Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.

He covers a wide range of topics including issues related to federal social safety net programs and news around the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

His reporting takes him across the country covering natural disasters, like hurricanes and flooding, as well as tracking trends in regional politics and in state governments, particularly on issues of race.

Following the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Booker's reporting broadened to include a focus on young activists pushing for changes to federal and state gun laws, including the March For Our Lives rally and national school walkouts.

Prior to joining NPR's national desk, Booker spent five years as a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He spent most to the 2016 presidential campaign cycle covering the contest for the GOP nomination and was the lead producer from the Trump campaign headquarters on election night. Booker served in a similar capacity from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. During the 2012 presidential campaign, he produced pieces and filed dispatches 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 politics to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker started his career as a show producer working on nearly all of NPR's magazine programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and former news and talk show Tell Me More, where he produced the program's signature Barbershop segment.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not on the road, Booker enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and working on his golf game.

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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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.

Former University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing will go on trial again over the fatal shooting of black driver Sam DuBose during a traffic stop last year.

As we've reported, Tensing's first trial ended in a mistrial earlier this month after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on murder and manslaughter charges.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addressed the annual evangelical gathering known as the Values Voter Summit Friday in Washington, where in promised in part to give churches "their voices back."

The bombastic, at times crude, thrice-married GOP standard bearer does not exactly fit the mold of a nominee that religious conservatives typically champion.

A chaotic and tense scene unfolded just after Air Force One touched down in Hangzhou, China, where U.S. and global leaders are gathered to discuss the world economy, promote growth and curb carbon emissions.

Obama's customary exit from the plane came not from the usual door high on the fuselage, but instead from a lower portal. It seems there were no higher stairs available to roll up to the usual door.

With fewer than 70 days to go before Election Day, the Republican National Committee announced it is making significant strides when it comes to competing in battleground states in the fall.

It still falls far short of the ground game already in place by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

On Friday, the RNC announced the addition of 392 staffers and 98 new offices across 11 battleground states.

The new staff and field offices will be added in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said he stands by comments he made during the bruising GOP primary campaign earlier this year, including referring to Donald Trump, now his party's nominee, as a "con man."

"I've stood by everything I ever said in my campaign," Rubio said in an interview with the Miami Herald editorial board.

THIS POST WAS UPDATED AT 4:01 P.M. ET

A fresh batch of previously unreleased State Department emails are raising new questions about the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during the years Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

Three girls were injured after falling at least 30 feet from a Ferris wheel at a county fair in eastern Tennessee on Monday evening. Two of the girls are in stable condition while another, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, is in critical condition.

According to Dr. Bracken Burns, director of trauma services for Johnson City Medical Center, the youngest of the victims, a 6-year-old, suffered the head injury and had to be intubated at the scene and taken to a hospital.

Updated 6:25 p.m. ET with more cancellations

Delta says it canceled 680 flights Tuesday as the airline continued to struggle with computer problems.

Our original post continues:

Delta Air Lines announced it was grounding nearly 300 flights Tuesday, a day after a computer outage hobbled the carrier's communication and booking systems and forced it to cancel about 1,000 flights worldwide.

Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded on Monday.

The unofficial kickoff to the NFL season got off to a false start Sunday when the Hall of Fame Game was canceled due to poor field conditions and nervousness over players' safety.

The Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts were sent packing before the teams could even take the field in Canton, Ohio. At issue was paint on the midfield logo and in the end zones that hardened and raised anxieties that players might slip and suffer injuries.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is coming under fire for her claim that FBI Director James Comey said her past statements about the use of emails were "truthful" and that she never sent or received classified materials from her personal server.

The email issue, which has dogged the Clinton campaign for months, was brought up again during a sit-down interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. During the interview Wallace played video of Clinton saying:

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

This post was updated at 2:38 pm

The lingering chasm between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her chief primary rival was bridged Tuesday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders teaming up with Clinton at a campaign event, where he formally endorsed Clinton's bid for the White House.

A new report released Monday by the minority members of the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the events at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, absolves the U.S military and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of any blame in attacks that left four Americans dead nearly four years ago.

The findings by the Democrats on the committee conclude that the Department of Defense "could not have done anything differently" on Sept. 11, 2012, that could have saved Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

As the general election shifts into high gear, a pair of Republican governors and a 15-term representative this week voiced their frustrations with the party's presumptive presidential nominee and have decided they cannot get onboard the Trump train.

Fred Upton, R-Mich., joins Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and also Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran for president against Donald Trump.

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