Donald Trump's 2016 GOP primary rival, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is testifying in his Senate confirmation hearing for secretary of the Energy Department, telling lawmakers that he regretted once calling for the elimination of the agency. He also vowed to protect U.S. nuclear stockpiles, beef up security measures and “promote energy in all forms.” http://abcn.ws/2jPGJAA
Inauguration festivities are set to kick off on Thursday, with President-elect Donald Trump participating in a number of ceremonial activities in and around Washington, D.C. The soon-to-be commander-in-chief will start the formal inauguration schedule by laying a wreath at Arlington National Ceremony across the Potomac River in Virginia in memory of fallen soldiers. From there, Trump will cross back into D.C. to begin the more festive portion of the day with the "Make America Great Again!" welcome celebration. That will be held outside the Lincoln Memorial and include performances by country music star Toby Keith and rock band 3 Doors Down, among others. The event is slated to last for about two hours and Trump is expected to briefly address the crowd, ABC's MEGHAN KENEALLY notes. http://abcn.ws/2jB4Jdf
The countdown clock on the White House transition is winding down as specifics about Donald Trump's inauguration are being finalized. Here is everything to know about Inauguration Day: http://abcn.ws/2hO8qfo
Analysis - ABC's RICK KLEIN
A president-elect without any apparent fixed ideology would have himself a Cabinet full of ideologues – at least according to the Democratic strategy to define them. Rather than focus their energy on sinking one or two Trump nominees, to make a statement about their potential power even in the minority, Senate Democrats have used a scattershot approach that involves going deep into briefing books on virtually all of his picks. At Education, Justice, the EPA, Health and Human Services – point by point, the focus has been on how nominees would stray policy from the mainstream. (Energy, with Rick Perry's hearing Thursday – after reports that he thought he'd be in charge or oil exploration, and is only now learning about the nuclear stockpile – might offer a twist on this script, but not much of one.) Yet with only 48 Senate votes, Democrats are unlikely to block any nominee unless questions of ethics or financial irregularities make confirmation untenable. That makes this a battle for the long haul, going at the ideological underpinnings of the incoming administration. It may pay off. But it may also misunderstand the source of Trump's power: His base gravitated to him despite his ideology, not because of it.
A day of celebration for Donald Trump's supporters has another impact on his critics: for them, the inauguration brings stress. Stress soars, unsurprisingly, among Americans who preferred Hillary Clinton for the presidency: 65 percent of them in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say Trump's election has increased their stress above its usual level. Thirty-nine percent report "a great deal" more stress. Among Trump supporters, by contrast, a mere 4 percent report extra stress caused by his attaining the presidency. To the contrary, 31 percent in this group say the opposite – that Trump's election has decreased their usual stress. ABC's GARY LANGER has more: http://abcn.ws/2k6PZ6A
Vice President–elect Mike Pence assured Americans currently covered by the Affordable Care Act that they "should have no anxiety about losing their insurance." "Any American who has insurance today, through an 'Obamacare' exchange or through the Obama plan itself, should have no anxiety about losing their insurance," Pence told ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ in an interview. Pence said he anticipates a plan to replace "Obamacare" will be brought forward in the "early weeks" of the new administration, ABC's NICKI ROSSOLL reports. http://abcn.ws/2japMzQ
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who has previously pointed to Dick Cheney as someone he'd like to model his vice presidency after, told ABC's MARTHA RADDATZ he has spent a lot of time thinking about the "life and example" of George H.W. Bush in the role. "I think then, as now, was a president taking office who came to Washington, D.C. to change Washington who had a bold and fresh leadership, and who had marshaled the support of millions of Americans that carried him into office," Pence said. ABC's NICKI ROSSOLL has more: http://abcn.ws/2joAm7v