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Tamara Keith

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.

Previously Keith covered congress for NPR with an emphasis on House Republicans, the budget, taxes, and the fiscal fights that dominated at the time.

Keith joined NPR in 2009 as a Business Reporter. In that role, she reported on topics spanning the business world, from covering the debt downgrade and debt ceiling crisis to the latest in policy debates, legal issues, and technology trends. In early 2010, she was on the ground in Haiti covering the aftermath of the country's disastrous earthquake, and later she covered the oil spill in the Gulf. In 2011, Keith conceived of and solely reported "The Road Back To Work," a year-long series featuring the audio diaries of six people in St. Louis who began the year unemployed and searching for work.

Keith has deep roots in public radio and got her start in news by writing and voicing essays for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday as a teenager. While in college, she launched her career at NPR Member station KQED's California Report, where she covered agriculture, the environment, economic issues, and state politics. She covered the 2004 presidential election for NPR Member station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and opened the state capital bureau for NPR Member station KPCC/Southern California Public Radio to cover then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In 2001, Keith began working on B-Side Radio, an hour-long public radio show and podcast that she co-founded, produced, hosted, edited, and distributed for nine years.

Keith earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree at the UCB Graduate School of Journalism. Keith is part of the Politics Monday team on the PBS NewsHour, a weekly segment rounding up the latest political news. Keith is also a member of the Bad News Babes, a media softball team that once a year competes against female members of Congress in the Congressional Women's Softball game.

It has been only a month since President Trump held his last campaign rally. It was March 2 when several thousand people squeezed into a North Carolina arena to cheer on a confident president seeking reelection at a time of peace and prosperity.

Trump touted the record low unemployment rate to rousing applause, repeating the theme of his 2020 campaign.

"Jobs are booming in our country, incomes are soaring, poverty has plummeted, confidence is surging," said the president.

Two weeks ago, President Trump entered the White House briefing room and announced an aggressive plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Stay home for 15 days, he told Americans. Avoid groups of more than 10 people. "If everyone makes this change, or these critical changes, and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus," he said.

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The toll of the coronavirus pandemic is steep - hundreds of thousands of confirmed infections around the world, tens of thousands of lives lost.

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The coronavirus crisis was gaining steam when President Trump announced via tweet on a Friday night that he was replacing his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, with North Carolina congressman and frequent confidante Mark Meadows.

Nearly three weeks later, Meadows is still transitioning into his new job and hasn't yet resigned from Congress.

He may have been inside the room at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday for White House negotiations with senators on the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package — but he still had one foot back in his old job.

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Updated at 7 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday stopped in at the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency marshaling the response to coronavirus — a major political test for his administration.

The trip itself was almost derailed by coronavirus fears, and mixed signals about what was happening created an on-again, off-again drama that played out in front of television cameras. The chaotic impression clashed with the White House quest to show that the public health crisis is under control.

Last week, even as he responded to growing fears about coronavirus, President Trump had his eye on the markets. At the start of what turned out to be a terrible week for stock prices, Trump tweeted that coronavirus was "very much under control" and implied that stock market losses were overdone.

"The stock market is up 80%, in some cases much higher than that," Trump said. "401(k)s are at record levels." But if you look at the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it was up by 56% on Feb. 22, compared with the date of Trump's election. Some of those gains were erased in the past week.

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Tonight, President Trump tried to quell rising fears about the effects of the growing coronavirus outbreak.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the man largely responsible for making his state's presidential caucuses a prominent early contest, has declined the opportunity to defend caucus systems in an interview with NPR.

"I will talk about that after Super Tuesday, after when we get California and Texas out of the way," Reid said. "Right now, we're gonna make the best we can of the system we have."

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The silence was broken suddenly and unexpectedly. A woman burst out from a tent at Dover Air Force Base where families waited for a ceremony marking the return of their loved ones' remains to U.S. soil.

Screaming and running toward a massive gray C-17 transport plane, the woman made it part way up the ramp toward the cargo hold, her footsteps reverberating on the metal ramp as relatives and a service member tried to catch her and hold her back.

When President Trump stands before Congress on Tuesday to deliver his State of the Union address, he will be a president impeached, but not yet acquitted.

Traditionally, the State of the Union address is the most important and most-watched speech of the year for a president. Doing it in the midst of an impeachment trial adds another political dimension.

President Clinton faced a similar situation in 1999. He delivered his State of the Union on the very day his legal team began presenting his impeachment defense to senators.

Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET

The White House is offering a fiery legal response to the articles of impeachment, in an executive summary of a legal brief obtained by NPR.

Decrying a "rigged process" that is "brazenly political," President Trump's legal team accuses House Democrats of "focus-group testing various charges for weeks" and says that "all that House Democrats have succeeded in proving is that the President did absolutely nothing wrong."

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Updated on Jan. 17 at 9:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has picked some high-wattage lawyers to round out his defense team for the Senate impeachment trial — a group of attorneys who are as comfortable in front of the television cameras as they are in courtrooms.

Ken Starr, a Fox news commentator whose special counsel investigations led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment, will join the team. Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz also will help deliver opening arguments.

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On the night that the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump, he delivered a two-hour campaign rally speech that took a detour — into the bathroom. His long riff about plumbing, household appliances and lightbulbs had the crowd in Battle Creek, Mich., cheering and laughing along.

"I say, 'Why do I always look so orange?' You know why: because of the new light," Trump said in a complaint about energy-efficient lightbulbs. "They're terrible. You look terrible. They cost you many, many times more. Like four or five times more."

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Impeachment is the ultimate form of censure, a permanent mark on a president. But there's little indication that President Trump has been chastened by last week's impeachment vote. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Trump is leaning in, attacking political opponents in deeply personal terms and setting records for rally length and the sheer volume of his tweets.

"I think it's the new 'not normal' that we're in right now," said Doug Heye, a former House Republican leadership aide.

In late 1987, Joe Biden was in the midst of two high-stakes battles: one for the Democratic presidential nomination, and another, as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to try to stop President Reagan's nominee to the Supreme Court, Robert Bork.

His fight for the presidential nomination would end abruptly, dealing Biden his biggest political setback up until that point. But Biden was successful in the other battle, as he thwarted Bork's nomination to the high court.

Plagiarism charges against Biden

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Tucked inside a must-pass defense bill expected to make its way through the Republican-controlled Senate next week is a sweeping policy change: 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all 2.1 million federal employees.

It's not a surprise that Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic congresswoman from New York, would be celebrating the move. She's been working to get it passed for two decades, after her own experience in the workplace.

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Sitting next to each other with cameras rolling on Tuesday, President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron made their differences known on trade, Turkey, Russia, ISIS and the appropriate role for NATO.

Early on in the extended exchange between the leaders of two of the most significant powers in the NATO alliance, Trump expressed confidence that their personal connection could overcome policy disagreements.

"That's usually the case with the two of us," Trump said. "We get it worked out."

President Trump leaves Washington on Monday to meet foreign leaders at a NATO summit. But if history is any guide, Trump won't be able to leave behind the impeachment inquiry that looms over his White House.

At one time, lawmakers would refrain from criticizing a president traveling overseas, abiding by the adage that "politics stops at the water's edge." But even in 1998, when then-President Bill Clinton was traveling in Ireland and the Middle East during the impeachment hearing process, he could not escape questions about what was happening in Washington.

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On Capitol Hill today, hours of testimony aimed at filling out the picture surrounding President Trump's pressure campaign on Ukraine.

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Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

President Trump on Friday released the rough transcript of a brief, 16-minute congratulatory conversation he had on April 21 with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, timed to coincide with the beginning of the second day of open hearings in the House impeachment inquiry.

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The Constitution of the United States says an official may be impeached for a few things, quote, "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

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When the House impeachment inquiry began more than a month ago, much of the focus was on a complaint from a whistleblower that drew attention to a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during which Trump asked for investigations into potential political rivals.

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