Senate holds hearings for 5 Biden nominees on Trump’s last full day in office


Washington — The Senate is holding confirmation hearings for five of President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominees on Tuesday, as Democrats rush to approve key officials soon after Mr. Biden’s becomes president on Wednesday.

Senators reconvened for the first time since Mr. Trump was impeached for a second time. They are holding confirmation hearings for five crucial nominees: Janet Yellen at Treasury, Antony Blinken at State, Lloyd Austin at Defense, Alejandro Mayorkas at Homeland Security and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

Mr. Biden is planning to arrive in Washington on Tuesday afternoon, and attend a ceremony honoring victims of COVID-19 at the Lincoln Memorial in the evening.

The hearings come on President Trump’s last full day in office. He is expected to issue 100 pardons or commutations in the final hours of his president, a senior administration official and a senior White House official told CBS News.

It’s not yet known who Mr. Trump plans on pardoning, although one source said the president isn’t expected to pardon himself. 

Mr. Trump stayed out of the public eye on Monday, while first lady Melania Trump issued a farewell video. She did not directly reference the January 6 assault on the Capitol, but did say, “Be passionate in everything you do, but always remember that violence is never the answer and will never be justified.”

In a break with tradition, Melania Trump did not give a tour to incoming first lady Jill Biden, and the Trumps will be the first president and first lady to skip the incoming president’s inauguration in more than 150 years.

Security is tight ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration. The Pentagon has authorized more than 25,000 National Guard troops to secure the event, and the FBI is vetting all Guard members. The chief of the National Guard bureau Daniel Hokanson told CBS News’ David Martin he is “absolutely not” worried about the reliability of his troops.

With the military focused on protecting the inauguration, Mr. Trump will not get the large military honors he wanted for his send-off. He instead will have a scaled-back send-off at 8 a.m. Wednesday before he heads to Mar-a-Lago.

The White House is seen from a riser on Lafayette Park on January 18, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

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