The inauguration of Joe Biden

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:42 a.m. ET, January 21, 2021
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6:14 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden says Trump left him "very generous" letter

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Joe Biden said his predecessor left him a "very generous letter" before departing office.

Speaking from behind the Resolute Desk, Biden said he would not reveal the contents of the letter out of respect for former President Donald Trump.

"The President wrote a very generous letter," Biden said. "Because it was private I will not talk about it until I talk to him."

5:29 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden signs "bold" actions in first appearance in Oval Office

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Joe Biden told reporters he is signing "bold" executive actions during his first appearance in the Oval Office.

"There’s no time to start like today," Biden told reporters.

He said these actions are meant to keep his promises to the American people.

"We’re going to need legislation for a lot of the things," Biden said.

Biden plans to take 17 executive actions during his first hours in office, moving faster and more aggressively to dismantle his predecessor's legacy than any other modern president.

Biden will sign a flurry of executive orders, memoranda and directives to agencies, making his first moves to address the coronavirus pandemic and undo some of Donald Trump's signature policies.

Watch the moment:

5:13 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Rep. Linda Sánchez will lead Biden-Harris immigration legislation in the House

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez and Lauren Fox

Rep. Linda Sánchez speaks during a news conference on July 29, 2020.
Rep. Linda Sánchez speaks during a news conference on July 29, 2020. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

As President Joe Biden begins his first day in office, a group of House Democrats announced that they will lead the effort to pass Biden’s immigration bill on Capitol Hill. 

In a narrowly-held Senate, the climb on immigration is steep especially given how far to the right Republicans have moved in the issue since the 2013 bipartisan bill. Still, this is yet another sign of the coordinated approach the Biden administration is taking with Democratic allies on the hill to push their agenda forward. 

Reps. Joaquin Castro, Raul Ruiz, and Linda Sánchez spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tuesday about the legislation, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Biden’s bill, titled US Citizenship Act of 2021, addresses the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the US, boosts border technology, and targets the root causes of migration, according to incoming White House officials.

More details: The bill provides an immediate pathway to citizenship for farmworkers, recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, and Temporary Protected Status holders. It also sketches out a plan for undocumented immigrants that would allow them to eventually apply for green cards if they pass background checks and pay taxes.

5:10 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

New Radicals reunite to perform in honor of Beau Biden during the inauguration parade

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

Gregg Alexander of the New Radicals performs during the Virtual Parade Across America on January 20.
Gregg Alexander of the New Radicals performs during the Virtual Parade Across America on January 20. Handout/Biden Inaugural Committee/Getty Images

The band “New Radicals” reunited for the first time in 22 years to perform a song with a personal connection to President-elect Joe Biden’s family during the virtual inaugural parade.

The group performed their 1998 hit “You Get What You Give” as the part of the virtual “Parade Across America,” a song that was a favorite of Biden’s late son, Beau Biden.

“When we heard that our song ‘You Get What You Give’ was a Biden family anthem, we pledged that if Joe won we would get together and play our little song both in memory and honor of our new President’s patriot son Beau and also with the prayer that Joe will be able to bring our country together again,” said Gregg Alexander, frontman of the New Radicals.

In her eulogy of Beau Biden in 2015, Ashley Biden, the President-elect’s daughter, described the tune as a “theme song” for Beau, who often played it for her while he was battling brain cancer.

“In retrospect, I think Beau played that song during our mornings together – not for him, but for me,” she said. “To remember to not give up or let sadness consume me, consume us.”

Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman, also used the song as his walk-up song during the presidential campaign.

5:01 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Closets filled and refrigerator stocked as White House readies for the Bidens

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

There's much work to be done as the White House prepares for new tenants.

In the small window of time between Donald Trump's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue departure, and ahead of President Joe Biden's arrival, staffers are feverishly preparing for a new first family.

"They [the Bidens] will spend the night there after a thorough deep clean worthy of a pandemic," reported CNN's Kate Bennett from on the ground in Washington, DC.

Meanwhile, with so much political work to be done, Biden need not worry about the clothes on his back nor the food in his stomach, as those details are being handled as well.

"The fridge has been stocked with their favorite foods," noted Bennett, adding "their closets have been filled with their clothes ... this is now their home."

5:28 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Ossoff is youngest Democrat to serve in the Senate since Biden was sworn in at age 30 in 1973

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Senate TV
Senate TV

Jon Ossoff, age 33, just became the youngest senator in the chamber, and the youngest Democrat to serve in the Senate since President Joe Biden, who was sworn into the chamber at the age of 30 in 1973.

Ossoff also made history as the first Jewish senator representing Georgia.

The senator was sworn in moments ago by Vice President Kamala Harris alongside his Georgia counterpart, Raphael Warnock, as well as Harris’ replacement in California, Alex Padilla.

With the swearing-in of three Democratic senators, the party breakdown of the Senate will be 50-50. Harris wields power as the Senate's crucial tie-breaking vote.

4:57 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Harris swears in new Democratic senators

From CNN's Alex Rogers

Senate TV
Senate TV

Kamala Harris is on the Senate floor for the first time since becoming vice president and is swearing in three senators: Georgia’s Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, as well as Harris’ replacement in California, Alex Padilla.

The swearing-in of the three new senators will be groundbreaking. Warnock and Ossoff will be the first Black and first Jewish senators, respectively, representing Georgia, while Padilla will be California's first Latino senator.

Ossoff, 33, will also be the youngest senator in the chamber, and the youngest Democrat to serve in the Senate since President Joe Biden, who was sworn into the chamber at the age of 30 in 1973.

Remember: After Warnock, Ossoff and Padilla are sworn in, the party breakdown of the Senate will be 50-50. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer will become the first New Yorker and first Jewish lawmaker to become Senate majority leader.

Harris will wield power as the Senate's crucial tie-breaking vote, helping the Biden administration confirm its appointments and giving Democrats the gavels of committees in charge of holding oversight hearings and crafting far-reaching legislation.

See the moment:

4:52 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Harris arrives at Capitol for swearing-in of new senators

From CNN's Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett

Senate TV
Senate TV

Vice President Kamala Harris returned to the Capitol to swear in three new senators on Wednesday: Georgia's Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, and California's Alex Padilla. 

4:44 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden is in the Oval Office for the first time since being sworn in

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Joe Biden is in the Oval Office for the first time since being sworn in, a White House officials tells CNN. 

A former White House official told CNN that former President Trump left his departure note for Biden on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, given that's the same place Barack Obama had left his.