Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington Desk, where she produces radio and digital content as well as the NPR Politics Podcast. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. Previously, she was the executive assistant to the senior vice president for news at NPR. Sprunt was an intern at NPR's Weekend All Things Considered, where she produced the "Three-Minute Fiction" segment, and NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, DC, and a Pennsylvania native.

President Trump held an Oval Office ceremony Friday to sign the 2020 Armed Forces Day Proclamation and unveil the official flag of the Space Force, the newest military branch.

Standing alongside senior leaders of the military, Trump called the unfurling a "very special moment."

"We've worked very hard on this and it's so important from a defensive standpoint, from an offensive standpoint, from every standpoint there is," Trump said.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his chief primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., announced on Wednesday the members of a joint task force meant to unify the party ahead of November's general election, bringing together figures from different wings of the party, ranging from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET on May 19

For some members of Congress, an office on Capitol Hill is just, well, an office. But for others, it doubles as their apartment while they live and work in Washington, D.C.

It's a practice Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., would like to see permanently banned.

"You know, they sleep on their couches, they then get up in the morning, sneak downstairs [to] the members' gym, shower, change their clothes, and come back up for work," she describes.

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Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

A U.S. military aide who works at the White House has tested positive for the coronavirus, causing concern that the president may have been exposed.

"We were recently notified by the White House medical unit that a member of the United States military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for coronavirus," said White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley in a statement.

New York state's Democratic presidential primary is back on after a district court judge granted a preliminary injunction on Tuesday to reinstate the contest.

Monday night's Met Gala in New York City may have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that didn't stop a bold look from appearing on the red carpet. OK, well, it's actually blue carpet.

During a unanimous vote on an agency's inspector general, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., took to the Senate floor while donning a face mask and a vibrant purple wig.

Sinema, whose locks are usually blonde, voted and seemed to identify herself by pointing to her new look, with an expression of, "Yeah, it's me. You knew that, right?"

Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-independent from western Michigan, announced Tuesday evening that he is exploring a third-party bid for the presidency.

The five-term congressman and critic of President Trump said he's launching an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Party's nomination.

"We're ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together," Amash wrote on Twitter. "I'm excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president."

New York Democrats will not be casting primary votes for a presidential candidate this year.

State election officials effectively canceled the presidential primary by removing every Democrat except the presumptive nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, from the primary ballot.

According to multiple reports, Douglas Kellner, co-chair of the New York State Board of Elections, received thousands of emails from supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders pushing for the primary to continue as planned.

President Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday "temporarily suspending immigration into the United States" in what he calls a response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens," Trump said at the White House Wednesday.

The proclamation, which Trump first announced in a late-night tweet Monday, suspends immigration for people seeking green cards for 60 days.

Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET

President Trump and congressional Democrats appeared to have a ways to go on Wednesday before they could agree on details for more relief spending for the coronavirus disaster.

Updated at 7:18 p.m. ET

President Trump acknowledged that he learned only recently about a warning earlier this year from a top adviser about the risks of the coronavirus — but he defended his actions on Tuesday at a news conference.

"I couldn't have done it any better," Trump said about his and the administration's handling of the pandemic.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump said "we certainly want to try" to lift restrictions on life in the U.S. by April 30 but he made no definitive commitment at a news conference on Monday at the White House.

Trump sought to walk a tightrope between grim warnings about a new spike in fatalities forecast for the coming weeks and upbeat exuberance about how well he said the response is going.

"Tremendous progress has been made in a very short period," Trump said.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

In a grim assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump on Saturday predicted that the coming week would be "one of the toughest weeks" of the outbreak. At the same time, the president expressed frustration with the toll that social distancing measures are taking on the economy, saying, "We cannot let this continue."

With data projecting cases in several regions hitting their peaks within seven days, the president told reporters that the United States could see its deadliest week since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Updated at 7:57 p.m. ET

Just days after the White House coronavirus task force warned Americans to brace for sobering death tolls, the administration is vowing to reimburse hospitals for treating uninsured patients infected with the coronavirus.

Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET

White House doctors have started giving rapid coronavirus tests to people who are "in close proximity" to President Trump or Vice President Pence.

During his Thursday night briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump repeated a claim that the United States has done more testing for the contagion on a per capita basis than any other country.

Updated at 7:37 p.m. ET

The government has gone to work disbursing the billions of dollars Washington has committed to sustain the economy after the deep shock it has undergone in the pandemic, the White House promised on Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jovita Carranza, head of the Small Business Administration, vowed that some of the first systems for loans or payments would be up and running as soon as Friday.

Updated at 7:29 p.m. ET

President Trump says he may consider grounding some or all flights as a coronavirus pandemic mitigation measure but also said on Wednesday he wants to apply the lightest touch possible in managing the disaster.

During his Tuesday evening briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump answered a question about shortages of masks by suggesting that it's possible to use scarves instead.

Updated at 8:37 p.m. ET

During his briefing with the coronavirus task force on Monday, President Trump said Russia has sent medical equipment to the United States to combat the growing pandemic.

"And I have to say, we've had great relationships with a lot of countries," Trump said. "Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice."

Is that so?

During his coronavirus task force briefing Monday evening, President Trump repeated his claim that the United States has done "more tests by far than any country in the world."

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package on Friday just hours after the House approved it amidst the deepening crisis over the pandemic.

"This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation's families, workers and businesses. And that's what this is all about," Trump said at a signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

Lagging in the Democratic presidential primary and facing the unique challenge of running for office amid the coronavirus pandemic, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he is still assessing his campaign's future.

"It's changing every day because elections are being delayed," Sanders said in an interview with Morning Edition's Noel King.

"Where do we go from here with the elections that are being delayed, where we can't go out and hold rallies or knock on doors? That's what we're looking at right now," Sanders said.

Updated at 6:37 p.m. ET

President Trump told governors his administration is working on publishing guidelines for state and local governments to use to determine whether to increase or relax social distancing rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement came ahead of the White House's regular news conference on its response to the pandemic.

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