NPR

Parler calls itself a "conservative microblogging alternative" to Twitter and "the world's premier free speech platform."

But it's been offline for five days, and possibly forever, after Amazon kicked Parler off of its Web hosting service.

A federal judge has awarded more than $1 million in damages to yet another veteran who was abused by a former physician assistant at the Leavenworth VA.

It’s the third time since November that U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree has ruled against the government in cases brought by veterans charging the government with medical malpractice.

The veterans allege they were subjected to unnecessary genital exams and other physical abuse by Mark Wisner, who was a physician assistant at the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical Center from 2008 to 2014.

The White House push to vaccinate against the coronavirus will have a new name and new leadership under the Biden administration.

The "Operation Warp Speed" name will be retired, incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Friday. She said there was an "urgent need to address the failures of the Trump team approach to vaccine distribution." Psaki did not say what the new name will be.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

As thousands of National Guard troops now buttress security in Washington, D.C., and the nation, former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund is standing by his actions, and those of his agency, on Jan. 6 — the day pro-Trump rioters attacked the Capitol under his watch.

In an interview with NPR, Sund says he had already planned to have 1,400 to 1,500 officers on duty, "all hands on deck." He said Capitol Police expected a large crowd but said nothing prepared them for what actually happened.

Nearly 30 sworn police officers from a dozen departments attended the pro-Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol last week, and several stormed the building with rioters and are facing federal criminal charges as well as possible expulsion or other discipline.

The officers are from departments large and small. There was veteran officer in Houston, the nation's eighth-largest department; a sergeant in the small town of Rocky Mount, Va., and a group of Philadelphia transit officers.

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

The top federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia said Friday that investigators have not uncovered direct evidence at this point of any "kill/capture teams" targeting elected officials during the U.S. Capitol insurrection, contradicting allegations made earlier by federal prosecutors in Arizona.

U.S. prosecutors in Arizona said Thursday in a court filing against Jacob Chansley, also known as the "QAnon Shaman," that they have "strong evidence" members of the pro-Trump mob wanted to "capture and assassinate" officials.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Restaurants and bars are reeling from persistent spikes of coronavirus cases and related restrictions in their communities, driving retail spending in December down for the third month in a row.

Updated 4 p.m. ET

Law enforcement officials are bracing for possible serious security breaches and violent assaults ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's swearing-in next week. State and federal officials are taking no chances as the countdown begins for Inauguration Day.

The heightened security comes after a violent siege at the U.S. Capitol last week from pro-Trump extremists that resulted in the death of five people and forced lawmakers into hiding.

When schools shut down in the spring, that raised immediate worries about the nearly 30 million children who depend on school food. Those worries were essentially borne out, with researchers reporting a large rise in child hunger.

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was a security failure, an intelligence failure — or both.

How could security forces in the nation's capital be so swiftly and completely overwhelmed by rioters who stated their plans openly on a range of social media sites? President Trump had even tweeted on Dec. 19: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

Pandemic Fuels Record Overdose Deaths

Jan 14, 2021

After their son died, Jackie and Robert Watson found a stack of popsicle sticks in his Milwaukee apartment. He'd written an affirmation on each one.

"I am a fighter." "Don't sweat the small stuff." "My kids love me."

Brandon Cullins, 31, had been working with a drug counselor, who advised him to write the messages to himself.

Picking up the popsicle sticks, the Watsons were able to see how hard their son wanted to kick his battle with cocaine. But they also wondered why he hadn't asked them for help.

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 Sunday at 9:40 a.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Jaime Harrison to head the Democratic National Committee, elevating the South Carolina Democrat who emerged as a party star during his unsuccessful attempt at unseating Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2020.

"Together, we'll organize everywhere, invest in state parties, expand the map, and elect Democrats who will be champions for the working people of this country," Harrison tweeted shortly after Biden's transition team announced his selection on Thursday.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against the New York City Police Department, citing "a pattern of using excessive force and making false arrests against New Yorkers during peaceful protests" that sought racial justice and other changes.

Some Republicans who broke from the GOP to back the Democrats' historic second impeachment resolution for President Trump are facing heat from their local Republican parties for how they voted.

More than a year ago, all House Republicans voted against the president's first impeachment. On Wednesday, 10 GOP members joined with every Democrat to impeach Trump, some of whom were the sole representative from their state's delegation to vote that way.

As COVID-19 deaths and illnesses mount, essential workers — who are denied the chance to work from home — are struggling to stay safe. And it's far from clear whether the federal government is doing enough to protect them, according to a former top federal workplace safety official.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration official, Deborah Berkowitz, said the Trump administration has neglected COVID-19 safety at meatpacking plants and many other workplaces.

Ten Republicans crossed President Trump on Wednesday and voted to impeach him for "incitement of insurrection."

Updated 3:15 p.m. ET

Local and federal security officials expect about 20,000 National Guard members to be involved in securing Washington, D.C., for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week.

"I think you can expect to see somewhere upwards of beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in the footprint of the District of Columbia," Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said on Wednesday.

States are taking steps to tighten security at their capitol buildings following a warning by the FBI to prepare for armed protests in the days leading up to the the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. Many state capitals have already seen protests by people upset by President Trump's loss in the election.

On Wednesday, the president put out a statement responding to reports of more demonstrations.

Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy added his name to a shortlist of Republicans in Congress who unequivocally blamed President Trump for the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

But with seven days to go in the Trump presidency, he said he will not be voting for impeachment and said he might instead be in favor of a fact-finding commission and possibly censure, items with even less teeth than impeaching but not removing a president.

For the second time in his presidency, the House is moving to impeach Donald Trump, who will become the first president in history to undergo such a rebuke.

Throughout Wednesday's debate, Democrats portrayed Trump as an ongoing threat to the country and democracy, while Republicans largely either defended the president or argued that the impeachment process would only cause further division.

"We are debating this historic measure at an actual crime scene," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Wednesday morning, discussing House Resolution 24, the measure that would impeach President Trump for the second time. He was speaking in the same chamber that was evacuated one week ago as a mob of pro-Trump extremists breached security and flooded into the halls of Congress.

Updated Friday at 9:26 p.m. ET

The U.S. Census Bureau has halted all work on President Trump's directive to produce a state-by-state count of unauthorized immigrants that would have been used to alter a key set of census numbers, NPR has learned.

Up to a dozen House Republicans are likely to join Democrats on Wednesday in voting to impeach President Trump for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol one week ago, predicts Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan.

The Democratic-controlled House approved a resolution Tuesday night calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to assume the powers of the presidency.

A Minnesota judge has ruled that the former Minneapolis police officer seen in cellphone video kneeling on George Floyd's neck for several minutes last summer, will stand trial alone in March.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill ruled that the trial for Derek Chauvin, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd's death, will begin on March 8.

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff reminded American forces Tuesday of their oath to defend the Constitution following the attacks on the Capitol building last week.

Eight days from the end of his presidency, President Trump expressed no regret for his comments last week ahead of a riot and mob violence at the U.S. Capitol that resulted in the deaths of at least five people and multiple injuries.

"People thought that what I said was totally appropriate," Trump said Tuesday when asked about his role in the siege, despite many at the highest levels of government — Republicans and Democrats — saying otherwise, three of his Cabinet members having resigned and a second impeachment effort now underway.

Updated 2:20 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is making several big changes to its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, officials announced Tuesday, in a bid to jump-start the rollout and get more Americans vaccinated quickly.

The first change is to call on states to expand immediately the pool of people eligible to receive vaccines to those 65 and older, and those with underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Pages