Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He has spent most of the 2016 presidential cycle covering the race for the GOP nomination.

When he's not on the campaign trail, Booker produces pieces from the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and other federal agencies for NPR News magazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He previously served as the network's lead producer from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Booker served in a similar capacity during the 2012 presidential campaign producing pieces 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 the politics grind to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and is was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not working he enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and playing golf.

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

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Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former governor of Massachusetts, officially announced Friday morning that he is running for the Senate seat being vacated by seven-term GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Romney tweeted a video announcement, after delaying a planned launch on Thursday in the wake of the deadly mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Romney, who spoke out forcefully against Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign, blasted Washington and took veiled swipes at the president in the video.

The White House's Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal, released Monday, calls for work requirements for those who receive public housing subsidies and slashes funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by $8.8 billion.

Updated 8:26 p.m. ET

House Democrats went on the offensive Saturday amidst a controversy surrounding a memo released a day earlier that argues the Justice Department and the FBI abused their surveillance authority.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, released a 6-page rebuttal memo he's circulated to his colleagues and given to the media, including NPR.

Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, seen as a rising political star with a famous last name, will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union on Tuesday.

Top Democratic leaders in Congress made the announcement Thursday evening, calling Kennedy a "relentless fighter for working Americans." Kennedy is the grandson of the late Robert Kennedy, the former U.S. attorney general and New York senator who was assassinated in 1968. He is also the great nephew of both the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and the late president John F. Kennedy.

Updated at 8:22 p.m. ET

Real estate and casino magnate Steve Wynn relinquished his duties as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee on Saturday after The Wall Street Journal reported an alleged pattern of sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving employees of Wynn Resorts.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

Hours after the U.S. government announced it would again begin processing renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals due to a federal court order, President Trump claimed that the program — which has granted a temporary legal reprieve to people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — was "probably dead."

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., announced Wednesday he will not seek what would be his 10th term in Congress, making him the second California Republican this week, along with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, to call it quits rather than face a possible Democratic wave in this year's midterms.

Flanked by congressional Republican leadership and some members of his Cabinet at Camp David Saturday, President Trump vowed to be "very involved" in midterm elections later this year and said he had some "incredible meetings" with Republicans as the party charts its legislative course for 2018.

President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to highlight the historic drop in the unemployment rate among African-Americans, a day after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the rate fell below 7 percent for the month of December — the lowest mark for black Americans since the bureau began tracking the data in the early 1970s.

"The African American unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the lowest rate in 45 years. I am so happy about this News! And, in the Washington Post (of all places), headline states, 'Trumps first year jobs numbers were very, very good.' "

An Army National Guardsman was among those who lost his life while rescuing several people from a massive fire in an apartment building in New York on Thursday. It was the deadliest fire in the city in more than a quarter century.

Emmanuel Mensah, 28, a native of Ghana who immigrated to New York's Bronx borough about five years ago, had been staying in the Bronx apartment with a family friend, who was married and had four children.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took to social media to poke fun at his political colleagues including an "airing of grievances" about government waste, President Trump, Fox News and Washington politics overall in a tweetstorm on Saturday.

Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

Opponents of special counsel Robert Mueller ramped up their attacks over the weekend with a new claim that he improperly collected thousands of emails from President Trump's transition team and is using them as an illegitimate basis for much of his investigation.

Mueller's office said his team has obtained all the evidence it's using in its investigation properly. And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him, told Congress last week that he monitors Mueller's operation closely and has seen nothing improper.

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., who has been haunted for two weeks by allegations of sexual harassment, said Saturday that he will not seek re-election in 2018.

Kihuen's announcement comes a day after the House Ethics Committee said it has opened an investigation looking into the allegations leveled at the 37-year-old freshman congressman by a former campaign aide.

In a statement, Kihuen reiterated that he had done nothing wrong and said he looked forward to being cleared of any allegations of sexual misconduct.

Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET

Trump Administration officials at the Department of Health and Human Services are pushing back on a report saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mandate to no longer use words and phrases including "fetus," "transgender" and "science-based."

Alabamians head to the polls Tuesday to vote for their next U.S. senator. For some, it will be the third time this year they've cast a ballot to determine who will assume the seat recently occupied by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions for two decades.

The circuitous path to get to this point has been nothing short of extraordinary.

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.

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.

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Copyright 2017 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 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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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:

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