The Capitol building was placed on lockdown, with senators and members of the House locked inside their chambers, as Congress began debating President-elect Joe Bidens victory. President Trump addressed supporters near the White House before protesters marched to Capitol Hill.
The Capitol building was placed on lockdown, with senators and members of the House locked inside their chambers, as Congress began debating President-elect Joe Bidens victory. President Trump addressed supporters near the White House before protesters marched to Capitol Hill. Heres what you need to know:
Pence and lawmakers evacuated as protesters storm the Capitol, halting Congresss counting of electoral votes.
Army activates D.C. National Guard to deploy troops to the Capitol.
Trump, speaking to protesters, declares we will never concede.
An explosive device is found at the R.N.C., and the D.N.C. is evacuated.
Pence rejects Trumps pressure to block certification saying he loves the Constitution.
Democrats are ebullient as they appear headed for a Senate takeover.
Biden plans to nominate Merrick Garland for attorney general.
A Democratic takeover of the Senate would redefine Bidens presidency in dramatic ways.
Get email alerts with live updates about the U.S. presidential transition. Pence and lawmakers evacuated as protesters storm the Capitol, halting Congresss counting of electoral votes.
Protesters Swarm Capitol
Supporters of President Trump swarmed and entered the Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday, prompting a lockdown and portions of the grounds to be evacuated.
[crowd noise] [shot fired] Take that House, take it now! Take it now! [yelling] to order. He says we cant go in because of Covid
0:44Protesters Swarm Capitol Supporters of President Trump swarmed and entered the Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday, prompting a lockdown and portions of the grounds to be evacuated.CreditCredit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Protesters loyal to President Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, halting Congresss counting of the electoral votes to confirm President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.s victory as the police evacuated lawmakers from the building.
Around 2:15 p.m., as the House and Senate debated a move by a faction of Republicans to overturn the election results, the proceedings ground to a halt as security rushed Vice President Mike Pence out of the Senate chamber and the Capitol building was placed on lockdown, with senators and members of the House locked inside their respective chambers. Shortly afterward, the police escorted senators and members of House from the building to others nearby, as the protesters swarmed the hallways just steps from where lawmakers were meeting, carrying pro-Trump paraphernalia.
The extraordinary day in Washington laid bare deep divisions both between the two parties and within Republican ranks, when the ceremonial counting of electoral votes that unfolds every four years in Congress was transformed into an explosive spectacle, with Mr. Trump stoking the unrest.
This is what youve gotten, guys, Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, yelled as the mayhem unfolded in the Senate chamber, apparently addressing his colleagues who were leading the charge to press Mr. Trumps false claims of a stolen election.
After exhorting his supporters to go to the Capitol to register their discontent on Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump tried later in the day to tamp down on the violence.
Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement, he tweeted. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!
In a scene of chaos and confusion seldom witnessed in the history of the capital, hundreds of protesters barreling past fence barricades outside the Capitol and clashing with officers with shouting demonstrators mobbing the second floor lobby just outside the Senate chamber as law enforcement officials placed themselves in front of the chamber doors.
Representative Nancy Mace, a freshman Republican from South Carolina, described seeing protesters assaulting Capitol Police. In a Twitter post, Ms. Mace shared a video of the chaos and wrote, This is wrong. This is not who we are. Im heartbroken for our nation today.
Other Republican lawmakers, locked inside the Capitol, used their Twitter feeds to urge the protesters to be peaceful.
This is a coup attempt, Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, said.
The police fired what appeared to be flash-bang grenades. Rather than disperse, the protesters cheered and shouted, push forward, push forward. One protester shouted, thats our house, meaning the Capitol. Other protesters repeatedly shouted, You swore an oath.
As officers and protesters clashed outside, lawmakers had debating an objection to the certification of Arizona electors, ensconced in their respective chambers. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, warned of a death spiral for democracy, while Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, listed a litany of accusations of election fraud with little evidence.
I dont recognize our country today, and the members of Congress who have supported this anarchy do not deserve to represent their fellow Americans, said Representative Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia.
Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House urged the protesters to be peaceful.
Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington put a curfew in place from 6 p.m. Eastern Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday.
Nicholas Fandos, Emily Cochrane, Eileen Sullivan, Glenn Thrush and Zolan Kanno-Youngs
Army activates D.C. National Guard to deploy troops to the Capitol. Troops are being sent to the D.C. Armory and will be deployed to the Capitol and to other points around Washington, an Army official said. Troops are being sent to the D.C. Armory and will be deployed to the Capitol and to other points around Washington, an Army official said.Credit...Kenny Holston for The New York Times
The Army is activating the entire District of Columbia National Guard 1,100 troops in response to a request from Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, an Army official said on Wednesday.
The troops are being sent to the D.C. Armory and will be deployed to the Capitol and to other points around Washington, the official said.
The decision by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary, came as the protesters breached the Capitol.
Pentagon officials have been loath to have uniformed National Guard units deploy to the Capitol, preferring to send the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police in order to avoid the specter of a military battling election protests. But the tense standoff at the Capitol, and the breach by Trump supporters, led to the decision, officials said.
Helene Cooper Advertisement Continue reading the main story Trump, speaking to protesters, declares we will never concede. Mr. Trump spoke to a crowd on the Ellipse just south of the White House, which he will have to vacate in 14 days. Mr. Trump spoke to a crowd on the Ellipse just south of the White House, which he will have to vacate in 14 days.Credit...Pete Marovich for The New York Times
President Trump pressured Vice President Mike Pence to illegally throw the 2020 election his way, excoriated Republicans, the news media, Democrats and the U.S. electoral process in a speech before a crowd of supporters on the National Mall on Wednesday.
We will never concede, said Mr. Trump at a rally aimed at protesting the results of the election, in which President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. got more than seven million votes more than Mr. Trump did and received 306 electoral votes.
The rally began on an off-note when Mr. Trump started talking but his microphone wasnt working. People in the crowd shouted that they couldnt hear him, until the microphone suddenly came to life as Mr. Trump was midway through his first of many complaints about the news media.
From there, he went on to describe nearly everything and anyone he sees as critical of him as corrupt" in one way or another.
Mr. Trump began speaking almost exactly an hour before the start of a joint session of Congress, during which the Electoral College votes are to be certified. Mr. Pences constitutionally-mandated obligation is to oversee the proceedings in a ministerial role.
I hope Mike is going to do the right thing, Mr. Trump said. I hope so, I hope so, because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. He added, one of the top constitutional lawyers in our country told him Mr. Pence has the absolute right to throw out the election results.
But he does not have the power to toss the results or alter them, despite Mr. Trumps repeated insistence that he does. The president maintained he would be following the Constitution if he sent the results back to the states to be recertified.
In fact, there is no precedent for what Mr. Trump is demanding and Mr. Pence has made clear to the president he does not have the ability to do so, according to people briefed on their conversations.
Mike Pence has to agree to send it back, Mr. Trump told the crowd, prompting chants. Later, he conceded he would be very disappointed in Mr. Pence if he does not do so.
He insisted the countrys elections are worse than third-world nations, a statement that would be welcomed by authoritarians in countries around the globe.
He addressed the widely-criticized call with Georgias secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, which took place on Saturday and a recording of which was made public, in which the president urged Mr. Raffensperger to find additional votes to allow Mr. Trump to win the state. People loved that conversation, he said.
The Republican governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp? Mr. Trump said he should be voted out of office, please.
At one point during the rally, Mr. Trump conceded that the two Republican candidates in the Georgia runoffs on Tuesday, Senator Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, whose Senate term ended Sunday, had lost their races, saying they didnt have a shot as he continued with baseless allegations of electoral fraud and theft.
At other points, he complained that he has no control over the three U.S. Supreme Court justices he appointed. And he complained about the former attorney general, William P. Barr, saying he had liked him, but he changed, because he didnt want to be considered my personal attorney.
He also attacked Representative Liz Cheney, Republican from Wyoming and the partys third-ranking House leader, who has criticized his efforts to undermine the election, saying she wants to keep U.S. soldiers in foreign countries. The Liz Cheneys of the world need to be voted out, he said.
Time and again he returned to the theme that the news media is the biggest problem we have in this country. He complained about polls conducted for the Washington Post several months ago, speaking with specifics about the poll he was referring to.
Talking about his inability to get his unvarnished statements into news circulation, Mr. Trump falsely declared, Thats what happens in a communist country.
Maggie Haberman An explosive device is found at the R.N.C., and the D.N.C. is evacuated.
An explosive device was found at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in Washington and the nearby headquarters of the Democratic National Committee was evacuated after the discovery of a suspicious package on Wednesday, according to three people briefed on the discoveries.
The device that was found at the R.N.C. was a pipe bomb that was successfully destroyed by a bomb squad, according to an official for the R.N.C.
The package at the D.N.C. has yet to be identified, according to a top Democrat briefed on the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly about it.
The R.N.C. and D.N.C. are headquartered just a few blocks away from the U.S. Capitol, which Mr. Trumps supporters stormed on Wednesday afternoon soon as Congress had gathered to certify President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.s victory and shortly after the president addressed the crowd near the White House.
As a mob breached the Capitol, Vice President Mike Pence was rushed from the Senate chamber and the building was placed on lockdown. Shortly after, Mr. Trump tweeted that Mr. Pence didnt have the courage to do what should have been done because he did not try to reject the electors.
The National Guard for Washington and Virginia was activated Wednesday afternoon to respond to the unrest.
Katie Benner, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt Pence rejects Trumps pressure to block certification saying he loves the Constitution. . Vice President Mike Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Vice President Mike Pence, in a bold statement on Wednesday afternoon, rejected President Trumps pressure to block congressional certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.s victory in the presidential election, claiming that he lacked the unilateral authority to decide the outcome of the presidential election.
As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, Mr. Pence wrote in a two-page letter, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the vice president with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no vice president in American history has ever asserted such authority.
The letter was released by the White House as Mr. Trump was speaking to a group of supporters at the Ellipse, where over and over he implored Mr. Pence to have the courage to do what he has to do.
Mr. Pence does not have the unilateral power to alter the results sent by the states to Congress.
But Mr. Trump, listening to the advice of allies like Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, has been convinced that the vice president could do his bidding. If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election, Mr. Trump said Wednesday, claiming inaccurately that the vice president has the absolute right to throw out the election results.
Mr. Pences defiance the first in his four years as a deferential No. 2 created a remarkable and uncomfortable split screen, as the president continued the public pressure campaign even as Mr. Pence arrived at the Capitol to preside over a joint session of Congress where the Electoral College vote will be certified.
On Tuesday night, after The New York Times reported that the vice president in a private meeting had informed Mr. Trump he did not have the authority to change the results of the election, Mr. Trump released a statement disputing the story. He never said that, the statement said. The Vice President and I are in total agreement that the vice president has the power to act.
The vice presidents advisers have been eager to find some middle ground where Mr. Pence could mollify Mr. Trump by acknowledging some of his concerns. In the letter, Mr. Pence indicated that he shared the presidents concerns about integrity of this election and would make sure that challenges received a fair and open hearing in Congress.
Releasing the letter ahead of his arrival at the Capitol took some of the drama and suspense out of Mr. Pences largely ceremonial role, and the swirling questions about how he would play the awkward moment. But his aides expected him to be on the receiving end of the presidents ire for not complying with his wishes. They expected him to underscore his loyalty to the Trump agenda in other ways, over the coming days.
On Wednesday, Kelli Ward, who chairs the Arizona Republican Party, also joined a group of far-right Republicans that petitioned the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to grant Mr. Pence the authority to reject some state electors, after lower courts rejected the request. One of the attorneys who wrote the petition is Sidney Powell, a longtime member of Mr. Trumps legal team.
On Wednesday afternoon, as Mr. Trumps supporters left the rally and stormed the Capitol with rioters entering the building and Mr. Pence being quickly evacuated from a building that was on lockdown, the president did nothing to quell the disorder that he had encouraged earlier in the day. Instead, he focused his ire on the vice president.
Mike Pence didnt have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth! he wrote on Twitter.
Annie Karni Advertisement Continue reading the main story Facebook bans a page used to coordinate pro-Trump protests after calls for violence. Facebooks headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. The company removed the page Red-State Secession on Wednesday morning. Facebooks headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. The company removed the page Red-State Secession on Wednesday morning.Credit...Laura Morton for The New York Times
Facebook banned a page that was being used to organize pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington on Wednesday after direct calls for violence surfaced on the page.
The company said it removed the page, called Red-State Secession, on Wednesday morning. It did not provide any further details on what prompted the action.
In the days leading up to the protests in Washington, members of the group had asked its roughly 8,000 followers to share addresses of perceived enemies in the nations capital. Those included home addresses of federal judges, members of Congress and other prominent progressive politicians.
Comments left on the page often featured photos of gun and ammunition, along with emoji suggesting that members of the group were planning for violence. One post on Tuesday said people should be prepared to use force to defend civilization.
Several comments below the post showed photos of assault rifles, ammunition and other weapons. In the comments, people referred to occupying the capital and taking action to force Congress to overturn the election results.
Before it was removed by Facebook, the page directed followers to other social media sites like Gab and Parler that have gained popularity in right-wing circles since the election in November.
Sheera Frenkel Democrats are ebullient as they appear headed for a Senate takeover. For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate and that will be very good for the American people. said Senator Chuck Schumer, who would become majority leader if Jon Ossoff wins. For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate and that will be very good for the American people. said Senator Chuck Schumer, who would become majority leader if Jon Ossoff wins.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Democrats exulted on Wednesday morning as they appeared poised to wrest control of the Senate, a feat that would hand them unified control of Congress albeit by razor-thin margins as well as the White House.
With the Rev. Raphael Warnock victorious and fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff leading in a pair of runoff elections in Georgia, the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, proclaimed on Twitter: Buckle up!
We sure did not take the most direct path to get here, but here we are, Mr. Schumer said at a celebratory news conference in the Capitol. For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate and that will be very good for the American people.
Should Mr. Ossoffs lead over David Perdue hold, twin victories in Georgia would give Democrats 50 seats in the Senate and leave Republicans with the same number, handing Democrats a working majority because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be empowered to break ties.
Mr. Schumer told reporters that he had already spoke to Mr. Biden and Congresss first order of business would be approve $2,000 direct payments to sent to Americans struggling in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. But he declined to clarify whether Democrats would approve just the checks or seek a large package including other priorities like state and local aid or increased unemployment insurance.
On a conference call with Democrats, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, played the Ray Charles hit Georgia on My Mind for ebullient colleagues as they contemplated what their newfound power on the other side of the Capitol would mean as Joseph R. Biden Jr. assumes the presidency.
We will pursue a science and values-based plan to crush the virus and deliver relief to struggling families, safeguard the right to quality affordable health care and launch a plan to build back better powered by fair economic growth, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
The Georgia victories would be a strong rebuke of President Trump, under whose leadership Republicans lost control of the House, the White House and now the Senate.
It turns out that telling the voters that the election is rigged is not a great way to turn out your voters, Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah and his partys former nominee for president, told reporters in the Capitol. President Trump has disrespected the American voters, has dishonored the election system and has disgraced the office of the presidency.
Some of Democrats most ambitious priorities could be blocked, however, by the legislative filibuster, which sets a 60-vote threshold for any major initiative. Mr. Schumer batted away questions about a push from the partys left flank to change the rules to essentially kill the filibuster by lowering the threshold to a simple majority.
We are united in wanting big, bold change, and we are going to sit down as a caucus and discuss the best ways to get that done, he said.
Luke Broadwater and Nicholas Fandos Watch out for this misinformation when Congress meets to certify the election. An audit of election ballots in Atlanta in mid-November. An audit of election ballots in Atlanta in mid-November.Credit...Brynn Anderson/Associated Press
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As Congress meets on Wednesday to certify Joseph R. Biden Jr.s victory in the November election, President Trump and his supporters continue to spread rumors, conspiracy theories and misinformation about the vote.
Here are six false voter fraud claims that may be repeated during the proceedings on Wednesday. Our colleagues are fact-checking the congressional debate in real time. No, glitches in Dominion Voting Machines did not change vote tallies.
Claim: Dominion Voting Systems, which makes software that local governments around the nation use to help run their elections, deleted votes for President Trump.
Fact: There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, including the machines with Dominion software, according to the federal agency that oversees election security.
Background: In the weeks after the election, President Trump and his supporters spread baseless claims about Dominion. The claims included theories that software glitches changed vote tallies in several states, including Michigan and Georgia. No such changes were ever found.
Mr. Trump and his supporters subsequently claimed that Dominion had hidden evidence of voter fraud, both by destroying machines or removing parts within the machines. Mr. Trump repeated those claims during a call with Georgias secretary of state last weekend. Gabriel Sterling, a top election official in Georgia, said Monday of the claims of election fraud in the state, This is all easily, provably false. No, politicians in Georgia did not prevent an analysis of absentee ballots.
Claim: President Trump and his supporters have claimed that absentee ballots in Georgia were rife with fraud and that state officials have not fully investigated.
Fact: Election officials have audited absentee ballots and found no fraudulent absentee ballots.
Background: The Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, ordered law enforcement and election investigators to conduct an audit of more than 15,000 absentee ballot envelopes in Cobb County, based on a complaint that signatures were not adequately checked there. The audit found no fraud. Mr. Raffensperger has said that he also plans a statewide audit of each countys signature-match policies and procedures.
Georgia has already conducted two recounts, both by hand and machine, of all five million ballots cast in the state. No voting fraud was found. No, thousands of votes in Arizona were not changed to favor Biden.
Claim: In an interview on the conservative cable channel Newsmax in December, the Arizona Republican chairwoman, Kelli Ward, said 200,000 ballots were digitally changed to give the victory to Mr. Biden, and Representative Paul Gosar amplified the falsehood on Twitter.
Fact: Audits in Arizona have found no evidence of voter fraud, or changed vote tallies.
Background: While early results in Arizona showed a close race, the final count revealed that Mr. Biden had won the state by more than 10,000 votes.
Audits in Arizonas four largest counties, which make up 86 percent of all votes in the state, turned up no evidence of systematic voter fraud. No, election workers didnt stuff fraudulent ballots into suitcases.
Claim: President Trumps supporters have pointed to a video as proof that ballots were pulled from a suitcase at a vote-counting center in Atlanta.
Fact: Election officials have said the surveillance video shows normal ballot processing. It is not unusual practice for poll workers to store ballots that still need to be counted on-site at the polling center.
Background: As reported by The New York Times, late on Nov. 3, election workers in Fulton County, Ga., heard that they would be allowed to stop the vote-counting and retire for the evening. So they packed uncounted ballots into suitcases and prepared to lock up. When word came that they couldnt leave yet, they dragged the suitcases back out and began counting the ballots again.
But that scene of election workers taking out suitcases of ballots was selectively edited and pushed by allies of President Trump as one of the many false theories purportedly proving widespread election fraud. The conspiracists also named the election worker Ruby Freeman as a specific player in this false conspiracy event. No, there isnt evidence that Pennsylvania election officials violated state law.
Claim: President Trumps campaign has claimed that Pennsylvania election officials improperly handled tens of thousands of mail-in ballots in violation of state election law.
Fact: The Trump campaigns legal efforts to disqualify votes in Pennsylvania have been unsupported by evidence.
Background: The Trump campaign filed several claims in court seeking to invalidate Pennsylvanias election results, and one ally of Mr. Trump, Senator Josh Hawley, has said he would challenge the results because he believed some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws.
But the Trump campaign has included no evidence that any vote had been cast illegally.
In a hearing on Nov. 17, President Trumps personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, acknowledged he had no proof to back up his claims of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. This is not a fraud case, Mr. Giuliani said.
Four days later, the judge overseeing the case dismissed the lawsuit. It was also shot down last month by Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who said in a ruling, Calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here. No, Pence does not have the power to change the election result.
Claim: Vice President Mike Pence can reject state electors in the Electoral College.
Fact: Federal law stipulates that the vice presidents role is to count Electoral College votes, not decide whether they are valid.
Background: President Trump on Tuesday falsely claimed on Twitter that Mr. Pence has the power to reject electors when the Electoral College vote is certified.
As president of the Senate, Mr. Pence is expected to preside over the pro forma certification of the Electoral College vote count in front of a joint session of Congress. The only electoral certifications available for Vice President Pence to preside over are the ones approved by each state.
Ben Decker and Jacob Silver contributed research.
Davey Alba and Sheera Frenkel Advertisement Continue reading the main story Biden plans to nominate Merrick Garland for attorney general. Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the position left on the Supreme Court by the death of Antonin Scalia. Judge Merrick Garland was nominated by Barack Obama in 2016 to fill the position left on the Supreme Court by the death of Antonin Scalia.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to nominate Judge Merrick Garland, whose Supreme Court nomination Republicans blocked in 2016, to be attorney general, placing the task of repairing a beleaguered Justice Department in the hands of a centrist judge, according to a person familiar with the matter.
If confirmed, Judge Garland, who has sometimes disappointed liberals with his rulings, would inherit a department that grew more politicized under President Trump than at any point since Watergate. Judge Garland will face vexing decisions about civil rights issues that roiled the country this year, whether to investigate Mr. Trump and his administration and how to proceed with a tax investigation into Mr. Bidens son.
The nomination ended weeks of deliberation by Mr. Biden, who had struggled to make a decision as he considered who to fill for a position that he became convinced would play an outsized role in his presidency. Mr. Bidens nominations are expected to broadly win confirmation as Democrats appear poised to take control of the Senate.
Mr. Biden, who served as the longtime top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and chaired it from 1987 to 1995, was said by aides to have long weighed what makes a successful attorney general and put pressure on himself to make the right pick. Outside groups also pressed him during the transition to appoint someone who is a minority and would take a far more confrontational position with law enforcement.
Mr. Biden also intends to nominate Lisa Monaco, a former homeland security adviser to President Barack Obama, as deputy attorney general; Vanita Gupta, the head of the departments civil rights division under Mr. Obama, as the No. 3; and Kristen Clarke, a civil rights lawyer, as assistant attorney general for civil rights, which is expected to be a major focus of the department under Mr. Biden.
Judge Garland was initially considered a long shot for attorney general, in part because he is seen as politically moderate. In close cases involving criminal law, he has been significantly more likely to side with the police and prosecutors over people accused of crimes than other Democratic appointees. He also leaned toward deferring to the government in Guantánamo detainee cases that pit state security powers against individual rights.
Moreover, judges are only occasionally elevated directly to the position. The last was Judge Michael Mukasey of Federal District Court, whom George W. Bush appointed to run the Justice Department in 2007.
Mr. Biden was also said to have considered Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration; Doug Jones, the former Alabama senator; and Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts who briefly ran for the Democratic Partys presidential nomination.
Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PICK Read the full story about Mr. Bidens choice for attorney general. A Democratic takeover of the Senate would redefine Bidens presidency in dramatic ways. During the primaries and general election, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. made much of his willingness to cross the aisle to revive the lost art of bipartisan deal-making. During the primaries and general election, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. made much of his willingness to cross the aisle to revive the lost art of bipartisan deal-making.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday promoted the Senate runoffs in Georgia as an opportunity to break the gridlock that has gripped Washington, and his team was cautiously optimistic about the outcome.
In recent days many on his team had downplayed the idea that they would command a legislative majority in the Senate out of superstition, several jittery Democratic aides suggested in the days leading up to the election.
But the growing possibility of one-party control has now been hurled on their doorstep.
In the most basic sense, the addition of two Democrats the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who has won his race, and Jon Ossoff, who is maintaining a lead in his to the Senate would redefine Mr. Bidens approach to lawmaking, giving him more power but possibly challenging his preferred approach of broad bipartisan deal-making.
Biden will say all the public things about how he needs to get Republican support, but the truth is that this fundamentally changes the dynamic, said David Krone, former chief of staff to former Senator Harry Reid, the last Democratic majority leader. Democrats now control the floor. So he can bring up all kinds of bills that would have been blocked by the Republicans, and force votes on big bills like a major infrastructure package that never would have seen the light of day.
During the primaries and general election, Mr. Biden and his aides pointed out that he had developed a sturdy, if not overly warm, working partnership with the Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell. But a Senate takeover might require a shift in Mr. Bidens compromising approach in favor of the hard-edge tactics demanded by his partys ascendant left wing.
Embedded in the Democrats jubilation Wednesday was a gnawing sense of urgency.
Many in the party fear a Republican takeover of the House in 2022, and a similar possibility looms in the deadlocked upper chamber. But many in Mr. Bidens circle believe he has two years to jam through Democratic priorities, starting with his pledge to pass a $2,000 payout to ease the economic hardship of the pandemic.
Controlling the majority offers many new opportunities. The central role of Black voters in Georgia and elsewhere virtually ensures that Mr. Biden will push civil and voting rights reform, one Democratic leadership aide said in condition of anonymity. But it also means he will have to referee fierce disagreements among Democratic factions that have already begun feuding in the House over the Green New Deal and expansion of health care.
Then theres Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
While all eyes were on the twilight machinations of Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday, his replacement will have significantly more power.
She will play a decisive role in the 50-50 Senate on party-line votes, exercising real legislative power and positioning her as Mr. Bidens visible partner and natural successor, especially if he chooses not to run for re-election in 2024.
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