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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from chaotic downtown DC

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.

 

The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Biden taps Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandSchumer and McConnell trade places, but icy relationship holds Biden's new challenge: Holding Trump accountable Graham says he'll back Biden's CIA pick MORE for AG | Congress meets to formalize Biden win | Last-ditch efforts to overturn the results | Trump holds noon rally outside the White House | Protesters gather to back Trump | Authorities on high alert | Protest sights and sounds | Tensions rise outside White House | Romney heckled at the airport | Warnock wins, Ossoff leads | Ossoff declares victory before race is called | Standby lines for extra vaccine doses

 

HAPPENING ON CAPITOL HILL

Spotted: Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceA Day in Photos: The Biden Inauguration Inauguration Sanders takes over internet Harris move into vice president's residence delayed MORE sporting a fake mustache, trench coat, sunglasses and empty suitcase at the train platform ... Howdy, rock! Top of the morning to you, hard place!:

 

 

Today is the day that Congress will formalize President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE’s win over President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE as Trump supporters make a last-ditch attempt to overturn the election results.  

Livestream of the joint session in Congresshttps://bit.ly/2JPTmNV

DETAILS:

What time does it start?: 1 p.m. EST. 

What time will it end?: Depending on how many challenges are made, it could extend into Thursday.  

What to know about timing and logistics for today: Via NBC’s Dareh Gregorianhttps://nbcnews.to/3pNPR9U

GETTING TRACTION — PENCE REPORTEDLY TOLD TRUMP HE DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER TO BLOCK BIDEN’S WIN:

Via The New York Times’s Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats formally introduce impeachment article The Hill's Morning Report - Trump finally concedes; 25th Amendment pressure grows The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from chaotic downtown DC MORE and Annie KarniVice President Pence told President Trump yesterday that he doesn’t believe he has the power to overturn President-elect Biden’s electoral win. https://nyti.ms/2KXPhI7

The White House disputed this report in a statement last night: Here’s the full statement: https://bit.ly/3hUMY4r

By the way, that is absolutely correct: “Mr. Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress.” https://nyti.ms/2KXPhI7

HOW THE TRUMP ERA COMES TO A SCORCHING END:

Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wonghttps://bit.ly/35fPoWe

It’s a chaotic Wednesday in the nation’s capital. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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BREAKING

President-elect Biden taps Merrick Garland for attorney general:

Via Politico’s Tyler Pager, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, “Joe Biden has selected Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.” https://politi.co/2LaDk1J

For context: “Biden selected Garland over former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and former deputy attorney general Sally YatesSally Caroline YatesThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from chaotic downtown DC Biden to name Merrick Garland for attorney general Georgia keeps Senate agenda in limbo MORE, choosing to elevate the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. to run the Justice Department.” 

How you know Merrick Garland: “In 2016, President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFormer Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Amanda Gorman captures national interest after inauguration performance Riding to the rescue on climate, the Biden administration needs powerful partners MORE nominated Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, but his nomination languished in the GOP-controlled Senate at the end of the former president’s term.” 

Everything we know about the nominationhttps://politi.co/2LaDk1J

WHAT TRUMP IS UP TO TODAY

We've all seen fiery Trump before. This is on a different level:

President Trump just addressed supporters outside the White House in charged, angry remarks, falsely alleging that the presidential election was stolen from him. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3ofgqEF

HIGHLIGHTS FROM TRUMP’S RALLY:

The $$ line — Well, that answers that: "We will never give up,” Trump told the crowd. “We will never concede." 

Trump swore on live television: During Trump's remarks, he mentioned "explosion of b***s***." Fox News broadcasted it.  

Trump on the election results — well, this one is true: "This was not a close election." https://bit.ly/3hMf3L8 

Trump on the congressional certification, starting soon: “I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so. Because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election.” Trump also alleged: " ‘one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country’ told him Pence has ‘the absolute right to’ throw out the election results.” https://bit.ly/38jWMlx

^ Trump continued: “None of this is true other than that someone told him this. ‘All that Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to recertify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people.’ He said he just spoke to Pence.” (Quote from The New York Times’s Maggie Habermanhttps://bit.ly/2LvAvZ2

Photos of Trump walking on stagehttps://bit.ly/3hLvVSq 

It took a minute for Trump’s mic to start workinghttps://bit.ly/2Xd7Vhs 

Spotted at the rally: “the naked cowboy from Times Square.” Via The New York Times’s Zolan Kanno-Youngs. https://bit.ly/3okXaWv

WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN TWEETING TODAY:

* At 8:17 a.m. EST: “States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval.  All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!” https://bit.ly/2XfMdtg

^ CNN’s Kaitlan Collins added some context — and mentioned it did not come from a Pence aide: “Yesterday a senior White House official (who is very Trump-y) said what he’s doing to Pence, who has remained loyal to him through Access Hollywood and all, is ‘shameful.’” https://bit.ly/3olq0pE

At 8:22 a.m. EST: “THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, OUR COUNTRY, NEEDS THE PRESIDENCY MORE THAN EVER BEFORE - THE POWER OF THE VETO. STAY STRONG!” https://bit.ly/3njRnyU 

* At 9 a.m. EST: “They just happened to find 50,000 ballots late last night. The USA is embarrassed by fools. Our Election Process is worse than that of third world countries!” https://bit.ly/3pVQZIQ

* At 9:15 a.m. EST: “The States want to redo their votes. They found out they voted on a FRAUD. Legislatures never approved. Let them do it. BE STRONG!” https://bit.ly/3oxPVut

At 9:16 a.m. EST: “Even Mexico uses Voter I.D.” https://bit.ly/2JONZym 

* At 10:44 a.m. EST: “These scoundrels are only toying with the @sendavidperdue (a great guy) vote. Just didn’t want to announce quite yet. They’ve got as many ballots as are necessary. Rigged Election!” https://bit.ly/3brogYr

* means Twitter has flagged this tweet with a warning, “this claim about election fraud is disputed.” See for yourself: http://bit.ly/2kTEoGF

IN WASHINGTON, DC

It is quite the scene downtown:

Livestream of the Trump supporters’ rally in front of the White House.https://bit.ly/3ofgqEF

Livestream of the protestshttps://bit.ly/35hKlod

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS:

Ugh, this is how these situations escalate: Warning, there is a lot of profanity in this video of a protester arguing with a counterprotester. Watch — it is very tense to say the leasthttp://bit.ly/2N2rFAd

It was pretty quiet outside the Capitol this morninghttps://bit.ly/2MEPOPz

Check out this outfit at the protesthttps://bit.ly/2XcYCOJ 

It was pretty chaotic outside the White House last night

 

 

Watchhttps://bit.ly/38kT374 

What an outfit!: One Trump supporter dressed up as an American flag-themed bald eagle. Photohttps://bit.ly/3ndPFza

Interesting music choice: Politico’s Kyle Cheney tweeted, “Not a joke: The loudspeakers at the ‘Overturn the Election’ rally are playing the Titanic theme song.” He then added: “OK, it's moved onto ‘I Want it That Way’ by the Backstreet Boys, so things are back to normal.” Cheney posted a video to prove ithttps://bit.ly/3og61Zk

What White House officials could actually hear from the West Winghttps://bit.ly/3okPxzc

 

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2LlhYyl 

Alternate programming: “a group of interfaith religious leaders hosting a service of sorts outside a Lutheran church in downtown DC, near a Black Lives Matter sign that replaced one that was stolen and destroyed by Proud Boys last month.” Photo from Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkinshttps://bit.ly/2Xfyhzp  

The Daily Beast’s Will Sommer is a good reporter to follow today. He is covering the protests:  

 

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/38lqjuM 

This float must have taken a long time to make: https://bit.ly/3okQhnY

‘AUTHORITIES ARE ON HIGH ALERT AS PRO-TRUMP SUPPORTERS FLOOD DC TO PROTEST ELECTION’:

Via CNN’s Peter Nickeashttps://cnn.it/3hMh9dW

IN GEORGIA

*whispers creepily* It’s getting bluer:

Democrats are within reach of controlling the Senate after news outlets projected Raphael Warnock as the winner in the Georgia Senate runoff race against incumbent Sen. Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerLimbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration Suburbs pose challenge for GOP in post-Trump era Democrats swear in three senators to gain majority MORE (R-Ga.) https://bit.ly/2XfQOvw 

Meaning: With Raphael Warnock’s win, Democrats now have 49 Senate seats and Republicans have 50. If Jon Ossoff wins his race, Democrats will have 50 seats. Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris takes up temporary residence at Blair House Amanda Gorman captures national interest after inauguration performance Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair MORE will break the tie, meaning Democrats will control the upper chamber.

TIDBIT:

“[House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (D-Md.)] plays ‘Georgia on my mind’ to Democratic caucus during call this am, per sources” (Via CNN’s Manu Rajuhttps://bit.ly/3s2JJfR

What about the Ossoff-Perdue race?:

Democrat Jon Ossoff declared victory this morning, even as the race has not yet been called for him. https://bit.ly/2XihsDT 

Where the results stand: Ossoff is leading by a little more than 16,000 votes. 

In a video message from Ossoff this morning: "Georgia, thank you so much for the confidence that you have placed in me. I am honored, honored by your support, by your confidence, by your trust, and I will look forward to serving in the United States Senate with integrity, with humility, with honor, and getting things done for the people of Georgia.” Watch Ossoff’s full remarkshttps://bit.ly/2XiGXoC

WILL THERE BE RECOUNTS? — PROBABLY IN ONE OF THE RACES:

Via Vox’s Li Zhou, “According to Georgia law, if two candidates are within a 0.5 percentage point margin or less, either one is able to request a recount. Election officials are also able to ask for a recount if they suspect a potential error or discrepancy in the results, and candidates can petition the secretary of state if they are concerned about a similar issue.” https://bit.ly/2XjfPFW 

For context: Warnock is leading by more than 1 percentage point, but Ossoff is leading by just a 0.4 percentage point.

Full explanation on recount rules in Georgiahttps://bit.ly/2XjfPFW

YES, THIS.:

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker tweeted, “Watching returns from Georgia, it’s hard not to think about the hundreds of election workers who again tonight are carefully doing democracy’s business under unprecedented scrutiny, amid a raging pandemic, and with a president relentlessly and baselessly calling them thieves.” https://bit.ly/3ojdCGw

LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 21,069,442 

U.S. death toll: 357,620 

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief GOP senator calls Biden's COVID-19 relief plan a 'non-starter' MORE was accosted by a Trump supporter at the airport:

 

 

Watchhttps://bit.ly/3nkWvD4 

^ It didn’t end there:  Once Romney boarded the plane — more Trump supporters heckled him. Watch — this must have been a ‘fun’ flight for everyonehttps://bit.ly/38jH1uN

Reaction from former White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah, who left her post last month: “Don’t know who needs to hear this but harassing @MittRomney & calling him a traitor is beneath us as a country. Disagree fervently - do it respectfully. Btw - his wife has MS, put on your damn mask.” https://bit.ly/2XcILzw

ON TAP:

The House and Senate are in. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are in Wilmington, Del. 

Today: President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief. They will also receive a briefing from their economics team.

Today, per the White House schedule sent to reporters: “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings.”

WHAT TO WATCH:

1 p.m. ESTB: Joint session of Congress to formalize the presidential election results. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/2JPTmNV 

Today: President-elect Biden will deliver remarks from Wilmington, Del.

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Shortbread Day.

Why people are standing in long lines at grocery stores hoping to get a vaccine:

A law student grocery shopping on Friday night was asked by a pharmacist, who had extra doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, if he wanted them. Well, via WJLA-TV, “The no-waste vaccine secret is spreading fast. There was a long standby line around 3 p.m. at the Safeway, near the Waterfront Metro station in Southwest.” https://bit.ly/2XcNIIK

And to give you a brief distraction from all the chaos today, here’s a dog dancing to Evanescence’s “Wake Me Up Inside”: https://bit.ly/393TcLr