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Live Reporting

Edited by Jude Sheerin

All times stated are UK

  1. That's it for now

    Thank you for joining our live coverage of President Joe Biden's first full day in office. Here's a reminder of the day's key developments:

    • Biden focused on his administration's Covid response and signed another 10 executive orders, including speeding up vaccinations and expanding testing
    • He warned the US death toll in the pandemic is likely to pass half a million in February
    • Infectious diseases specialist Dr Anthony Fauci says the UK mutation of the coronavirus has now been found in around 20 states
    • Republicans are set to propose a delay to February in impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump
    • Asked why Biden and family members wore no masks at an inauguration day event, the White House press secretary says the president was "celebrating"

    Our writers today were Joshua Nevett, Gary Kitchener, Max Matza, Victoria Bisset and Yaroslav Lukov. The page was edited by Sarah Fowler, Helier Cheung and Marianna Brady.

  2. Biden strives to include LGBT voices in new administration

    Ben Hunte

    BBC LGBT Correspondent

    Vice-president Harris speaks at San Francisco's 2019 Gay Pride festival
    Image caption: Vice-president Harris speaks at San Francisco's 2019 Gay Pride festival

    The Biden administration has brought LGBT people into a conversation that they have been intentionally excluded from for the past four years.

    This is only day two, but there have already been some historic moments. On day one, Biden signed executive orders aiming to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Shortly after Trump's inauguration in 2017, all mentions of LGBT people were removed from the White House website.

    This time around, the website has become more inclusive than ever before, by asking visitors for their pronouns and offering gender-neutral choices. Biden has also hired a record number of LGBT people into his Democratic administration.

    For LGBT Americans, and their allies, it will be reassuring that Biden is delivering on his election promises so quickly. Leaders of international LGBT organisations have told me they are "breathing a sigh of relief", and they expect these changes will be felt beyond the US.

    Those at Stonewall, Europe's leading LGBT charity, said they hope that this era will "set a new tone on the world stage that LGBT rights are not something to be debated, but rather protected and progressed.

    "However, with the Democrats’ wafer-thin Senate majority, some LGBT people are cautious about celebrating the future "too soon”.

    Many tell me they are "worried" that the Biden administration will not be able to secure enough votes to push through all of their intended LGBT policy changes.

    But if they can, the future looks even brighter for LGBT Americans.

  3. Republicans to seek Trump impeachment delay

    Donald Trump waves as he arrives at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: 20 January 2021

    According to Republican sources, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to present a proposal to the new Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to delay the start of Trump's impeachment trial until February.

    This would give impeachment managers and Trump's defence at least one week to prepare, goes the reasoning.

    McConnell floated the proposal to Republican senators on a conference call on Thursday afternoon local time.

    It's unclear when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will send the article of impeachment to the Senate.

    Earlier this month, Trump became the first president in US history to be impeached twice, after being charged with "incitement of insurrection" over the deadly storming of Congress.

  4. The disproportionate pandemic toll

    Angelica Casas

    Video journalist, BBC News

    Biden’s challenge now is to prove that his messaging and policies on coronavirus will be effective.

    The president reminded the public while outlining his pandemic strategy today that Latino, Native American and black communities are four times more likely to be hospitalised and three times more likely to die than white Americans.

    When I met Monica Muñoz earlier this summer, it was days after her father and grandfather were both laid to rest.

    Muñoz’s father got the virus working at a meat-packing plant and unknowingly brought it home to his family. He was saving money to build a home in Mexico, where he and his wife dreamed of retiring.

    Video content

    Video caption: 'We’re still waiting at home for them to come back'
  5. Psaki sidesteps filibuster question

    The press secretary is asked about ending the filibuster, a 60-vote threshold for most legislation in the US Senate.

    Psaki: “The president has been clear he wants to work with members of both parties and find bipartisan paths forward.”

    Reporter: “I don’t think you specifically answered that unless I’m not understanding you right."

    Psaki: "I don’t think I have more to add to my answer."

    Progressive Democrats - and previously Trump - have called for the filibuster to be scrapped, frustrated at obstruction in the upper chamber.

    But Senate traditionalists from both parties have warned that doing away with the rule would usher in a no-holds-barred approach that would make US politics even more toxic and divisive.

  6. Biden wore no mask as 'he was celebrating'

    President Joe Biden and his family pictured at the Lincoln Memorial

    Psaki says there will be no political rallies on the South Lawn of the White House, in a reference to alleged super-spreader events hosted by Trump.

    A Fox reporter asks why Biden and his family were not masked during celebrations at the Lincoln Memorial on the evening of inauguration day.

    The journalist notes that Biden had just signed an executive order for masks to be worn on all federal property.

    The press secretary answers: "I think, Steve, he was celebrating an evening, a historic day in our country and certainly he signed the mask mandate because it's a way to send a message to the American public about the importance of wearing masks."

    The Fox reporter asks was that a good example to set.

    "I think we have bigger issues to worry about at this moment in time," Psaki replies.

  7. Biden's record use of executive power

    On his second day in office on Thursday, Biden signed 10 executive orders - in addition to 15 executive orders and two memos he inked on day one.

    That means Biden has already produced more executive orders in two days than each of the previous four US presidents in two weeks.

    The practice of presidents from both parties bypassing Congress through the use of such proclamations has provoked much hand-wringing about unchecked executive power from US media in recent years.

    Infograph of executive orders by US presidents
  8. 'I just wish my parents were here'

    Angelica Casas

    BBC News, Texas

    It's been one year since the first coronavirus case was detected on US soil, and I’ve spent that time talking to families affected by the virus and its economic toll.

    While some blame the crisis on the Trump administration’s pandemic response, others focus their attention on Biden and what he’ll do to end it.

    Video content

    Video caption: Covid: 'I just wish my parents were still here'
  9. What is Biden doing for unity?

    Press Secretary Jen Psaki

    Press Secretary Jen Psaki is asked what Biden is actually doing to achieve his stated goal of unity in terms of reaching across the political aisle.

    The reporter notes that unlike Barack Obama's cabinet, no Republican is set to join Biden's team, and that many of the orders signed by the new president are opposed by Republicans, and why is there nothing on border security in his proposal to grant a path to US citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants?

    Psaki says issues like getting children back to schools and vaccine distribution affect all Americans, regardless of party, and Biden just had the first female director of national intelligence confirmed overwhemingly by a bipartisan Senate vote.

    “I think if you talk to Republicans on the hill," she adds, "they will say they’re not looking for something symbolic, they’re looking for engagement, they’re looking to have a conversation, they’re looking to have a dialogue and that’s exactly what he’s going to do.”

    Asked in a separate question about Biden's role in reaching out to Republicans, the press secretary says: "He was involved, even before yesterday, having conversations with members of both parties, picking up the phone and having those conversations."

  10. Fauci on differences between Trump and Biden

    Dr Fauci is asked by a reporter about the difference between serving under Biden and Trump.

    "Obviously I don't want to be going back over history, but it was very clear that there were things that were said... that really was not comfortable because they were not based on scientific fact," he responds.

    He cites the example of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine that was touted by Trump.

    "I can tell you, I take no pleasure at all in being in a situation of contradicting the president... you didn't feel that you could actually say something and there wouldn't be any repercussions."

    He contrasts this to his experience with Biden's administration: "The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know and what the evidence, what the science is... it is something of a liberating feeling."

    Dr Fauci also says: "One of the new things in this administration is if you don't know the answer, don't guess. Just say you don't know the answer."

    This comment leads online critics to note how Dr Fauci said in March last year that "there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask". He now advocates mask wearing.

  11. 'The mutants in the UK'

    Anthony Fauci speaks at a White House press briefing

    The White House press briefing begins with Press Secretary Jen Psaki inviting infectious diseases specialist Dr Anthony Fauci to speak about the state of the coronoavirus in the country.

    Speaking about variants, Dr Fauci says "the mutants in the UK" are now found in about 20 US states, but there is no sign of the South Africa strain.

    The UK variant, he says, “appears to have a greater degree of transmissibility, about twice as much” as the original Covid-19.

    "They say, correctly, on a one-to-one basis it doesn’t seem to make the virus more virulent or have a greater chance of making you seriously ill, or killing you.

    "However, we shouldn’t be lulled into complacency about that because if you have a virus that is more transmissible you’re going to get more cases. When you get more cases, you get more hospitalisations. And when you get more hospitalisations you’re going to get more deaths."

    He says it appears the vaccines will still be effective with the variants.

    The new Biden administration has rejected a move on Monday by former President Trump to lift restrictions on travel into the US from Europe, the UK and Brazil.

  12. Biden invited Taiwan's envoy to his inauguration - what does it mean?

    Zhaoyin Feng

    BBC Chinese, Washington DC

    Biden’s inauguration was marked by many historic “firsts”, and one of them could be a sign of potential future clashes between Beijing and Washington.

    Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan’s top envoy to the US, was formally invited to the inauguration - the first time this has happened in more than four decades.

    A video shared on her social media shows her standing in front of the US Capitol ahead of the inauguration ceremony. “Democracy is our common language and freedom is our common objective,” Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US said.

    China views the self-ruled island as part of its territory that it will eventually retake, by force if necessary. And the status of Taiwan has long been a thorny issue in US-China relations, as the US is by far Taiwan’s most important friend.

    Hsiao’s presence at the inauguration signals the US may continue to demonstrate strong support for Taiwan, despite the fact that many Taiwanese people are concerned that Biden will take a less confrontational stance towards Beijing compared with Trump.

    By contrast, it’s unclear whether China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, attended Biden’s inauguration.

    Earlier today, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Cui had been invited, but did not confirm whether he was present in the ceremony. Hua reiterated China’s position of opposing official interactions between Taiwan and the US.

    It’s a long-running unspoken rule that Beijing and Taipei’s top diplomats in Washington do not attend the same event, because sharing a stage could be seen as Beijing acknowledging Taiwan as an independent sovereign country.

    View more on twitter
  13. How will Biden approach China?

    Vincent Ni

    BBC World Service

    In the last fortnight, while the world was fixated on the last dramatic days of the ex-President Donald Trump, Joe Biden was gathering pace in forming his key foreign policy team.

    In a move that signals to Asian allies that the US is back in the region, Joe Biden appointed a former Obama administration official, Kurt Campbell, as the Indo-Pacific Co-ordinator.

    He has been dubbed Biden's "Asia Tzar" and is an appointment particularly worth watching.

    Mr Campbell, a veteran US diplomat and a former Pentagon official, has had a long track record of dealing with Asia. He was widely associated with Obama-era "pivot to Asia" policy - a move that was once understood by Beijing as a containment policy. Washington later replaced "pivot" with "rebalance".

    The Asia Group Chairman and CEO Kurt M. Campbell attends the China Development Forum in Beijing, China on 23 March 2019.
    Image caption: Biden's 'Asia Tzar' Kurt Campbell

    Last year, shortly after the Covid pandemic started, he warned in an article in Foreign Affairs magazine that China was "manoeuvring for international leadership" through the Covid crisis as the US faltered.

    Before his appointment, Mr Campbell on various occasions urged the US to work with allies to compete with China, but not at all costs.

    "Competition without catastrophe" was the term he used in in another article with Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The phrase itself might suggest a more nuanced China policy under Biden.

  14. Biden defends 100m vaccines in 100 days

    After signing a series of executive orders, Biden is asked by a reporter whether his goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days is "too low". To be clear, that would be enough vaccine for 50 million people, out of a total US population of about 330 million.

    "When I announced it you all said that it's not possible. Come on. Give me a break, man," he responds.

    "It's a good start - 100 million."

    The New York Times points out that at the current rate of production, about twice that amount of vaccine should be available in that time period.

    The event then ends, without Biden taking any further questions from the press.

  15. Biden signs executive orders

    Joe Biden signs an executive order as part of his administration's Covid response

    Following his speech, Biden signed a range of new executive orders on Covid covering:

    • Securing the supply chain
    • Keeping workers safe
    • Ensuring an equitable response
    • Promoting safe travel
    • Setting up the pandemic testing board
    • Covid data that has to be maintained and recorded
    • Making sure national guard support is available
    • Expanding access to Covid-19 care and treatment
    • Global response

    Find out more about the orders here.

  16. Biden concludes Covid speech

    "I look forward to working with members of Congress," says Biden. "We're in a national emergency. It's time we treated it like one."

    To remind you, many of the executive orders he will now sign require nearly $1.9tr (£1.4tr) in yet-to-be-approved congressional funding.

    "Americans have given so much already, but I believe they are ready to set big goals," he adds.

    "History's going to measure whether we're up for the task. I believe we are."

  17. Biden urges Americans to 'mask up'

    Biden reiterated his appeal to Americans to "mask up for the next 99 days".

    "It's become a partisan issue, unfortunately, but it's a patriotic act."

    He also said wearing a face mask would be a requirement for any inter-state travel.

    All international air passengers would have to quarantine on arrival in the US, the president added.

  18. Biden slams 'dismal vaccine rollout'

    "For the past year we could not rely on the federal government to act with the urgency and focus and co-ordination that we needed," says Biden, criticising the Trump administration's handling of the Covid pandemic.

    "And we have seen the tragic cost of that failure," he continues, noting that the US has seen 3,000 to 4,000 deaths per day in recent weeks.

    He called the Trump administration's vaccine rollout "a dismal failure so far" and adds that 20% of global Covid-19 deaths have been in the US, despite the US only having 4% of the Earth's population.

    Biden adds that the virus has "disproportionately" affected patients who are black, Latino and Native American.

    He says that these minority groups are four times more likely to require hospital treatment, and three times more likely to die from the coronavirus.

    A doctor in Chicago receives his vaccine
    Image caption: A doctor in Chicago receives his vaccine
  19. US death toll could exceed 500,000 in February

    Biden warned that the country's Covid-related death toll "will likely" exceed 500,000 by next month.

    "It’s going to take months for us to turn things around. Let me be clear, we will get through this, we will get through this pandemic. Help is on the way," the president said.

    "Today, I am unveiling a national strategy on Covid-19 and executive actions to beat this pandemic. Our national strategy is comprehensive, based on science, not politics."

  20. Bidens prayed to America's Covid victims

    Biden starts by saying that he and his wife Jill had prayed together to remember America's 400,000 Covid victims.

    "To heal we must remember," the president says.