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Scott Detrow

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

President Biden and Vice President Harris acknowledged a grim milestone Monday: the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans from COVID-19.

Biden and Harris, along with first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff, emerged from the White House at sundown. They stood at the foot of the South Portico, covered in 500 candles honoring the dead, and listened to a Marine Corps band play "Amazing Grace" as they held a moment of silence.

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During the opening hours of former President Donald Trump's unprecedented second impeachment trial, the current occupant of the White House made it clear that he's continuing to take a hands-off approach to the proceedings.

Asked by reporters whether he planned to watch the trial, President Biden said: "I am not."

It's very early in Kamala Harris' vice presidency. So early, in fact, that she still has not yet moved into the official vice presidential residence at Washington, D.C.'s Naval Observatory as it undergoes maintenance work, according to a White House official.

But in her first two weeks on the job, the barrier-breaking first woman and first woman of color to serve in a job first held by John Adams has, so far at least, operated a lot like many of the vice presidents who came before her.

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A constant theme of President Biden's campaign for the White House was his sharp criticism of the irreparable damage to U.S. alliances, reputation and security that he argued came from the policy and actions of the Trump administration.

So it was perhaps a bit surprising to hear Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, praise several aspects of former President Donald Trump's international agenda during a joint appearance with Robert O'Brien, Sullivan's predecessor at the helm of the White House National Security Council.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

In an effort to slow the nation's contribution to climate change, President Biden has signed an executive order to begin halting oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters.

The much-anticipated move is one of several executive actions the president took on Wednesday to address the worsening climate crisis and the broader decline of the natural world, but it won't come without pushback.

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