Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He has spent most of the 2016 presidential cycle covering the race for the GOP nomination.

When he's not on the campaign trail, Booker produces pieces from the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and other federal agencies for NPR News magazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He previously served as the network's lead producer from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Booker served in a similar capacity during the 2012 presidential campaign producing pieces from the Republican and Democratic National conventions as well as from President Obama's reelection site in Chicago.

In the summer of 2014, Booker took a break from the politics grind to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and is was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not working he enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and playing golf.

Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

Opponents of special counsel Robert Mueller ramped up their attacks over the weekend with a new claim that he improperly collected thousands of emails from President Trump's transition team and is using them as an illegitimate basis for much of his investigation.

Mueller's office said his team has obtained all the evidence it's using in its investigation properly. And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him, told Congress last week that he monitors Mueller's operation closely and has seen nothing improper.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., who has been haunted for two weeks by allegations of sexual harassment, said Saturday that he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Kihuen's announcement comes a day after the House Ethics Committee said it has opened an investigation looking into the allegations leveled at the 37-year-old freshman congressman by a former campaign aide.

In a statement, Kihuen reiterated that he had done nothing wrong and said he looked forward to being cleared of any allegations of sexual misconduct.

Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET

Trump Administration officials at the Department of Health and Human Services are pushing back on a report saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mandate to no longer use words and phrases including "fetus," "transgender" and "science-based."

Alabamians head to the polls Tuesday to vote for their next U.S. senator. For some, it will be the third time this year they've cast a ballot to determine who will assume the seat recently occupied by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions for two decades.

The circuitous path to get to this point has been nothing short of extraordinary.

The group created to reform how the Democratic National Committee selects its presidential nominee announced plans Saturday to slash the number of superdelegates by more than half — an effort it calls a "productive first step" for making the nomination process more open to the grass-roots wing of the party.

President Trump visited Jackson, Miss., on Saturday, where he toured and delivered remarks at the opening of a pair of museums dedicated to the state's role in the civil rights movement and as a celebration of its bicentennial.

While he largely did not stray from his prepared remarks, Trump's presence at the event drew a sharp rebuke from some prominent African-American elected officials and civil rights leaders, prompting some of them to skip the opening altogether.

Updated at 10:34 p.m. ET

Speaking at a campaign rally Friday night in Florida — but about 20 miles from the Alabama state line — President Trump seized upon news that one of GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore's accusers had added to a yearbook inscription which she has offered in support of her allegations that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager decades ago.

"So did you see what happened today? You know the yearbook?" Trump asked attendees in Pensacola, Fla. "There was a little mistake made."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has called for a fellow Democrat to resign after allegations surfaced that the freshman lawmaker sexually harassed a staffer during his campaign.

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For nearly 60 years, Northern Virginia students have attended J.E.B. Stuart High School, named after a Confederate general who died in battle. Now, after a contentious dispute, the Fairfax County School Board is expected to vote to change the school's name.

The debate has dragged on for two years and has included raucous community forums and testy board meetings.

Phillip Thompson lives in an exclusive gated community with a golf course in one of the wealthiest exurbs of Washington, D.C. Inside his spacious home, African artwork decorates the walls alongside framed pictures of his children's high school graduation and an American flag by the front entrance.

He is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps, a Gulf War veteran and a lawyer with his own practice. But when Thompson, 55, moved to his Leesburg, Va., neighborhood 12 years ago, many of his mostly white neighbors made assumptions about how he could afford his house.

Howard University, one of the nation's top historically black colleges, has seen the neighborhood around it change drastically over the years.

The area, located just a couple of miles north of Capitol Hill, was once working-class and black. But as hundreds of new residents move to D.C. each month, more nonblack residents move into Howard's neighborhood. And as property values rise, the university is trying to capitalize on the hot real estate market.

Texas Republican Mike Conaway will now preside over the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. This comes after the announcement on Thursday morning that the embattled Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., will be stepping away from the Russia probe.

Vice President Mike Pence traveled to West Virginia Saturday where he met with small business owners before delivering public remarks, which included some lines about repealing Barack Obama's health care law, a day after Republicans efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act went down in flames.

"West Virginia and President Trump, we all know the truth about this failed law, that every day Obamacare survives is another day that America suffers," Pence told a crowd gathered at a Charleston construction supply company.

Some basketball viewers on Friday night were subjected to television commercials that were guilty of peddling some alternative facts.

That's because in some markets with conservative-leaning districts, commercials aired praising some Republican House members for their efforts in repealing the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

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The House and Senate are back in Washington today for the start of the 115th Congress. With GOP control of both chambers and soon the Oval Office, Republicans are promising an aggressive agenda that will prioritize the repeal of the current president's signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. The Senate is expected to start that process with a budget resolution this week.

Editor's note: This post includes language that some readers will find offensive.

A rift has surfaced within the alt-right, the movement closely associated with white supremacism that has been celebrating Donald Trump's election as president. In fact, they are planning a big event around Trump's inauguration — the "DeploraBall."

Democratic senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee say Donald Trump's choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency should reveal his connections with energy insiders before his confirmation hearings get underway.

In the letter dated Tuesday, the senators told Scott Pruitt, currently Oklahoma's attorney general, they were concerned about his close ties to energy lobbyists and wanted him to disclose lists of donors who contributed to a nonprofit organization that took funds from a network connected to the Koch brothers.

Among the queries included in a questionnaire sent by President-elect Donald Trump's transition team to workers at the Department of Energy is a request for an inventory of all agency employees or contractors who attended meetings or conferences on climate change. Another question asks for a current list of professional society memberships of any lab staff.

This post was updated at 5:12 p.m. ET

Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the pro-wrestling enterprise World Wrestling Entertainment, was selected Wednesday by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Small Business Administration.

In a statement released by the Trump transition team, Trump called McMahon "one of the country's top female executives" and said she would help push his "America First" agenda forward. He added:

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to serve as U.S. ambassador to China, the transitional office confirmed Wednesday.

The longest-serving governor in U.S. history, Branstad has extensive ties to China and a close friendship with the Chinese President Xi Jinping that goes back decades.

Vice President Joe Biden teased Monday that he is leaving the door open to another presidential run in 2020.

"I'm going to run in 2020," Biden told a group of reporters on Capitol Hill.

"For what?" one of the reporters asked.

"For president," Biden responded, adding later, "What the hell, man."

The Associated Press described the vice president with "only a slight smile on his face" as he was leaving the small group of reporters in hallways of the U.S. Capitol.

Austria's far-right presidential candidate conceded defeat Sunday shortly after polls closed and preliminary results from the election showed Alexander Van der Bellen to win 53.6 percent of the vote.

Van der Bellen's opponent, Norbert Hofer of the conservative Freedom Party brought in just over 46 percent of the vote.

The ashes of Fidel Castro, the iconic revolutionary leader who died late last month, were interred in a private ceremony Sunday bringing an end to nine days of mourning in Cuba for a man who was the political face of the island nation for nearly half a century.

The ceremony took place at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, located in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, known as the site that launched the Cuban Revolution. Castro's remains join those of other prominent Cuban figures.

Will Grant of the BBC tells NPR's Newscast:

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With just over a week before it was scheduled to take effect, a federal judge has blocked the implementation of an Obama administration rule that would have extended overtime eligibility to some 4 million Americans.

The Labor Department's sweeping overhaul to the overtime rule required employers to pay time-and-a-half to their employees who worked more than 40 hours in a given week and earned less than $47,476 a year.

Bruce Arena is getting his old job back.

Arena is the winningest coach in the history of the United States Men's national team and is the only person to lead the U.S. team at two FIFA World Cups.

The announcement of Arena's return to the team comes a day after U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati parted ways with former U.S. Men's coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

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