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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11:48 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Lady Gaga performs the National Anthem

From CNN's Aditi Sangal


Lady Gaga performed the US National Anthem with the US marine band, using a golden mic. She had a golden dove-shaped broach pinned to her coat.

1:05 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

GOP Sen. Blunt: This is a "moment of unification"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

In remarks at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt referenced the Jan. 6 attack at the US Capitol, saying that it “reminds us that a government to balance and check itself, is both fragile and resilient.”

Blunt called the ceremony a moment to unify the United States after the attack. 

“This is not a moment of division. It's a moment of unification. A new administration begins and brings with it a new beginning. And with that, our great national debate goes forward and a determined democracy will continue to be more essential in pursuit of a more perfect union and a better future for all Americans,” he added.

1:05 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Sen. Klobuchar at inauguration welcome: "Today is the day democracy picks itself up"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar welcomed attendees and global viewers to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

"This ceremony is the culmination of 244 years of a democracy," Klobuchar said, adding, "It is a moment when leaders brought to the stage by the will of the people promise to be faithful to our Constitution, to cherish it and defend it."

As snow flurries fell on Capitol Hill, Klobuchar referenced the stark contrast to the scene just 14 days prior.

"Two weeks ago, when an angry violent mob staged an insurrection and desecrated this temple of our democracy, it awakened us to our responsibilities as Americans," she stated, adding that today "is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust and does what America always does: goes forward as a nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

See Klobuchar's tweet:

1:06 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Sen. Klobuchar: "This is the day when our democracy picks itself up"

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Amy Klobuchar reflects on the significance of today's inauguration at the US Capitol in the wake of a riot in the same place two weeks ago.

"This is the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust and does what America always does, goes forward as a nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," she said at the start of the ceremony.

She said now, as the country turns the page, it is up to everyone to "take up the torch of our democracy" to be an instrument of good.

"We pledge today never to take our democracy for granted as we celebrate its remarkable strength. We celebrate its resilience, its grit," Klobuchar said.

Watch moment:

1:06 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Biden will be sworn in using family Bible that he also used in 2009 and 2013

From CNN’s Ethan Cohen, Liz Stark, Adam Levy and Arlette Saenz

US Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20, 2009.
US Vice President Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20, 2009. Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

When Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president, it’s expected he’ll have his hand where it has been every time he’s taken an oath of office before – on the Biden family Bible. 

The Bible is five inches thick, features a Celtic cross on the cover, and has been in the Biden family since 1893.

Biden used the Bible each time he took the oath as vice president and for each of his seven Senate swearings-in, starting in 1973. The Bible was used during his swearing-in as Vice President in 2009 and 2013.

In 2009, Biden’s final oath in the Senate was delayed when the Bible couldn’t be located, the Wilmington News Journal reported. Beau Biden, Biden’s son who died in 2015, also used the Bible when he was sworn in as attorney general of Delaware in 2007.

"Every important date is in there. For example, every time I’ve been sworn in for anything, the date has been on that, and it’s inscribed on the Bible," Biden told Stephen Colbert in December 2020. "Our son, when he was sworn in as attorney general, all the important dates in our family, going way back. And it’s just been a family heirloom."

11:57 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Trump issues one more last-minute pardon

From CNN's Betsy Klein and Jeremy Diamond

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

President Donald Trump granted one additional pardon in the final hours of his presidency.

"Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a full pardon to Albert J. Pirro, Jr.," deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement to pool. 

Pirro is the ex-husband of Trump ally and Fox News personality Judge Jeanine Pirro. He was convicted on conspiracy and tax evasion charges after improperly deducting $1.2 million of his personal expenses in business write-offs.

1:06 p.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Kamala Harris is wearing purple as a nod to the first Black woman to run for president

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Kamala Harris is set to make history as the first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president, and she will take her oath in the color purple as a nod to Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to run for president.

"Kamala Harris is wearing purple, something pretty significant to her. When she ran for president, one of her colors of her campaign was purple and yellow. That is a nod to Shirley Chisholm who ran for president as a black woman decades ago and has inspired her political career," CNN's Abby Phillip reports.

Chisholm campaigned for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972.

Phillip added:

"You see Kamala Harris nodding to this major moment in American history for so many women, people of color, for her sorority sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha, incorporated."

11:26 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Harris will use two Bibles when taking her oath 

From CNN’s Jasmine Wright and Kate Sullivan

Kamala Harris is expected to take her oath of office today using two Bibles; one that previously belonged to a former neighbor and family friend of Harris’, Regina Shelton, and another that belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court, according to a Harris aide.

She will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Harris has described Shelton as a second mother to her. She and her sister Maya often visited Shelton's house after school while their mother, the late Shyamala Gopalan, was still at work as a breast cancer researcher. Harris used Shelton's Bible to take the oath of office to be attorney general of California and later to become a United States senator.

"In office and into the fight, I carry Mrs. Shelton with me always," Harris wrote in an op-ed for Bustle about Shelton titled, "Without This Woman, I Wouldn't Be The Senator I Am Today."

Harris has often said that Marshall was one of the inspirations for her legal career and has described him as a "childhood hero of mine."

The vice president-elect said in a video posted to Twitter in July, "Thurgood Marshall and the work that he did is ... really one of the main reasons I wanted to be a lawyer. Thurgood was a fighter, he was a boxer in the courtroom."

Harris will make history as the first female, first Black and first South Asian vice president, and she will be sworn in by the first Hispanic and third female justice in US Supreme Court history, Sonia Sotomayor.

11:27 a.m. ET, January 20, 2021

Joe Biden has arrived on stage

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden was just introduced for his inauguration at the US Capitol and is set to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

He followed Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, former presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and Supreme Court justices at the event.

Chief Justice John Roberts will swear-in Biden.

Biden fist-bumped with Obama as he passed the former president.

Watch the moment: