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URGENT – House passes Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package

(CNN) — The House of Representatives voted early Saturday morning to approve President Joe Biden’s $1. 9 trillion pandemic aid package, a major step toward enacting the first legislative priority of the new administration as the devastating fallout from the spread of Covid-19 has left Americans in dire need of further relief. The final vote tally was 219-212. Two Democrats broke ranks and voted against the bill: Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Jared Golden of Maine. The bill did not pass with bipartisan support as no Republicans voted for it. Now that the bill has passed the House it will next go to the Senate. Making the effort more complicated, the Senate is expected to strip out a provision in the legislation increasing the federal minimum wage after the Senate parliamentarian ruled against including it under the procedure known as reconciliation, which Senate Democrats are using to pass the bill with a simple majority vote. The bill would then have to go back to the House for a separate vote before it could go to Biden to be signed into law.

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URGENT – Senate votes to acquit Trump

(CNN) — The Senate votes 57-43 to acquit former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol. Seven Republican senators joined all 50 Democrats in voting to convict the president. Sixty-seven votes were needed to convict.

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URGENT – Joe Biden takes oath of office

(CNN) — Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken the oath of office to become the 46th President of the United States.

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URGENT – Kamala Harris takes oath of office

(CNN) — Kamala D. Harris has taken the oath of office to become vice president of the United States, becoming the first woman and the first woman of color to hold the office.

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URGENT – Trump tells people he’s decided to pardon Steve Bannon as one of his final acts in office

(CNN) — President Donald Trump has decided to pardon his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, in a last-minute decision made only hours before he is scheduled to depart the White House for a final time. Officials cautioned CNN that Trump’s decision was not final until he signed the paperwork. Trump told people that after much deliberation, he had decided to pardon Bannon as one of his final acts in office. Bannon faces a federal case that began in August when New York federal prosecutors charged him and three others with defrauding donors of more than a million dollars as part of a fundraising campaign purportedly aimed at supporting Trump’s border wall. Bannon’s pardon would follow a frantic scramble during the President’s final hours in office as attorneys and top aides debated his inclusion on Trump’s outgoing clemency list. Despite their falling out in recent years, Trump was eager to pardon his former aide after recently reconnecting with him as he helped fan Trump’s conspiracy theories about the election.

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URGENT – House impeaches President Donald Trump for the second time

(CNN) — The House voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time in a swift and bipartisan condemnation of the President’s role inciting last week’s riot at the US Capitol. The House voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump exactly one week after rioters forced lawmakers to flee from the very chamber in which they cast ballots in the fourth presidential impeachment in US history — and the first time a President has been impeached twice. Ten Republicans, including the House’s No. 3 Republican, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, joined with Democrats to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection. “

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URGENT – Biden to nominate Merrick Garland as attorney general

(CNN) — President-elect Joe Biden has decided to nominate Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general, people familiar with the matter tell CNN, a long-awaited decision that was moved toward completion Wednesday as it became apparent that Democrats were on the brink of winning control of the Senate. The announcement of the attorney general, along with other senior leaders of the Justice Department, is expected to be made as soon as Thursday as Biden moves closer to filling the remaining seats in his Cabinet before assuming power on January 20.

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URGENT – Trump was briefed that China sought to pay non-state actors to attack US forces in Afghanistan

(CNN) — President Donald Trump received information earlier this month that China sought to pay non-state actors to attack American forces in Afghanistan, a senior administration official said. The intelligence, which will be declassified by the Trump administration, was provided to the President in his daily brief on December 17, the official said. His national security adviser Robert O’Brien discussed the information with the President that same day, the official said. News of the briefing and the administration’s intention to declassify the information was first reported on Wednesday by Axios.

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URGENT – Barr says no need for special counsels to investigate election or Hunter Biden

(CNN) — Attorney General William Barr said Monday that he doesn’t plan to appoint a special counsel to probe the 2020 election or Hunter Biden. “If I thought a special counsel at this stage was a right tool and was appropriate, I would name one, but I haven’t and I’m not going to,” Barr said at a news conference in response to a question on the election.

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URGENT – Attorney General William Barr resigns

(CNN) — Attorney General William Barr resigned on Monday, ending a tenure in which the President Donald Trump loyalist carried the administration’s “law and order” message but ultimately dealt the most credible blow to Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was littered with fraud. “Just had a very nice meeting with Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House. Our relationship has been a very good one, he has done an outstanding job! As per letter, Bill will be leaving just before Christmas to spend the holidays with his family,” Trump tweeted, announcing the news. “Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen, an outstanding person, will become Acting Attorney General. Highly respected Richard Donoghue will be taking over the duties of Deputy Attorney General. Thank you to all!”