Brakkton Booker | KERA News

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.

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.

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 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/.

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.

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.

In a statement, Delta said the additional cancellations were to allow the carrier "to reset the operation and get crews, aircraft and other operational elements in place to take care of customers."

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.

Pages