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What to know ahead of Inauguration Day

Yahoo News Reporter Brittany Shepherd previews the upcoming Inauguration of Joe Biden and what the scence in Washington D.C. looks like right now

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Welcome to Yahoo Finance, a special preview of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. I'm Seana Smith.

ADAM SHAPIRO: And I'm Adam Shapiro. President-elect Biden is set to be sworn in tomorrow. Yahoo News reporter Brittany Shepherd is in Washington, DC. And Brittany, with the eyes of the nation on DC, help us set the scene for all of us-- what's going on at the Capitol in preparation for tomorrow's events, and what you've witnessed.

BRITTANY SHEPHERD: Well, guys, I've lived here for almost a decade, and I haven't seen a city so rapt and tense. I was at the Capitol for a few hours this morning. And it is hard to describe just how expansive this new security perimeter that the Secret Service and the DC police and so many local authorities have put in to enable the safety of Joe Biden, all the other political folks in his orbit, and of course, the safety of the press and the first responders who will be attending the inauguration tomorrow.

Even when I was walking inside of the Capitol, I saw hundreds and hundreds of National Guard members sleeping on each other. And when I was speaking to them, they said they were happy to help, but they were there for-- awake for 24, 40 hours at a time just to ensure that nothing like what happened last week, the insurrection on the Capitol, will happen again.

All eyes are on Joe Biden. He is about to land, or just landed, at Joint Base Andrews from Delaware. Everything that the Biden transition had planned is now up in the air. Originally, he was supposed to take a historic ride out into DC from the Amtrak that everyone has associated with him, and in Wilmington has been named after him. And at his address in Wilmington, you saw him cry. You rarely see him break emotion like that. Maybe sometimes he gets hot under the collar, but he tries to be a very even-keel, even-tempered person. Even he couldn't hold back kind of all the emotions that were on him.

And he's entering DC at not just a time of tense political division-- I think that speaks for itself-- but also this heightened amount of coronavirus infections and deaths. Almost a year ago today, it was the first case of coronavirus in the United States, and now 400,000 Americans are dead. And that weight is square on the shoulders of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and they know that. They'll be remarking on that in the National Mall in just an hour.

And essentially, the entire world looks to them to fix not just a political mess, not just an economic mess, but a mess of the heart, a mess of history. People don't know where to turn. Lots of people are upset. People's families and friends are sick, and they are dying, and they do not know where to go. And the question is, can they rely on this incoming administration to right some of the wrongs?

SEANA SMITH: Brittany, just focusing on the next couple of hours, the next 24 hours, I think a lot of questions right now are about the security concerns, and what's being done inside DC at this point. I want to play a sound bite from President Trump when he addressed the nation a few days ago following those deadly riots on Capitol Hill. Let's listen.

DONALD TRUMP: Every American deserves to have their voice heard in a respectful and peaceful way. That is your First Amendment right. But I cannot emphasize that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking, and no vandalism of any kind. Everyone must follow our laws and obey the instructions of law enforcement.

SEANA SMITH: So Brittany, we heard President Trump calling for no violence, no vandalism of any kind. Of course, the question now is whether or not President Trump's loyal supporters-- if they will listen to him. If they will listen to the words that he uttered just a few days ago. What's the feeling down in DC about that?

BRITTANY SHEPHERD: Well, if any protesters wanted to get violent or get into DC, it would be very difficult. Many of the bridges just to get in the city are shut down. All of downtown is inaccessible. Every building you could think of-- restaurants, CVSs, grocery stores-- they are boarded up. And there is a Secret Service member at every Starbucks, essentially. It's going to be very difficult.

But it kind of feels a bit like the eye of the storm, that at any minute things could pop off if they wanted to. If protests in either direction wanted to happen tomorrow, they would have to be quite far from the Capitol and the White House, because the city and the District of Columbia has made it very difficult for even people who live here to get to their own homes. In fact, people who live on Capitol Hill have to show proof of residence just to get on the streets. Folks here are taking it very seriously.

But there's always kind of a lingering threat that things could go wrong. I mean, for all of the signs that we knew about last week, still, the entire district was taken by surprise at just the scope and the scale. But I will say, it's difficult to see how something on the same level of what happened last week could happen here, just because of the sheer number of troops on the street.

I remember telling my editor just a few hours ago, it felt like I was living in a war zone. Felt like it was in the Middle East doing Middle East reporting, which is bizarre when you think you're covering an inauguration-- you're going to be going to inaugural balls and parades. All that festivities, all of that feeling of goodwill, jocular nature, that's completely gone. But we feel safe. We feel safe, but anything can happen. Anything can happen.

SEANA SMITH: All right. Thanks so much, Brittany.