The Latest: Biden signals limit on executive authority use

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President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event to announce his choice of retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to be secretary of defense, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):

6:10 p.m.

Joe Biden has suggested he can’t go as far with executive authority as some of his most vocal supporters would like, declaring that he won’t violate the Constitution in a leaked recording of his call with civil rights leaders.

Audio from the private call on Tuesday was obtained by The Intercept. Biden is urged to use executive action to promote police reform and is heard promising to use his presidential power to overturn “every single damn thing” that President Donald Trump did via executive action.

But, he added, “I am not going to violate the Constitution. Executive authority that my progressive friends talk about is way beyond the bounds.” He cited the specific example of assault-style weapons, saying it’d be unconstitutional to ban them with executive action.

The president-elect also suggested that promoting police reform could hurt Democrats in two special Senate elections next month in Georgia, saying, “I don’t think we should make that a big issue.”

A Biden transition spokesperson says, “President-elect Biden is the same person behind closed doors that he is in public; honest, direct and realistic.”



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12:15 p.m.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, is set to join the faculty of Georgetown Law next month.

Emhoff will serve as a Distinguished Visitor from Practice and teach a two-credit course in the spring semester called “Entertainment Law Disputes.” He will also serve as a Distinguished Fellow of Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law and Policy. That’s part of a new entertainment and media law initiative for the law school that will include a speaker series and other projects.

Emhoff, an entertainment lawyer, had planned to leave his private law practice by Inauguration Day to focus on his White House duties as the second gentleman. He had wanted to avoid appearances of conflicts of interest because his firm, DLA Piper, has a lobbying presence in Washington.

The Biden-Harris transition team says Emhoff’s role at Georgetown will be separate from his role as second gentleman and that he is working to develop a portfolio to support the work of the administration.

The incoming first lady, Jill Biden, is an educator who has said she wants to keep teaching at a community college.


7 a.m.

President-elect Joe Biden is heading to Georgia to campaign for the Democratic candidates in the state’s two critical U.S. Senate runoffs.

Biden says he’ll travel to Atlanta on Tuesday to support Jon Ossoff, the Rev. Raphael Warnock and the Democratic ticket in the Jan. 5 runoffs, which will determine which party controls the Senate at the outset of his presidency.

Ossoff faces Republican Sen. David Perdue. Warnock faces GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have campaigned in the state for Loeffler and Perdue, and Pence is scheduled to return Thursday for a rally.

Republicans need one seat for a Senate majority. Democrats need both to make Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote.

Georgia has long been a Republican stronghold but may be on the road to swing state status, particularly after Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992 to carry the state.