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4:05 PM ET, January 20, 2021

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 Top Items: 
The White House:
Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Executive Grants of Clemency  —  President Donald J. Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 individuals.  —  Todd Boulanger - President Trump granted a full pardon to Todd Boulanger.
RELATED:
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
Trump's swampiest pardons, ranked  —  President Trump came into office pledging to drain the swamp.  He exits having extracted a bunch of allies who were neck-deep in the muck from it.  —  As I've regularly noted with Trump's pardons, it's not unheard-of for a president to pardon an ally.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Politico
Maggie Haberman / New York Times:
With hours left in office, Trump pardons Bannon.  —  President Trump has granted clemency to Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who was charged with defrauding people who supported building a border wall that Mr. Trump supported, White House officials said.
Grant Stern / Byline Times:
Still Faces ‘We Build the Wall’ State Investigation
Discussion: Law & Crime and Crooks and Liars
Andrew Weissmann / Just Security:   Gaps in Trump's Pardons: How the Biden Administration Can Still Pursue Justice
Tiana Lowe / Washington Examiner:   Trump's final insult to his supporters: Pardoning Bannon
NBC News:
Some QAnon followers lose hope after Inauguration  —  Some QAnon conspiracy theorists, in public and private internet forums and chat rooms, were despondent Wednesday as their prophecy of an Inauguration Day coup to keep Donald Trump in power failed again as President Joe Biden was sworn into office.
RELATED:
Kevin Roose / New York Times:
QAnon believers struggle with inauguration.  —  Followers of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy theory, have spent weeks anticipating that Wednesday would be the “Great Awakening” — a day, long foretold in QAnon prophecy, when top Democrats would be arrested for running a global sex trafficking ring …
Washington Post:
QAnon believers grapple with doubt, spin new theories as Trump era ends: ‘We all got played’  —  The administrator of 8kun, the longtime home of the mysterious Q, says it's time to move on  —  Followers of the extremist ideology QAnon saw their hopes once again dashed Wednesday as President …
Jesselyn Cook / HuffPost:   'It's Over': Devastated QAnon Believers Grapple With President Joe Biden's Inauguration
Andrew Restuccia / Wall Street Journal:
Trump Has Discussed Starting a New Party  —  President Trump has talked in recent days with associates about forming a new political party, according to people familiar with the matter, an effort to exert continued influence after he leaves the White House.  —  Mr. Trump discussed the matter …
RELATED:
Anna Merlan / VICE:
Trump Fails to Ascend as God Emperor, Leaving Diehard Fans Adrift  —  Some grieve and some insist all is going according to plan.  Others are enthused about forming a new political party.  It's a moment as dangerous as it is hilarious.  —  TORONTO, CA  —  As new President Joseph R. Biden took …
Sheera Frenkel / New York Times:
‘A Total Failure’: The Proud Boys Now Mock Trump  —  Members of the far-right group, who were among Donald Trump's staunchest fans, are calling him “weak,” in a sign of fraying support.  —  After the presidential election last year, the Proud Boys, a far-right group, declared its undying loyalty to President Trump.
Ben Makuch / VICE:
Far-Right Extremists Tell One Another to Stay Home, Fight Another Day
Discussion: Raw Story
Washington Post:
Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president, pleads for unity in inaugural address to a divided nation  —  Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was sworn in Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, pledging to unite the country and confront an array of convulsing challenges dividing a fractured nation.
RELATED:
Washington Post:
Joe Biden's inauguration speech transcript, annotated
Transition / President-Elect Joe Biden:
FACT SHEET: President-elect Biden's Day One Executive Actions Deliver Relief for Families Across America Amid Converging Crises  —  Actions Address the COVID-19 Pandemic, Provide Economic Relief, Tackle Climate Change, and Advance Racial Equity  —  Today, hours after taking the oath of office …
RELATED:
Politico:
Biden plans executive action blitz for Day One
Meridith McGraw / Politico:
Trump revokes rule preventing White House staff from lobbying
Pilar Melendez / The Daily Beast:
‘This Is Awesome!’:  Another Proud Boys Leader Arrested for Storming U.S. Capitol  —  Joseph Biggs, a 37-year-old organizer for the white nationalist group, was caught on camera inside the Capitol building.  —  A Proud Boys leader caught on camera storming the U.S. Capitol with a pro …
Discussion: USA Today
RELATED:
HuffPost:
Feds Arrest Proud Boy Member Joe Biggs Over Capitol Riot  —  The right-wing media figure denied to FBI agents that he was involved in any planning for the attack on the Capitol, but admitted entering the building.  —  Federal authorities on Wednesday arrested Joe Bigs …
Discussion: The Hill and Eschaton
Politico:
‘Really quite shocking’: Inside the ugly transition at the Pentagon  —  The Pentagon blocked members of President Joe Biden's incoming administration from gaining access to critical information about current operations, including the troop drawdown in Afghanistan, upcoming special operations missions …
Discussion: UPI, Defense One and Raw Story
Axios:
Off the rails: Inside Trump's campaign to coerce Pence into overturning the election  —  Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term.
RELATED:
Alayna Treene / Axios:
Trump departs on final Air Force One flight
Asawin Suebsaeng / The Daily Beast:
Trump's Parting Words to U.S.: ‘Have a Nice Life. See You Soon’
fmprc.gov.cn:
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Announces Sanctions on Pompeo and Others  —  Over the past few years, some anti-China politicians in the United States, out of their selfish political interests and prejudice and hatred against China and showing no regard for the interests of the Chinese and American people …
Andrew Stiles / Washington Free Beacon:
HISTORIC: Joe Biden to Be Sworn In on Jeffrey Epstein's Birthday  —  Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, bringing to a close one of the most successful administrations in American history.  —  In what may or may not be a coincidence …
RELATED:
Dan Diamond / Washington Post:
Biden to ask Surgeon General Adams to resign  —  Ouster is regarded as a break with the Trump administration's covid-19 response, which the president-elect has called a failure  —  The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free.
Bloomberg Law:
Biden Moves to Oust Top Labor Board Attorney Robb  —  Listen  —  The new Biden administration has asked for the resignation of the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel, Trump-appointee Peter Robb, according to four people familiar with the decision.
Discussion: GovExec.com
Natasha Korecki / Politico:
Writing a speech for Biden can be hell.  And that was before the inaugural.  —  Joe Biden paces as he dictates long portions of his speeches to aides, spinning out thoughts that quickly pile into six, seven or eight paragraphs of copy, only to later be scrapped.
Alex Tabarrok / Marginal REVOLUTION:
We Will Get to Herd Immunity in 2021...One Way or Another  —  By July it will all be over.  The only question is how many people have to die between now and then?  —  Youyang Gu, whose projections have been among the most accurate, projects that the United States will have reached herd immunity by July …
Carol D. Leonnig / Washington Post:
Trump extended Secret Service protection for 14 members of his family as he left office  —  In the days before he left office, then-President Donald Trump instructed that his extended family get the best security available in the world for the next six months, at no cost — the protection of the U.S. Secret Service.
Discussion: Political Wire
The Daily Beast:
Trump Pardons Fox News Host's Ex-Husband With Minutes Left in Office  —  “I'm in shock.  I went to bed last night having read the list assuming I wasn't getting a pardon,” Albert Pirro Jr., ex-husband of Judge Jeanine Pirro, told The Daily Beast.  —  President Trump had one last pardon …
Discussion: Mediaite
Adam Kredo / Washington Free Beacon:
Biden Reverses on Change to U.S. Ambassador to Israel Twitter Name to Include West Bank and Gaza  —  The Biden administration on Wednesday reversed a change to the U.S. ambassador to Israel's Twitter account name to read, “the official Twitter account of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel …
Caroline Kelly / CNN:
Biden to rescind 1776 commission via executive order  —  (CNN)President-elect Joe Biden will issue an executive order to dissolve the 1776 commission, a panel stood up by President Donald Trump as a rebuttal to schools applying a more accurate history curriculum around slavery in the US, Biden's transition team announced Wednesday.
 
 
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 More Items: 
James Arkin / Politico:
Peters poised to lead Senate Democrats' campaign arm
Discussion: Axios
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Biden: ‘We Must End This Uncivil War.’ Here's What It Would Look Like.
Catherine Thorbecke / ABC News:
Powerful images symbolize an inauguration unlike any other
Discussion: RedState, IJR and CBS Baltimore
Gerry Shih / Washington Post:
China turbocharges bid to discredit Western vaccines, spread virus conspiracy theories
Discussion: HotAir
 Earlier Items: 
Adam Serwer / The Atlantic:
An Incompetent Authoritarian Is Still a Catastrophe
Discussion: Salon and Daily Kos
Politico:
‘Like a Ghost’ in the White House: The Last Days of the Trump Presidency