and resulted in many unable to pay their rent or mortgages. The moratorium was scheduled to expire on Jan. 31. As the deadline approached, the Urban Institute warned of a "looming evictions cliff" as renters reported they would be unable to make payments.
One his first day in office, President-elect Biden will propose legislation that would give an eight-year path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
Why it matters: The proposal — the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 — is a stark shift away from former President Trump's harsh policies and rhetoric on immigration and fulfills a campaign promise of Biden's.
President-elect Biden will order the U.S. to rejoin the World Health Organization, ceasing a withdrawal process the Trump administration had started.
Why it matters: Biden is expected to undo scores of Trump administration policies early in his term. President Trump notified the United Nations in July 2020 of his administration's intent to withdraw from the organization — despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
President-elect Biden will issue an executive order on Wednesday to rescind permits for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as one of his first acts on his first day in office.
Why it matters: The move is a major development in a longtime fight over a controversial pipeline that began under the Obama administration. It reverses some of President Trump's own first actions aimed at advancing the project upon taking office in 2017.
As part of his day one executive actions, President-elect Biden on Wednesday will ask the Department of Education to extend federal student loan relief, hoping to pause payments and interest accrual until at least Sept. 30.
Why it matters: The relief, in place since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, is set to expire Jan. 31 . The measures, which also include expanding forgiveness and income-based repayment programs, have helped tens of millions of borrowers handle the financial strain brought on by the public health crisis.
President-elect Biden on Wednesday will begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, making good on a highly touted campaign promise.
Catch up fast: President Trump first announced his intention to abandon the accord in June 2017, angering countries worldwide. The U.S. became the only country to pull out of the pact on Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election and the first possible day for the country to withdraw under the agreement's terms.
President-elect Joe Biden will on Wednesday order a government-wide review of over 100 Trump-era policies and direct agencies to prepare a suite of emissions and energy efficiency rules.
Why it matters: New information from transition officials offers the full scope of Biden's imminent, inauguration-day burst of environmental and energy policy moves.