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 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 12:50 a.m. ET on Friday

More than 24 hours after thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol, President Trump on Thursday night condemned the violence in a video he posted on social media, calling it a "heinous attack."

The video, which comes more than two months after the election that he fought to find a way to reverse, marks the first time Trump acknowledges that he lost — coming as close as he likely will get to a concession.

Updated at 3:43 a.m. ET

Lawmakers on Wednesday blocked objections to President-elect Joe Biden's election win in Arizona and Pennsylvania Wednesday evening, paving the way for Congress to formalize Biden's victory.

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.

President-elect Joe Biden did a final campaign push in Georgia on Monday afternoon in support of Democratic Senate candidates the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff as the state prepares for a tight runoff race that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.

Describing the election as one with seismic implications for the rest of the nation, Biden urged Georgians to turn out on Tuesday and vote for the two Democrats.

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."

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

Vice President Pence, second lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams received a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday at the White House in a televised event aimed at showing the vaccine is safe and effective.

Pence, wearing a short-sleeve dress shirt, pushed up his sleeve to get the vaccine. He appeared to be smiling underneath his mask and did not watch as he was administered the vaccine by a member of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

"I didn't feel a thing! Well done!" Pence said after getting the shot.

High-ranking officials, including President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Pence, are making preparations to get the COVID-19 vaccine, hoping to instill trust and confidence in the vaccine ahead of its widespread distribution as the death toll climbs to new heights.

Updated at 9:18 p.m. ET

On the day electors around the country voted to reaffirm his victory, President-elect Joe Biden called for Americans to come together in unity and healing, vowing to help pull the nation through the coronavirus pandemic and criticizing the dangerous and false rhetoric of election malfeasance that some Republicans have promoted.

He delivered a clear rebuke to President Trump, who continues to challenge the results unsuccessfully. "In America, politicians don't take power — people grant power to them," Biden said.

Update at 2:38 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced his nominee for defense secretary despite some lawmakers' concerns about naming a recently retired military officer to the key civilian Pentagon post.

Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Lloyd Austin, the retired U.S. Army four-star general, as his pick for secretary of defense in his incoming administration, two sources familiar with the decision confirmed to NPR.

Austin joins a growing and diverse list of nominees for Biden's cabinet, which the president-elect has said he wants to reflect the diversity of America. If confirmed, Austin would be the first African American to lead the department.

President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday said he has asked the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to become his chief medical adviser and said he plans to call on Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration.

Updated at 2:38 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden stressed a return to multilateralism Tuesday as he introduced key national security and foreign policy appointees and nominees for his incoming White House Cabinet, moving forward with the traditional transition process even though President Trump still hasn't formally admitted defeat.

Updated at 8:21 p.m. ET

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted Monday to certify the state's election results after weeks of attempts by President Trump, the outgoing Republican nominee, to overturn his opponent's victory. Three members voted in favor of certification, and one abstained.

The White House said Friday that there had been no external pressure from the Trump administration to slow the formalizing of the election's outcome by the General Services Administration, even as President Trump has continued his unsuccessful campaign to overturn the election results.

"The president's been very clear: He wants every legal vote to be counted and to make sure that no illegal votes are counted," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in the first formal briefing she has held in several weeks, repeating false talking points about widespread fraud.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

Georgia's secretary of state said Tuesday that some fellow Republicans have tried to pressure him into disqualifying legal ballots that may not have favored President Trump.

Brad Raffensperger, who was earlier endorsed by Trump, said in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered that he had been contacted by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's office in an effort to convince him to discard some legal absentee ballots.

Updated at 2:02 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden is drawing on a number of senior operatives from his campaign to fill out key top positions in his White House.

Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday outlined his plan for rehabilitating the U.S. economy, emphasizing the importance of getting control of the coronavirus pandemic.

As Biden spoke, the shadow of President Trump's refusal to concede was apparent, with the president-elect making clear that he was being kept from information that would be vital to taking over the presidency early next year.

"More people may die if we don't coordinate," Biden said on plans for vaccine distribution.

Four days after Americans cast the final ballots in the 2020 White House race, votes are still being counted but Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has maintained his lead in electoral votes.

"We're going to win this race with a clear majority," Biden said late Friday, speaking alongside his running mate, Kamala Harris, in his home state of Delaware.

"What's becoming clear each hour is that record number of Americans, of all races, faiths, religions, chose change over more of the same," he said.

Updated 4:43 p.m. ET

President Trump makes five stops in five different swing states Sunday, while his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, focuses on Pennsylvania just days before Election Day.

Trump's jam-packed schedule highlights the uphill battle he faces for reelection and the categorically dissimilar style of campaigning he has taken in contrast to Biden.

Pages