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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 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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked men's tennis player, outlasted Andy Murray in the French Open final Sunday in Paris. In the process he caps a career Grand Slam and becomes the first man in two generations to hold all four major championships simultaneously.

The eventual champion got off to a slow start, dropping the opening set to Murray 3-6. But behind the strength of his forehand, the No. 1 seeded Djokovic roared back, winning the next three sets 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 en route to his first French Open title.

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