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President Joe Biden speaks at his inauguration: "Democracy has prevailed"

President Joe Biden sought to sooth a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, but warned that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

The big picture: Moments after taking the oath of office, Biden spoke on the Capitol’s West front, from the very steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier. They were attempting to overturn an election where Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by more than 7 million votes.


  • "American has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge," Biden said. "Democracy has prevailed."
  • Biden vowed the "confront domestic terrorism," and channelled former President Abraham Lincoln to help "bring America together and united our nation."
  • Trump, breaking with tradition, did not attend his successor's inauguration.
  • "This is a great nation. We are good people." Biden said. "But victory is never assured."
  • Biden directly addressed Trump’s supporters and asked them to “hear me out” before vowing to be “a president for all Americans.” "We must end this uncivil war."

Why it matters: While Biden's speech included olive branches to Trump supporters, his immediate actions are aimed at reversing many of the policies that Trump imposed in the opens days of his presidency.

  • After the speech, Biden will return to the White House, where he served as vice president just 8 years ago, with 15 executive orders, awaiting his presidential signature.
  • His flurry of executive actions is the start of an ambitious agenda to reverse Trump’s policies from energy to energy, banning drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve and wiping to a travel ban from mostly Muslim countries that Trump imposed on his first weeks in office.

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Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

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Note: Bernie Sanders is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Data: Axios Research/ProPublica/NCSL; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

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Journalists around the world face record persecution

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FBI, Homeland Security warn of increasing threat to Capitol

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Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

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Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

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