Category: A - Newsbreaks
Hits: 420

Final preparations are underway for the inauguration of Donald Trump as the nation's 45th President. Trump arrived in DC Wednesday night to attend cabinet dinners.  Following tradition,  Trump is expected to spend Thursday night -- inauguration eve -- at Blair House, the presidential guest house across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.  The Transition team has told ABC News that the family will begin moving in personal effects on Friday.

--Two senior Trump transition officials tell to ABC News that President-elect Trump is expected to name former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue as his agriculture secretary. This is the final Cabinet post Trump has left to fill.
--Former Texas governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry faces a Thursday Senate hearing on his nomination as Secretary of the cabinet agency he once wanted to eliminate: the Department of Energy.
--A Thursday confirmation hearing is scheduled for former wrestling company CEO Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration.
--Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), tapped to lead the Office of Management and Budget, has a confirmation hearing.
--The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is expected to vote on the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.
--The first Trump cabinet nominee to pass the first stage of approval is Retired Gen. James Mattis. The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 26-1 in favor of Mattis as Defense Secretary. He still must be approved by the full Senate.

At his final presidential news conference Wednesday, President Obama talked about a range of issues, including racial progress, voting rights, and the Middle East. He defended his decision to free Chelsea Manning early on her 35-year prison sentence for espionage. On his last full day in office, Mr. is expected to grant more commutations.

Former President George H.W. Bush remains in the intensive care unit of Houston's Methodist Hospital. A Bush spokesman for the 41st President says he's been hospitalized since Saturday, with "an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia." The spokesman says there is no timetable for his release. Former first lady Barbara Bush was admitted Wednesday to the same hospital with symptoms of fatigue and coughing after not feeling well in recent weeks. The former president is 92. Mrs. Bush is 91.

A vigil was held Wednesday night for Detective Jerry Walker of Little Elm, Texas, killed in the line of duty the night before. Officials in the Dallas suburb say after the 48-year-old was fatally shot night outside a home, the gunman  triggered an hours long standoff before he was found dead inside the house.

Virginia was set to execute 39-year-old Ricky Gray Wednesday night at 9pm. Gray was convicted in the killing of a Richmond couple and their two young daughters in 2006.