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January 12, 2017

"I wish circumstances were different and I didn't feel the need to make public remarks today," said Walter Shaub, the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE), to begin his address Wednesday at the Brookings Institute about government ethics and why President-elect Donald Trump should take them more seriously. "You don't hear about ethics when things are going well. You've been hearing a lot about ethics lately." Trump had laid out his plan to distance himself from his business interests to avoid conflicts earlier in the day, and Shaub said that plan is "wholly inadequate." "Nothing short of divestiture will resolve these conflicts," he explained.

The point of speaking publicly about the fixable ethics shortcomings of the incoming administration, Shaub said, is to defend the post-Watergate ethics structure built to safeguard the public good and to urge Trump to change course. "I've been pursuing this issue because the ethics program starts at the top," he said, and it is hard to persuade other officials to comply if the president does not.

And he's been trying to get his message to Trump, particularly. He started with some tweets, Shaub said, because "I was trying to use the vernacular of the president-elect's favorite social media platform to encourage him to divest." His speech on Wednesday included Biblical scripture, an appeal to patriotism, and the advice of Trump's favorite Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia:

Back when he was working for the Justice Department, the late Antonin Scalia also wrote an opinion declaring that a president should avoid engaging in conduct prohibited by the government's ethics regulations, even if they don't apply. Justice Scalia warned us that there would be consequences if a president ever failed to adhere to the same standards that apply to lower level officials. [Shaub, Brookings Institute]

At Trump's press conference, his conflicts-of-interest lawyer, Sheri Dillon, had noted that "the conflicts of interest laws simply do not apply to the president or the vice president and they are not required to separate themselves from their financial assets." That's true. But as Shaub noted: "The sheer obviousness of Justice Scalia's words becomes apparent if you just ask yourself one question: Should a president hold himself to a lower standard than his own appointees?" The jury is still out. Watch below. Peter Weber

9:01 p.m. ET

Donald Trump played a lot of different songs during his presidential campaign — from the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" to the Puccini aria "Nessun Dorma" — but rival Hilary Clinton was known mostly for one song, Rachel Platten's "Fight Song." So of course, at Donald Trump's first inaugural ball, the Freedom Ball, the group The Piano Guys played "Fight Song," as part of a medley with the hymn "Amazing Grace." The ball's other performances were mostly vocal jazz standards and show tunes, starting with the Kurt Weill-Bertolt Brecht song "Mack the Knife," about a serial killer.

Poaching Clinton's trademark campaign anthem could be seen as a fig leaf, or something closer to the presumed message of "You Can't Always Get What You Want." To be fair, the "Fight Song"-"Amazing Grace" mash-up is one of the novelty group's hits. You can watch their video of it below. Peter Weber

8:36 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C., interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said Friday evening that police had arrested 217 people for rioting during a day of Inauguration Day protests throughout the city, demonstrating against President Trump. A "very small percentage" of the thousands of protesters were violent, he said, though that faction caused "significant damage" along a number of blocks. Protesters blocked several security checkpoints, and a group of "black bloc" anticapitalist, antifascist activists threw rocks and bricks at police, smashed windows, set a handful of trash cans and a limousine ablaze. Police responded with chemical spray and flash-bang or stun grenades.

"It's a little jarring when you're in a peaceful march with drumming and chanting and the next thing you know flash bangs are going off around you," Daniel Hultquist, a protester from Rhode Island, told The Washington Post. "People that throw rocks and bricks are undermining the cause." As people got out of work, anti-Trump protesters also gathered in cities around the country, including Nashville, San Francisco, Austin, Atlanta, Portland, and Seattle. You can see the burning limo in the Inauguration Day roundup from The Associated Press' Julie Pace below. Peter Weber

7:18 p.m. ET
Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images

After confirming Defense Secretary James Mattis on Friday evening, 98-1, the Senate approved the nomination of former retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly as secretary of homeland security, 88-11. Kelly, who retired last year as head of the U.S. Southern Command, will take over a department with more than 240,000 employees who oversee everything from border security to protecting the president and America's electrical grid. Among Kelly's most controversial items on his roster of duties will be carrying out Trump's orders on immigration and building a Mexico-U.S. border wall.

Trump said at a luncheon after his inauguration that Mattis and Kelly were straight from "central casting," pointing specifically to his new defense secretary. "If I'm doing a movie, I'd pick you, Gen. Mattis," he said. Trump reportedly took looks into serious consideration when assembling his Cabinet. Peter Weber

6:47 p.m. ET

Despite a beautiful sunrise over Washington, D.C., on election day, the skies turned cloudy with scattered light rain on Inauguration Day. Maybe that's why President Trump's inaugural crowd was notably smaller than former President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration — when he was also, to be fair, the first African American to be sworn in as president — and also Obama's crowd after he was re-elected in 2013. Also, maybe the weather is why CNN decided to show video of Obama's 2013 crowd and Trump's 2017 swearing-in side-by-side, without comment:

Other possibilities: Obama had more high-wattage star power at both inaugurations, and home-team advantage — only 4.1 percent of Washington, D.C., voted for Trump in the election (versus 91 percent for Hillary Clinton), versus Obama's 91 percent in 2012 and 92 percent in 2008. Clinton also won neighboring Maryland and Virginia. Trump, of course, won the Electoral College, which is why he is president. Peter Weber

5:38 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis was confirmed as President Donald Trump's secretary of defense late Friday afternoon. The Hill reported the Senate "easily" confirmed Mattis, who is the first of Trump's Cabinet members to be confirmed.

Mattis will be the first recently retired service member to lead the Pentagon since "President [Harry S.] Truman nominated Army Gen. George C. Marshall for the job in 1950," The Washington Post reported. To be confirmed, Mattis had to obtain a waiver from Congress to bypass a law prohibiting members of the military from assuming the position for at least seven years after they leave the service. Trump's first order of business after being sworn into office Friday morning was to sign a waiver allowing Mattis to serve as defense secretary.

Mattis will be in charge of the Defense Department's $580 billion budget and its 1.9 million active-duty service members and reservists. Becca Stanek

5:30 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump and the rest of the first family arrived at the White House for the first time Friday evening, hours after Trump was sworn into office at the U.S. Capitol. Scenes from the new first family's arrival to their new residence, below. Kimberly Alters

5:19 p.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

On the final half day of Barack Obama's presidency, the S&P 500 stock market index closed up slightly at 2,271.31. Counting from this day in 2009, when that same index closed at 805.22, that marks a total gain of over 282 percent. The NASDAQ is up even more: 386 percent. Though that's without accounting for inflation, it's still the largest gain of any president since Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, as Reuters demonstrates.

Great news for stockholders, though it's worth noting that median wages have not shown nearly the same upward trajectory. Again leaving aside inflation, they only increased by about 14 percent from 2009-2015 (the most recent data that is available). Ryan Cooper

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