Brakkton Booker | New Hampshire Public Radio

Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.

He covers a wide range of topics including issues related to federal social safety net programs and news around the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

His reporting takes him across the country covering natural disasters, like hurricanes and flooding, as well as tracking trends in regional politics and in state governments, particularly on issues of race.

Following the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Booker's reporting broadened to include a focus on young activists pushing for changes to federal and state gun laws, including the March For Our Lives rally and national school walkouts.

Prior to joining NPR's national desk, Booker spent five years as a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He spent most to the 2016 presidential campaign cycle covering the contest for the GOP nomination and was the lead producer from the Trump campaign headquarters on election night. Booker served in a similar capacity from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. During the 2012 presidential campaign, he produced pieces and filed dispatches 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 politics to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker started his career as a show producer working on nearly all of NPR's magazine programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and former news and talk show Tell Me More, where he produced the program's signature Barbershop segment.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not on the road, Booker enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and working on his golf game.

Updated at 5:39 p.m. ET

At least five people are dead and eight others remain unaccounted for after an eruption on a volcanic island off the coast of New Zealand on Monday, local officials have confirmed.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead investigator in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump, says the House Intelligence Committee's report "shows abundant evidence" that Trump used the power of his office to "condition official acts" in exchange for political favors.

In other words, the California Democrat says Trump met a threshold set forth in the Constitution that says a president can be impeached and removed from office for committing treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

About 100 pages of newly released State Department documents show Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had at least two phone conversations in the weeks before a U.S. ambassador in Ukraine was removed from her post.

Additionally, the files show a White House aide played a role in connecting Giuliani's team with officials at the State Department so that Giuliani could get on Pompeo's official call schedule in late March.

A former CIA officer was sentenced to nearly two decades in a federal prison Friday for conspiracy to spy for China.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Hawaii, was sentenced to 19 years for conspiracy to deliver national defense information to aid a foreign government.

A career diplomat who overheard a U.S. ambassador's phone chat with President Trump this summer in which Trump allegedly referred to "investigations" to be carried out by Ukrainian officials is set to testify in the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry Thursday.

David Holmes, a senior staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, is expected to expound on testimony he gave to lawmakers last week behind closed doors.

Record-breaking cold and snowfall is numbing many parts of the U.S. from the Great Plains to the East Coast and north through New England. By Wednesday the cold snap is expected to spread farther south to the upper Texas coast in what is being described as an "arctic outbreak" by the National Weather Service.

The dead-of-winter temperatures come with roughly five weeks of fall remaining on the calendar.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam vows it's "a new day and a new landscape" in Virginia. He says when Democrats take over the state legislature for the first time in a generation at the start of the new year, passing gun violence prevention laws will be a top priority.

He adds guns "shouldn't be a partisan issue," even though he says he's prepared to pass new "common sense" gun laws without Republican support.

Pete Buttigieg says he understands "the daunting nature" of the presidency. He touts his executive experience as a twice-elected mayor of South Bend, Ind., giving him an advantage over other Democratic presidential candidates, particularly those who serve in Congress.

And three years into the current administration, Buttigieg proclaims that of the candidates running for the White House in 2020, President Trump is the "least qualified of all."

George Papadopoulos was a minor figure in Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. He later became a major player in the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia and pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. He served time in federal prison and wrote a book.

So, what could Papadopoulos possibly do next? Of course: He'll run for a U.S. congressional seat.

Within a span of a few hours, former vice president and current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden both condemned President Trump's use of the word "lynching" to describe the impeachment inquiry — and apologized for doing virtually the same thing more than 20 years ago.

Tech entrepreneur, author and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang says the impeachment inquiry being conducted by House Democrats "is the right way to go."

But he also cautions that those who support impeachment should be realistic about the chances of a GOP-controlled Senate voting to remove President Trump from office.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

Michael McKinley, a seasoned diplomat — and up until last week, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — has testified before House committees that are leading the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

His soaring rhetoric has drawn comparisons to former President Barack Obama. He prides himself as the only Democratic presidential hopeful to live in an inner-city neighborhood. Reforming a criminal justice system plagued by racial disparities is central to his campaign.

Yet New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of two top-tier African American candidates in a crowded Democratic field, continues to struggle making inroads with black voters — something he addressed on Saturday in a wide-ranging interview with two voters that was moderated by NPR's Ari Shapiro.

New Jersey Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Cory Booker says he is unequivocal in his support on whether the impeachment inquiry of President Trump should proceed, regardless of polls showing that a majority of Americans want the president's fate decided by next year's election.

Updated 6:34 p.m. ET

Pacific Gas & Electric began cutting off power to nearly 800,000 customers across large swaths of Northern and Central California on Wednesday morning, in a planned outage that it says is necessary to avoid the risk of fire.

PG&E gave residents in 34 counties advance warnings about the power cut, which it says would "proactively" reduce the dangerous effects of a potential "widespread, severe wind event" forecast for Wednesday.

Four Paris police employees were killed when a man armed with a knife went on a stabbing rampage Thursday at police headquarters, across from Notre Dame Cathedral.

Authorities said at a news conference that three men who were police officers and a woman who was an administrative worker died in the attack around noon local time. The assailant was shot and killed. It was not clear how many people might have been wounded.

A Virginia doctor received a 40-year prison sentence on Wednesday for illegally prescribing more than half a million doses of oxycodone, hydromorphone, fentanyl and other opioids to patients for years.

Authorities say Dr. Joel Smithers operated a "pill mill" out of Martinsville, Va., located about 15 miles north of the Virginia-North Carolina border and about 175 miles southwest of Richmond.

Former Democratic Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke said he firmly supports the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump, calling it the "right course to pursue."

He also charged that Senate Republicans are complicit in allowing the president to engage in "willful lawbreaking."

Updated at 5:12 p.m. ET

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro says the need for impeachment proceedings is clear.

NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked Castro if the impeachment process would be good for the nation, especially with the national elections taking place next year.

Former Rep. Darrell Issa, a once powerful chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who retired last year, says he wants to return to Washington.

And he is seeking to unseat a fellow Republican to do so.

"I will be the next congressman from the 50th Congressional District," Issa proclaimed at a news conference Thursday in El Cajon, Calif.

The California Republican had previously represented the neighboring 49th District before he decided against seeking reelection in 2018.

Things have certainly changed since then.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has acknowledged for the first time that he is accountable for the killing of prominent critic and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The revelation is made in an upcoming PBS documentary set to air next week, a day before the one-year anniversary of Khashoggi's death.

Joe Biden, the former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate, is accusing President Trump of "an overwhelming abuse of power."

Biden's comments on Saturday come amid reports that President Trump urged the leader of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate Biden's son during a phone conversation this summer.

According to multiple reports, what was allegedly said during that July 25 conversation between Trump and the Ukrainian president is now at the center of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint that has roiled the White House.

Major broadcast companies including CBS, Viacom, and WarnerMedia say they are pulling ads by e-cigarette makers, as concerns over growing teen use of the products and the hundreds of cases of illnesses linked to vaping continue to mount.

Sarah Thomas, an American ultramarathon swimmer, has just completed a swim that no other human on the planet has ever accomplished.

The 37-year-old from Colorado plunged into waters off the shore of Dover, England, in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Her goal: swim across the English Channel.

Then do it again.

And again.

And again.

Thomas completed the final leg of her swim at around 6:30 a.m. local time Tuesday in just over 54 hours— the first person to cross the channel four times without stopping.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

The U.S. Coast Guard says it has rescued the fourth and final crew member from an overturned car carrier vessel in waters off the coast of Brunswick, Ga., after reporting earlier in the day that all but one had been pulled to safety.

In a tweet Monday evening, the Coast Guard's 7th District Southeast, located in Miami, tweeted that "All crew members are accounted for. Operations now shift fully to environmental protection, removing the vessel and resuming commerce."

Updated at 9:18 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Dorian is crawling along as a Category 2 storm after spending more than a day thrashing Grand Bahama Island, where at least seven people are reported dead.

The core of the storm will "move dangerously close" to the coasts of Florida and Georgia throughout the night and into Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Tuesday

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says at least five people have died in the Abaco Islands, where Hurricane Dorian made landfall Sunday as "the strongest hurricane in modern records" to hit the archipelago.

Minnis described the hurricane as a "historic tragedy" that's brought "unprecedented and expensive" devastation to Abaco.

Loved ones of Jessi Combs, a well-known racer and a host of the popular science-themed television show Mythbusters, are speaking out days after she died attempting to break her own land speed record. She was 39 years old.

"I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman," Terry Madden, a member of Combs' team said in an Instagram post. "She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know."

Three people turned themselves in to police Monday to face criminal charges in connection with the deaths of a dozen patients at a South Florida rehabilitation facility days after Hurricane Irma in 2017.

A fourth person was arrested by authorities in Miami-Dade County.

Those charged all worked at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills when the storm knocked out a transformer that supplied power to the facility's air conditioning system.

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