Police groups endorse Biden’s pick for civil rights chief
Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division nominee Kristen Clarke speaks during an event with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)WASHINGTON – Some of the largest law enforcement groups in the U.S. are throwing their support behind President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Justice Department’s civil rights division. Other supporters also include the National Association of Police Organizations, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives and dozens of crime victims. As attorney general in the Obama administration, Eric Holder frequently criticized violent police confrontations and opened a series of civil rights investigations into local law enforcement practices. The civil rights investigations often ended with court-approved consent decrees that mandated reforms.
Biden's trade pick vows to work more closely with allies
FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2020, file photo Katherine Tai, the Biden administration's choice totake overas the U.S. trade representative, speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. President Joe Bidens pick to be the top U.S. trade envoy is promising to work with Americas allies to combat Chinas aggressive trade policies. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's pick to be the top U.S. trade envoy is promising to work with America's allies to combat China's aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration's go-it-alone approach. Fluent in Mandarin, Tai served several years as head of China enforcement at the trade representative's office. Far from working with allies on trade, Trump sparred with them instead, putting tariffs on imported steel and aluminum and threatening to target European cars, too.
Biden moves to reengage with Palestinians after Israel focus
FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2020, file photo President-elect Joe Biden listens as his Secretary of State nominee Tony Blinken speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty.
Vilsack confirmed for 2nd stint as US agriculture secretary
FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2020, file photo former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who the Biden administration chose to reprise that role, speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON – The Senate on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Tom Vilsack as agriculture secretary, his second run at the Cabinet post. The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same department for former President Barack Obama's entire administration. In his testimony, Vilsack, 70, heavily endorsed boosting climate-friendly agricultural industries such as the creation of biofuels, saying, “Agriculture is one of our first and best ways to get some wins" on climate change. With systemic racial inequity now a nationwide talking point, Vilsack also envisioned creating an “equity task force” inside the department.
Justice Dept. drops Yale admissions discrimination lawsuit
FILE - In this May 24, 2010 file photo, future graduates wait for the procession to begin for commencement at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. The Biden Justice Department says it is dismissing its discrimination lawsuit against Yale University. On Feb. 3, 2021, the Justice Department noted in its filing that it was voluntarily dismissing the action. AdYale said its practices comply with decades of Supreme Court precedent and that it looks at “the whole person" when deciding which applicants to admit. Biden’s Justice Department is working to undo Trump policies, including “zero tolerance,” the immigration policy that was responsible for family separations.
Agriculture secretary nominee Vilsack endorses biofuels push
FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2020, file photo former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who the Biden administration chose to reprise that role, speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON – Tom Vilsack, President Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of agriculture, pledged Tuesday to focus on climate change initiatives and work to address racial inequities in agricultural assistance programs. Vilsack, who testified before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, would bring much on-the-job experience to the position. In addition to serving two terms as the governor of Iowa, he spent eight years as President Barack Obama's Agriculture Secretary. But if you don’t have a grocery store, what then?”AdVilsack seems to enjoy bipartisan support and faced no serious criticism from Republicans on the committee.
Biden's pick for UN post calls China 'a strategic adversary'
United States Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Linda Thomas-Greenfield testifies during for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington. Johnson asked her why she had said the United States is not in a new Cold War with China. “This speech is cheerleading for the Chinese Communist Party” and makes no mention of China’s human rights violations, he said. Johnson asked her what the stronger language and tougher tactics would be toward China. “And yet, I had an extraordinary 35-year career, that culminated as the assistant secretary of state of African affairs,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Biden's Commerce pick, Raimondo, voices tough line on China
Gina Raimondo testifies remotely during her nomination hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. Gina Raimondo, a former venture capitalist, would be responsible for promoting opportunities for economic growth domestically and overseas. U.S. companies need to get a license to sell sophisticated technology to companies on the list. Raimondo promised to give the Census Bureau more time to crunch the numbers for the 2020 census if needed. “I believe we need to take the politics out of the census and we need to rely on the experts,” Raimondo said.
Yellen's nomination as treasury secretary advances in Senate
President-elect Joe Biden announced Yellen as his nominee for Treasury Secretary. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)WASHINGTON – The Senate Finance Committee approved President Joe Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen to be the nation’s 78th treasury secretary on Friday, setting up a final vote that would make her the first woman to hold the job. The Finance Committee approved her nomination on a 26-0 vote. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the incoming chair of the Finance Committee, said he hoped to get Yellen's nomination approved by the full Senate later Friday, but the vote was not scheduled. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told Yellen that Biden’s plan represented a “laundry list of liberal structural economic reforms.”As treasury secretary, Yellen, 74, would occupy a pivotal role in shaping and directing Biden’s economic policies.
@POTUS resets as Twitter juggles presidential accounts
Its a Twitter users worst nightmare: Wake up to find most of your followers gone. But thats exactly what will happen on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, to the official presidential accounts on Twitter. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)It’s a Twitter user’s worst nightmare: Wake up to find most of your followers gone. But that's exactly what will happen on Wednesday to the official presidential accounts on Twitter. That's unlike the previous Twitter transition, when then-President Barack Obama's official accounts were transferred to President Donald Trump with followers intact.
The Latest: Trump declassifies Crossfire Hurricane material
___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN’S INAUGURATION:President-elect Joe Biden appeared at a memorial for COVID-19 victims at the Lincoln Memorial on Tuesday evening. ___4:45 p.m.President Donald Trump does not mention his successor, Democrat Joe Biden, by name in his farewell address. A person familiar with Pence’s schedule cited “logistical challenges” in getting from the air base to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremonies on Wednesday. The information was passed from the National Guard Bureau to the D.C. National Guard. ___10:45 a.m.Three new Democratic senators are set to be sworn into office after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.
The Latest: Hawley blocks quick confirmation of DHS nominee
Homeland Security Secretary nominee Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Hawley said he made the move because Mayorkas, in his confirmation hearing, would not commit to spending the $1.4 billion appropriated to expand the border wall with Mexico. Alejandro Mayorkas was asked about it Tuesday at his Senate confirmation hearing. ___10:30 a.m.One of President Donald Trump’s national intelligence directors is introducing President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for the job at her confirmation hearing. Avril Haines faces a confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate intelligence committee.
President-elect Joe Biden uses Defense Production Act for vaccines
President-elect Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 pandemic during an event at The Queen theater, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden will use the Defense Production Act to expand the production of the COVID-19 vaccine and vaccination supplies as part of a wide-ranging plan to deliver on his pledge to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days. He’s long advocated for the use of the Defense Production Act, which gives the government authority to direct private companies to meet national defense needs. President Donald Trump had invoked the Defense Production Act to address various aspects of the COVID-19 public health crisis. And he’ll expand the health care workforce so there are more people qualified to deliver the vaccine to Americans.
Vaccines to stimulus checks: Here’s what’s in Biden plan
– President-elect Joe Biden is proposing a $1.9 trillion plan to expand coronavirus vaccinations, help individuals and jump-start the economy. — An additional $50 billion would expand testing efforts and help schools and governments implement routine testing. INDIVIDUALS AND WORKERS— Stimulus checks of $1,400 per person in addition to the $600 checks Congress approved in December. — The child care tax credit would be expanded for a year, to cover half the cost of child care up to $4,000 for one child and $8,000 for two or more for families making less than $125,000 a year. — $15 billion in federal grants to help states subsidize child care for low-income families, along with a $25 billion fund to help child care centers in danger of closing.
Yellen's Senate confirmation hearing set for Jan. 19
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON – The Senate Finance Committee announced Tuesday that it will hold a confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary-nominee Janet Yellen on Jan. 19. The timing for the hearing will mean that Yellen will appear before a panel still controlled by Republicans. Democrats will not take over control of the Senate until Jan. 20 after President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn into office. With the election to the Senate of two Democrats from Georgia last week, the Senate will be split 50-50. Biden is hoping to get Yellen's nomination through the Senate quickly so that she will be able to help win congressional passage of another COVID-19 relief package.
Biden blames Trump for violence at Capitol that's shaken US
President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, to announce key nominees for the Justice Department. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday denounced the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol as “domestic terrorists” and he blamed President Donald Trump for the violence that has shaken the nation's capital and beyond. It was chaos.”Those who massed on Capitol Hill intending to disrupt a joint session of Congress that was certifying Biden’s election victory over Trump “weren’t protesters. The remarks came during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, to introduce Biden's Justice Department team, to be led by federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland as attorney general. The Justice Department is expected to dramatically change course during the Biden administration, with a greater focus on civil rights issues and a review of policing policies.
Biden's pick to lead Treasury made over $7M in speaking fees
Yellen’s was among three financial disclosures turned in by Biden transition officials that were made public on Thursday by the Office of Government Ethics. She took in the speaking fees in 2019 and 2020. Hillary Clinton faced criticism from the left wing of the Democratic Party while running for president in 2016 for having received lucrative speaking fees at Wall Street firms. "She’s been fully transparent.”Also released Thursday were disclosure forms from Biden’s choice to be secretary of state, Antony Blinken, who detailed his work at a consulting firm he co-founded, WestExec Advisors, LLC. Avril Haines, Biden’s choice to be national intelligence director, disclosed being a consultant at WestExec Advisors and collecting around $55,000 in fees between October 2017 and last summer.
Biden's profoundly private Pentagon pick joins Twitter
Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the Biden administrations choice to be secretary of defense, speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. Well, today I’m learning about Twitter,” Austin, 67, tweeted mid-morning. Under the law, a service member must be out of uniform for at least seven years before serving as defense secretary. Austin retired in 2016. Austin's Twitter video treads a careful line between touting his military career and emphasizing his current status as a civilian.
The Latest: Biden urges public to have confidence in vaccine
President-elect Joe Biden announces his choice for several positions in his administration during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):3:05 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says the American public should have confidence in a coronavirus vaccine that may soon begin to become available. Shots could begin within days, depending on how quickly the Food and Drug Administration signs off, as expected, on the expert committee’s recommendation. Arguing that “there is no political influence” in the vaccine, Biden stressed the scientific research that has “led us to this point.” He also reiterated his “bold and doable” commitment to trying to vaccinate 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his administration. Biden fills Cabinet with former White House leaders— Hundreds of GOP members sign onto Texas-led election lawsuit— Joe Biden, Kamala Harris named Time magazine’s Person of the Year
The Latest: Biden signals limit on executive authority use
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. 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. 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. ___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.
AP sources: Biden to pick Katherine Tai as top trade envoy
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden is set to nominate Katherine Tai to be the top U.S. trade envoy, according to two people familiar with his plans. Biden's selection of Tai, who is Asian American, reflects his promise to choose a diverse Cabinet that reflects the makeup of the country. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Tai earlier oversaw China trade enforcement for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, setting U.S. strategy in trade disputes with China. Biden’s trade representative will inherit a trade war with China, put on pause by an interim trade pact in January that left many of the hardest issues unresolved and U.S. taxes remaining on $360 billion in Chinese imports. As the top trade staffer at Ways and Means, Tai handled negotiations last year with the Trump administration over a revamped North American trade deal.
In face of ‘grim’ jobs report, Biden backs more COVID-19 aid
– President-elect Joe Biden is predicting a “bleak future” if Congress doesn't take speedy action on a coronavirus aid bill amid a nationwide spike in the virus that's hampering the country's economic recovery. Biden delivered remarks Friday afternoon reacting to November's national jobs report, which showed a sharp decrease in U.S. hiring even as the country is about 10 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels. While the Trump administration has undertaken some planning around vaccine distribution, Biden said Friday that their proposal lacks significant details. Democrats and Republicans have been deadlocked on a coronavirus aid bill for months, with Republicans opposed to a previous, more expensive bill that passed the House. Biden said Friday that he plans to ask Congress for funding for expanded testing, vaccine distribution, jobless aid and help for those at risk of eviction.
The Latest: Biden: Trump inaugural presence important to US
WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):9:55 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says it is important that President Donald Trump attend his inauguration only in the sense that it would demonstrate the nation’s commitment to a peaceful transfer of power between political rivals. ___8:45 p.m.Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have made a fresh push for President-elect Joe Biden to nominate New Mexico Gov. But $207.5 million came in after Election Day as Trump repeatedly – and falsely – claimed President-elect Joe Biden won due to voter fraud. Gina Raimondo has knocked down talk that she is in the running for President-elect Joe Biden’s secretary of health and human services. ___12:25 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former Obama administration senior economic adviser Brian Deese to be director of the National Economic Council.
The Latest: Trump, US agency allow formal Biden transition
WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):8 p.m. The General Services Administration has formally designated President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election. ___3:30 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says he wants to work closely with the nation’s mayors to help Americans cope during the coronavirus pandemic. Haines, 51, was the White House deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. About a dozen other senior White House staffers also have been announced by the president-elect.
Joe Biden wins Georgia, flipping the state for Democrats
President-elect Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaks at The Queen theater, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON – Joe Biden has won Georgia and its 16 electoral votes, an extraordinary victory for Democrats who pushed to expand their electoral map through the Sun Belt. The win by Biden pads his Electoral College margin of victory over President Donald Trump. Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election on Nov. 7 after flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to the Democrats’ column. Biden now has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.
The Latest: International observers see no fraud in US vote
President-elect Joe Biden listens during a meeting with his COVID-19 advisory council, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):9 p.m.International observers from the Organization of American States say they saw no instances of fraud or voting irregularities in the U.S. presidential election. Some Republicans are renewing their attacks on President-elect Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia, with Sens. Political appointees who are looking for job opportunities after President Donald Trump’s election defeat to President-elect Joe Biden should think twice. Carson is the first member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet known to have tested positive.
The Latest: Winfrey boosts Biden at get-out-the-vote event
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON – The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times local):8:35 p.m.Joe Biden is getting a boost from Oprah Winfrey in the final days of the presidential campaign. While President Donald Trump won all but Minnesota in 2016, Democrats are increasingly optimistic Biden can win at least Michigan and Pennsylvania back, and he’s making a play for Ohio as well. ___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:The presidential campaign shifts west as President Donald Trump visits an Arizona town across the Colorado River from Nevada. The Biden campaign announced the rally on Wednesday but hasn’t said where it will be held. President Donald Trump won Michigan by just under 11,000 votes four years ago, making it his closest margin of victory in any state.