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The Latest: Biden arrives in DC on eve of inauguration

January 19, 2021 GMT
In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks from the Senate floor to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Now that the House has impeached President Donald Trump for the second time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must figure out the best strategy for arguing the case before the Senate. Senate rules say the trial must start soon after the chamber receives the article of impeachment, which cites “incitement of insurrection” after an angry mob of Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol last week. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks from the Senate floor to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Now that the House has impeached President Donald Trump for the second time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must figure out the best strategy for arguing the case before the Senate. Senate rules say the trial must start soon after the chamber receives the article of impeachment, which cites “incitement of insurrection” after an angry mob of Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol last week. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks from the Senate floor to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Now that the House has impeached President Donald Trump for the second time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must figure out the best strategy for arguing the case before the Senate. Senate rules say the trial must start soon after the chamber receives the article of impeachment, which cites “incitement of insurrection” after an angry mob of Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol last week. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration (all times local):

4 p.m.

Joe Biden is making his return to the Washington area on the eve of his inauguration as the nation’s 46th president.

Biden touched down at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Tuesday afternoon, taking a brief flight from his home state of Delaware down to the District of Columbia. In contrast to his predecessor, Biden flew on a chartered plane. President Donald Trump arrived at the base in 2017 on a government plane.

Biden’s decision to fly came as a response to growing security concerns surrounding his inauguration. The Democrat had originally planned to travel to Washington by Amtrak, which he rode to and from Washington throughout his Senate career, but the option was scrapped amid threats of violence against the president-elect.

Biden is slated to deliver remarks with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at a COVID-19 memorial later Tuesday, before spending the night at Blair House, the president’s official guesthouse.

He will be inaugurated on Wednesday.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN’S INAUGURATION:

President-elect Joe Biden arrives in Washington, D.C., from Delaware on Tuesday. He will appear at a memorial for COVID-19 victims at the Lincoln Memorial in the evening. Biden will spend the night at Blair House, the president’s official guesthouse, and will be inaugurated as the nation’s 46th president on Wednesday.

Read more:

— Inaugural event to celebrate resiliency of Black Americans

— Biden, Harris take break from inaugural prep to mark MLK Day

— Inauguration rehearsal evacuated after fire in homeless camp

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

3:30 p.m.

In his farewell address, President Donald Trump says he will pray for the success of the next administration.

The White House released excerpts of the video address ahead of its planned release Tuesday afternoon, a day ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. In the video, Trump will say, “This week, we inaugurate a new administration and pray for its success in keeping America safe and prosperous.”

Trump will also address the storming of the Capitol building by his supporters after he directed them to “fight” the election results showing he lost.

He will say that “all Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol” and that “political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans” and “can never be tolerated.”

Trump will also trumpet what he sees as his top achievements in office, including efforts to normalize relations in the Middle East.

He’ll say: “We did what we came here to do — and so much more.”

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3:15 p.m.

Pentagon officials say 12 Army National Guard members have been removed from securing President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration after vetting by the FBI, including two who posted and texted extremist views about Wednesday’s event.

There was no specific threat to Biden.

Two U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties to right-wing militia groups or posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe group the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard, confirmed Tuesday that the Guard members had been removed and sent home but said only two were for inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. The other 10 were for other potential issues that may involve previous criminal activity, but not directly related to the inaugural event.

The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.”

It’s unclear whether they will face discipline when they return home.

— By AP writers Lolita Baldor and James LaPorta

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2:05 p.m.

In an emotional farewell, President-elect Joe Biden promised that even as he departs for Washington, D.C., to be sworn in, “I’ll always be a proud son of the state of Delaware.”

Speaking Tuesday at an event at the National Guard headquarters in Delaware named for his late son, Beau, Biden’s voice became thick with emotion as he told the crowd that “when I die, I’ve got Delaware written on my heart.” He said that “it’s deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here — the place that defines the very best of who we are as Americans.”

Biden gave farewell remarks to about 100 people, including numerous Delaware elected officials and members of Biden’s family.

He’s leaving Wilmington via plane Tuesday afternoon and will appear at a memorial for COVID-19 victims at the Lincoln Memorial in the evening. Biden will spend the night at Blair House, the president’s official guesthouse, before moving into the White House after he is sworn in Wednesday.

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1:55 p.m.

Ten additional U.S. Army National Guard members are being removed from the security mission for the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official and a U.S. Army official briefed on the matter. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity citing Pentagon regulations.

Early Tuesday morning, the FBI sent a list of names to the National Guard Bureau who were identified as having ties to fringe right-wing groups or had posted extremist views. No active plots against Biden were found. The information was passed from the National Guard Bureau to the D.C. National Guard.

Earlier, the AP reported that two other National Guard members had also been pulled from the security mission in Washington ahead of Wednesday’s presidential inauguration, bringing the total number so far to 12.

— AP writer James LaPorta

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12:20 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is explicitly pointing his finger at President Donald Trump for helping to spur the attack on the Capitol by the outgoing president’s supporters.

The Kentucky Republican said Tuesday on the Senate floor, “The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

McConnell spoke six days after the Democratic-led House impeached Trump on charges of inciting the Jan. 6 attack. A Senate trial on whether to convict Trump and perhaps bar him from ever again holding federal office is expected to begin in coming days.

After years of supporting Trump with little criticism of him, the influential McConnell has said he’s not decided whether he would vote to convict him. His decision may prove critical because in a Senate that will be divided 50-50 between the two parties, it would take 17 Republicans to join all Democrats for the two-thirds margin needed for conviction.

Joe Biden replaces Trump as president at noon on Wednesday.

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10:45 a.m.

Three new Democratic senators are set to be sworn into office after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday.

The arrival of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California will give Democrats a working majority in the Senate — split 50-50, with the new vice president, Kamala Harris, as the tie-breaking vote.

A person granted anonymity to discuss the planning tells The Associated Press that Harris is set to deliver the oath of office to the three Democrats after she is sworn in during the inauguration as vice president.

Warnock and Ossoff defeated Republican senators earlier this month. The Georgia secretary of state is expected to certify those results Tuesday.

Padilla has been tapped by California’s governor to fill Harris’ remaining term in the Senate.

— By Lisa Mascaro.

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10:35 a.m.

Two U.S. Army National Guard members are being removed from the security mission to secure Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration. A U.S. Army official and a senior U.S. intelligence official say the two National Guard members have been found to have ties to fringe right group militias.

No plot against Biden was found.

The Army official and the intelligence official spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity due to Defense Department media regulations. They did not say what fringe group the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in.

Contacted by the AP on Tuesday, the National Guard Bureau referred questions to the U.S. Secret Service and said, “Due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration.”

The Secret Service told the AP on Monday it would not comment on if any National Guard members had been pulled from securing the inauguration for operational security reasons.

— By James LaPorta, reporting from Delray Beach, Florida.

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9:45 a.m.

Joe Biden will strike a unity theme before his inauguration as president on Wednesday by worshipping with Congress’ top four Republican and Democratic leaders.

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The Democratic president-elect has talked throughout the campaign and the post-election period about his goal of uniting a sharply divided country.

Biden’s incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain, on Tuesday retweeted a post that said Biden had quietly extended invitations to Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and to Republicans Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy to accompany him to a Mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral.

Spokespeople for Pelosi, Schumer, McConnell and McCarthy confirm they are accompanying Biden.

Sen. Chris Coons tells CNN the church service is “an important part of respecting tradition.”

Coons is a Democrat from Biden’s home state of Delaware. He says the service is a “reminder of who Joe is and who we are as a nation that’s hopeful and optimistic.”