Alana Wise

Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.

Prior to joining WAMU, Wise was a politics and later companies news reporter at Reuters, where she covered the 2016 presidential election and the U.S. airline industry. Ever the fan of cherry blossoms and unpredictable weather, Alana, an Atlanta native and Howard University graduate, can be found roaming the city admiring puppies and the national monuments, in that order.

 

Updated at 5:42 p.m. ET

Some Democratic lawmakers on Friday sought justification from the Biden administration for Thursday's airstrikes in Syria, marking the first significant test of President Biden's military approach.

Just over a month into President Biden's administration, his cabinet remains sparsely staffed as nearly two dozen of his nominees await Senate confirmation.

Neera Tanden, President Biden's pick to run the Office of Management and Budget, saw her path to confirmation narrow significantly on Monday, after two of the Senate's more centrist Republicans said they would not lend their support to her confirmation.

Sens. Susan Collins and Mitt Romney will not support Tanden's confirmation to lead the powerful OMB over past partisan attacks she made online, particularly against Republicans. The two have supported other Biden nominees.

Tributes to the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh poured in on Wednesday following news of his death earlier in the day. He was 70 years old.

Former President Trump praised the talk show host as a "legend."

"He was with me right from the beginning. And he liked what I said and he agreed with what I said. And he was just a great gentleman. Great man," Trump said in a phone interview on Fox News.

Donald Trump's legal team on Friday sought to justify the propriety of a phone call he made to Georgia election officials, an action that is now part of criminal probe into the then-president's actions in the state.

Attorneys representing former President Donald Trump in his historic second impeachment trial on Friday equated instances of violence and rioting that broke out during last summer's protests for racial justice with the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection by pro-Trump extremists, accusing Democrats of hypocrisy in supporting the earlier demonstrations.

The defense showed clips of property destruction and violence alongside videos of Democratic lawmakers speaking in support of the demonstrations. In some protests for racial justice, sporadic looting and violence took place.

Updated at 11:19 a.m. ET

The Biden administration will begin phasing in a new asylum process on Feb. 19 for the backlog of people seeking asylum on the southern U.S. border, but Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told NPR that migrants must avoid traveling to the U.S. border while the new system gets up and running.

An attorney representing former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial accused Democratic House impeachment managers of treating the prosecution like "an entertainment package" and said he did not see the need for the defense to make a protracted case to support Trump's innocence.

"When you bring in a movie company and hire a large law firm to make a professional product, that takes things out of context and presents it as an entertainment package," attorney David Schoen said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.

The House impeachment managers on Thursday outlined what they said was former President Donald Trump's history of approving of violence against his political opponents, painting the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump extremists as a predictable end to a term in office punctuated by the encouragement of violence.

A senior adviser to Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the former president was confident in his legal team's representation of him in the ongoing Senate impeachment trial, despite Trump's displeasure with their performance the day before, and criticism

Sen. Bill Cassidy on Tuesday said former President Donald Trump's legal team did a "terrible job" defending Trump when arguing against the constitutionality of moving forward with a Senate impeachment trial. The Louisiana Republican broke with most of his party in voting to proceed with Trump's historic second impeachment trial.

Bruce Castor, an attorney representing former President Trump in his second impeachment trial, opened Trump's defense with a long-winded, nonlinear opening argument, claiming that the effort to try Trump was nothing more than an emotionally-driven partisan response to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.

"The political pendulum will shift one day," he said. "And partisan impeachments will become commonplace."

Updated on Saturday at 6:22 p.m. ET: Special coverage of the trial has ended.

The Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump of the charge of inciting an insurrection on Saturday.

The Senate voted to allow witnesses earlier Saturday, only to reverse course just a few hours later, avoiding what could have turned into days or even weeks of further proceedings.

Updated on Saturday at 6:20 p.m. ET: The video for this event has ended.

Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial came to a close on Saturday, with Democrats falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict the former president.

The final vote was 57 to 43. Seven Republicans joined with all of the chamber's Democrats and independents to vote to convict.

Trump faced a single impeachment charge, incitement of an insurrection, for his role in urging a mob to attack the Capitol complex on Jan. 6.

The acting U.S. Capitol Police chief on Friday promised sweeping changes to her department in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol complex. The riot, conducted by pro-Trump extremists, left five people dead, including a police officer.

Updated on Feb. 6 at 8:40 a.m. ET

President Biden pledged to make his Cabinet the most diverse in U.S. history, better representing the makeup of the country.

An NPR analysis of the past three administrations' initial Cabinets shows that so far, he has kept his word, with an inner circle that outdoes his two most recent predecessors in matters of representation of race and gender.

Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET

Former President Donald Trump will not testify in the Senate impeachment trial, due to begin next week, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, tells NPR's Domenico Montanaro.

"The president will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding," Miller said.

In a Thursday letter, Trump attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen called the request a "public relations stunt."

The Senate has voted to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He becomes the first Latino and first immigrant to lead DHS.

The vote was narrower than for some of President Biden's other Cabinet nominees. Mayorkas was confirmed by a 56-43 vote on Tuesday.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

The acting U.S. Capitol Police chief is recommending the complex be fitted with permanent fencing to help better secure Congress, as lawmakers and law enforcement officials continue to grapple with fallout from the Jan. 6 insurrection by violent pro-Trump extremists.

Yogananda Pittman, who took the helm of the force following the riot, said in a statement Thursday that "vast improvements" were needed for the physical security of the Capitol area to prevent a repeat of the deadly attack earlier this month.

The union representing U.S. Capitol Police officers says the force's leadership failed to relay the known threat of violence adequately ahead of the Jan. 6 deadly riot, calling the acting chief's recent admission of prior knowledge of the threat to Congress "a disclosure that has angered and shocked the rank-and-file officers."

The White House on Monday announced that its regular press briefings will now include an American Sign Language interpreter. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the move was "part of this administration's accessibility and inclusion efforts."

She noted that Monday's interpreter, identified as Heather, was translating the briefing virtually (a livestream of the interpreter played alongside Psaki during Monday's press conference).

Updated at 1:20 p.m. ET

President Biden gave his first presidential address to Americans on Wednesday in a star-studded Inauguration Day event that went unattended by his predecessor.

In his remarks, Biden promised to help the nation heal, both from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as well as from political rifts that had deepened considerably during the term of former President Donald Trump.

Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET

Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, having defeated Donald Trump in an acrimonious, divisive election last November.

Biden was sworn in alongside Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in an unusual inauguration ceremony, conducted amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and heightened physical security risks.

Updated at 8:37 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden outlined his plans for economic relief from the coronavirus crisis on Thursday, citing the need for a more robust vaccination plan as well as for additional direct payments to American families to help recover the U.S. economy. His plan, called the American Rescue Plan, is expected to cost $1.9 trillion.

Updated at 11:29 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved a symbolic resolution urging Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment against President Trump, after the president's No. 2 has expressed that he would not exercise that option. The move comes nearly a week after violent pro-Trump extremists breached the U.S. Capitol.

Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET

Chad Wolf, acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, is stepping down, according to a senior department official.

Wolf's departure from the Trump administration, just days before the president's norm-shattering term is set to come to a close, is the most recent Cabinet resignation since last week. Several other officials in the Trump administration have left since Wednesday, citing the deadly insurrection on Capitol Hill.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Democrat Jon Ossoff has defeated Republican David Perdue in the Georgia runoff, The Associated Press said Wednesday, giving Democrats control of the U.S. Senate.

"It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate," Ossoff said earlier Wednesday.

Perdue, whose Senate term expired earlier this week, has not conceded the race.

Updated at 2:05 a.m. ET

Democrat Raphael Warnock has edged out Georgia Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a closely watched runoff election.

"Tonight, we proved that with hope, hard work and the people by our side, anything is possible," he told supporters in a virtual speech.

The Associated Press has also called the race for Warnock, who appeared to have beaten his opponent by just a few tens of thousands of votes.

Updated at 9:52 a.m. ET Wednesday

President-elect Joe Biden warned Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic will get worse before it gets better.

"Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us," Biden told reporters during a year-end news conference in Wilmington, Del.

He said that Americans, when united, could overcome the crisis, and he called the first vaccines being administered a good thing. But he noted that distribution of the vaccines is one of the biggest operational challenges the country has ever faced.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden formally introduced his climate team on Saturday, saying that the people he has selected will lead his administration's "ambitious plan to address the existential threat of our time, climate change."

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