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News Wrap: U.S. surpasses 400,000 deaths from COVID-19

In our news wrap Tuesday, the U.S. reached 400,000 deaths from COVID nearly equaling the number of Americans killed in World War II, President-elect Biden had an emotional departure from his home state of Delaware on the eve of inauguration, Biden will offer a sweeping immigration bill once in office, and the incoming Senate majority leader says President Trump's impeachment trial is a priority.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The U.S. reached 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, nearly equal to the number of Americans killed in World War II; 100,000 of those occurred just in the past month.

    Meanwhile, a panel commissioned by the World Health Organization criticized the agency for not declaring a global emergency sooner. One panel member, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said that the WHO needs more enforcement power.

  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf:

    Member states are looking at WHO for leadership, coordination and guidance, but are not equipping it with the authority, the access or the funding needed to provide that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The panel also criticized China and other nations for failing to act earlier on the pandemic.

    President-elect Biden had an emotional departure from his home state of Delaware today on the eve of his inauguration. It happened at a National Guard headquarters named for his eldest son, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.

    Mr. Biden noted the significance, and then choked up.

  • Pres.-elect Joe Biden:

    And so it's deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here, a place that defines the very best of who we are as Americans.

    Well, excuse the emotion, but when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Later, the Bidens arrived at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington. They will spend the night at Blair House, the president's official guest residence, before moving into the White House tomorrow.

    Mr. Biden will offer a sweeping immigration bill right after being sworn in. It's expected to provide an eight-year path to citizenship for some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. The nominee for secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said today that the plan would fix a broken system.

    The incoming Senate majority leader says that an impeachment trial of President Trump will be a priority once Democrats take control tomorrow. By then, Mr. Trump will be out office, and Senator Chuck Schumer confirmed today that he wants to keep it that way.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer:

    There will be a impeachment trial in the United States Senate. There will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors, and, if the president is convicted, there will be vote on barring him from running again.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Before a trial can begin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has to send over the impeachment article passed by the House charging Mr. Trump with inciting an insurrection. She has not said yet when that will happen.

    A federal appeals court today struck down President Trump's rollback of emissions curbs for coal-fired power plants. The curbs were imposed under the Obama administration. But the three-judge panel found the Trump move was a fundamental misreading of the law.

    And, on Wall Street, stocks rose on hopes for new economic stimulus in a Biden administration. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 116 points to close at 30930. The Nasdaq rose 198 points, and the S&P 500 added 30.

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