Bobby Allyn

Bobby Allyn is a business reporter at NPR based in San Francisco. He covers technology and how Silicon Valley's largest companies are transforming how we live and reshaping society.

He came to San Francisco from Washington, where he focused on national breaking news and politics. Before that, he covered criminal justice at member station WHYY.

In that role, he focused on major corruption trials, law enforcement, and local criminal justice policy. He helped lead NPR's reporting of Bill Cosby's two criminal trials. He was a guest on Fresh Air after breaking a major story about the nation's first supervised injection site plan in Philadelphia. In between daily stories, he has worked on several investigative projects, including a story that exposed how the federal government was quietly hiring debt collection law firms to target the homes of student borrowers who had defaulted on their loans. Allyn also strayed from his beat to cover Philly parking disputes that divided in the city, the last meal at one of the city's last all-night diners, and a remembrance of the man who wrote the Mister Softee jingle on a xylophone in the basement of his Northeast Philly home.

At other points in life, Allyn has been a staff reporter at Nashville Public Radio and daily newspapers including The Oregonian in Portland and The Tennessean in Nashville. His work has also appeared in BuzzFeed News, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

A native of Wilkes-Barre, a former mining town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Allyn is the son of a machinist and a church organist. He's a dedicated bike commuter and long-distance runner. He is a graduate of American University in Washington.

He isn't on the ballot in Nevada's caucuses, but billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on the national debate stage for the first time, joining five other Democratic candidates Wednesday night during the debate in Las Vegas. He qualified after surging in the polls.

Updated at 8:43 p.m. ET

Ex-governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was released from federal prison Tuesday evening following a commutation earlier in the day from President Trump that cut short his punishment on corruption charges over his attempt to sell the Senate seat vacated by then-President Barack Obama.

The White House announced that Blagojevich is among 11 people who received clemency.

More than 1,100 former Department of Justice officials are calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign after his department lowered the prison sentence recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime ally of President Trump, in a move that's led to accusations of political interference.

Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET

After a fifth-place finish in Iowa, Amy Klobuchar's head-turning performance in New Hampshire on Tuesday night has some calling the Minnesota senator "the comeback kid."

Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET

Michael Bloomberg is distancing himself from a 2015 speech in which the former New York City mayor defended aggressive police tactics in minority neighborhoods.

Audio of the talk began recirculating online, generating fresh debate over stop and frisk, one of Bloomberg's signature policies as mayor, forcing him to back away from the remarks.

Bloomberg, in a statement, noted how he had apologized for championing stop and frisk before kicking off his presidential bid.

Updated at 10:26 p.m. ET

The coronavirus death toll has climbed to 811 in mainland China, according to Chinese health officials, a grim tally that surpasses the number of global fatalities recorded during the SARS epidemic between 2002 and 2003.

Updated at 12:04 a.m. ET

Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is neck and neck with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Iowa caucuses, according to a partial release of results from the state Democratic Party.

With 71% of results in, Buttigieg has about 27% of the State Delegate Equivalent count, with Sanders close behind with 25% of delegate support.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

House Democrats and President Trump's defense team made their final arguments in the Senate impeachment trial before lawmakers vote later this week on whether to remove Trump from office.

Both sides presented opposing versions of the president's handling of aid for Ukraine last summer and the impeachment proceedings so far, before ultimately arriving at divergent conclusions.

Updated at 8:00 p.m. ET

The Senate impeachment trial adjourned Friday evening, with a plan to return Monday morning to continue. Closing arguments will be presented Monday, after which senators will be permitted to speak on the floor. A final vote, during which President Trump is expected to be acquitted, is expected next Wednesday around 4 p.m. ET.

Updated 11:28 p.m. ET

Sen. Lamar Alexander said on Thursday night that he will not vote to allow witnesses and evidence into the impeachment trial of President Trump.

Updated at 10:56 p.m. ET

Senators weighing impeachment charges against President Trump spent Thursday firing questions at lawyers as they did the day before, just as the prospect of former national security adviser John Bolton's appearance as a witness continues to stoke speculation. The Senate will enter its next phase Friday — considering whether to allow witnesses and evidence.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The Senate on Wednesday night concluded the first of two days full of questions in the impeachment trial of President Trump. The proceeding offered clues about the thinking of senators, but the session consisted mostly of trial lawyers on both sides magnifying arguments they have already delivered.

There were, however, controversial moments in which Trump's counsel took positions Democrats decried as radical or even unlawful.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a group of Senate Republicans late Tuesday that he does not yet have the votes to stop Democrats from calling witnesses during the impeachment trial of President Trump, according to people familiar with the discussion.

But even as McConnell made the concession, the dynamic remains fluid. Whether Democrats' push for witnesses succeeds or fails could come down to a group of moderate Republicans who have remained open, but uncommitted, to new witnesses since the start of the trial.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

As President Trump's legal team pressed the case for acquittal on Monday, they repeatedly made two points: the charges against Trump do not meet the constitution's criteria for impeachment. And if the president is removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, it will set a "dangerous" precedent.

"You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like quid pro quo," said one of Trump's lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, calling the charges "vague, indefinable."

Updated at 9:00 p.m. ET

House Democrats on Friday finished their third and final day of arguments that President Trump, impeached by the House, now should be convicted and removed from office by the Senate.

The president's lawyers will get their turn to lay out the case for acquittal starting this weekend.

"A toxic mess"

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

House Democrats finished their second day of oral arguments on Thursday, contending that that President Trump's attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigations was not only an attempt to cheat in the 2020 election, but Democrats said it was also the kind of behavior the nation's founding fathers hoped to guard against.

Updated 3:30 p.m. Sunday

A quiet New England community west of Hartford, Conn., has found itself roped into the impeachment saga with the emergence of an improbable character in the ongoing Ukraine scandal: Robert Hyde.

Hyde is a 40-year-old congressional candidate and former landscaper in Simsbury, Conn., who is known for being brash, foul-mouthed and for hitching his candidacy on his fervent support for President Trump.

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Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Maryland has blocked the Trump administration's executive order allowing state and local governments to turn away refugees from resettling in their communities.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the U.S. has the constitutional authority to strike Iranian proxies in Iraq and Iran on the Islamic Republic's home soil in retaliation for attacks on American forces.

Updated 8:38 p.m. Sunday ET

The Trump administration is planning to announce on Monday that more than 20 Saudi students receiving military training in the United States will be sent back to their home country, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The expulsions come in the wake of a Pentagon review of the Saudi officer who opened fire last month at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., leaving three young sailors dead and wounding eight others.

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET Sunday

As thousands of mourners flooded the streets of Iran on Sunday to mourn the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a series of dizzying developments convulsed the Middle East, generating new uncertainty around everything from the future of U.S. forces in Iraq to the battle against ISIS and the effort to quell Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Amid the fallout of the U.S. drone strike on Friday that killed Soleimani, Sunday saw the following whiplash-inducing developments unfold almost simultaneously:

Updated at 4:27 a.m. ET Friday

U.S. forces assassinated Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike early Friday near the Baghdad International Airport, an escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran that is prompting concerns of further violence in the region.

Updated 4:35 a.m. ET Monday

A man accused of stabbing and wounding five people at a rabbi's home in an Orthodox Jewish community in Rockland County, New York, just as they were lighting candles for Hanukkah, pleaded not guilty on Sunday to five counts of attempted murder.

Police have identified the alleged attacker as Grafton E. Thomas, 37, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y. He is currently in custody on attempted murder charges and one count of burglary.

President Trump has been criticized after retweeting a post to his 68 million followers on Twitter that included a name linked to the alleged whistleblower whose complaint about the president's dealings with Ukraine prompted the impeachment inquiry.

At the time of the complaint, the individual was an intelligence community official who sounded the alarm about Trump's pressure campaign with Ukraine that House Democrats cited in impeaching the president for alleged abuse of power.

The Trump campaign on Christmas Eve launched a website full of talking points intended to help supporters of the president win arguments with "that liberal snowflake relative."

Featuring videos on topics from the economy to immigration and attacks on the media, snowflakevictory.com seeks to provide pro-Trump tidbits that can be brought to the holiday dinner table.

A Roman Catholic church in rural Louisiana hoping to maximize its blessings has come up with a way to do it: filling up a crop-duster plane with holy water and letting the sanctified liquid mist an entire community.

"We can bless more area in a shorter amount of time," Rev. Matthew Barzare of St. Anne Church in Cow Island, La., told NPR.

Following this past Saturday's mass, parishioners from the church in southwestern Louisiana headed to an airstrip about five minutes away from the church.

Updated at 10:14 p.m. ET

As the U.S. House of Representatives moved closer to impeaching President Trump on Wednesday, the wide gulf between Democrats and Republicans on the allegations at the heart of the inquiry was on full display.

Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who is one of the few members of her party willing to buck President Trump, announced Wednesday she would seek reelection. Her announcement comes the same day the U.S. House of Representatives began debate on impeaching the president.

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., is among the 19 federal officials in American history who have been impeached by the House of Representatives.

Now, he wants to cast a vote to impeach No. 20: President Trump.

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