Brakkton Booker | KNKX

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 12:15 p.m. ET

Dennis Muilenburg, the embattled CEO of Boeing, is resigning from his post, the aerospace giant announced Monday. The company says its board of directors has named David L. Calhoun, the current chairman, as successor.

At least two people began shooting at a house party in Chicago in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to police, who say that 13 people were shot and being treated at area hospitals.

The Associated Press reports a 37-year-old man has been charged in connection with the shooting.

No one was killed, but several victims were in critical condition, according to police.

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point announced Friday it has wrapped up an investigation into whether cadets flashed a "white power" hand signal during ESPN's pregame broadcast of the Army-Navy football game earlier this month.

Its conclusion: "The cadets were playing a common game, popular among teenagers today, known as the 'circle game' and the intent was not associated with ideologies or movements that are contrary to the Army values," according to a statement from the academy where U.S. Army officers are trained.

Former Republican Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin drew widespread condemnation last week when reports highlighted that he had pardoned more than 400 convicted criminals in his final days in office. Bevin justified his actions by telling The Washington Post, "I'm a believer in second chances."

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Southwest Airlines — which operates more Boeing 737 Max planes than any other domestic carrier — will suspend the troubled jetliner type from its flight rotation for a longer period than it originally planned.

The low-cost airline announced Tuesday it is "proactively" nixing the Max from its schedule until April 13. Southwest had earlier projected it would reintroduce the jetliners by early March.

For millions of Americans, time is running out to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act's online marketplace healthcare.gov.

For those who will not receive health coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2020 through an employer or other programs like Medicaid, Medicare or the Children's Health Insurance Program — commonly referred to as CHIP — the deadline to purchase health insurance is Sunday, Dec. 15.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom rejected a bankruptcy restructuring plan by the state's largest utility, saying it "falls woefully short" of safety standards mandated under state law.

The governor's criticisms come a week after Pacific Gas and Electric announced a multibillion-dollar settlement proposal to pay victims of several wildfires linked to the utility's faulty equipment.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

Former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin departed the governor's mansion three days ago, but the reverberations of some of his final actions are still being felt across the state.

Bevin, a Republican who narrowly lost a bid for a second term last month, issued pardons to hundreds of people, including convicted rapists, murderers and drug offenders.

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday formally recognizing the mass killings of more than 1 million Armenians in Turkey that took place a century ago.

The measure, approved without objection, is seen as a stinging rebuke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It also comes over numerous objections from the Trump administration, which has been working to defuse tensions with the Turkish leader in recent months.

Turkey has condemned the move and said it has put the relationship between the two nations at risk.

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.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Friday that he is suspending a policy that permitted correctional staff to perform a strip search on an 8-year-old girl last month as she was trying to visit her father.

The incident took place days before the Thanksgiving holiday at Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, about a 75-minute drive west of Richmond.

Updated 4:55 p.m. ET

Members of the United Auto Workers executive board Thursday approved Rory Gamble as president of the union through June 2022.

He was elevated from his acting role and will serve the rest of the term vacated by former president Gary Jones, who resigned last month after being implicated in a years-long federal investigation looking into embezzlement and bribery at the union.

Former President Jimmy Carter has been released from a Georgia hospital after being admitted over the weekend to receive treatment for a urinary tract infection.

The Carter Center announced Wednesday the 39th president "looks forward to further rest and recovery at home."

"Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was discharged from Phoebe Sumter Medical Center this afternoon," Carter Center spokesperson Deanna Congileo said in a statement.

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday formally named businesswoman and political novice Kelly Loeffler as his pick to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson, who is retiring at the end of this month.

Loeffler's is slated to take office on Jan. 1, the day after Isakson steps down. In August, Isakson cited health concerns as the reason for leaving office with three years left in his term.

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.

Former President Jimmy Carter was admitted to a Georgia hospital over the weekend to receive treatment for a urinary tract infection, according to the Carter Center, which says the 39th president "looks forward to returning home soon."

Spokesperson Deanna Congileo said in a statement that Carter "was admitted to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Ga., this past weekend for treatment for a urinary tract infection."

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

Alabama's Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the city of Birmingham broke state law when it ordered plywood screens be placed around the base of a Confederate monument in 2017.

The 9-0 ruling by Alabama's high court reversed a ruling by a lower court that was favorable to the city.

The Jefferson Circuit Court ruled in January that Alabama's law protecting historical monuments was ambiguous and that it also violated the city of Birmingham's right to free speech.

There were two sure bets heading into Tuesday night's basketball matchup between perennial powerhouse Duke University and Stephen F. Austin State University. One: Duke would dominate. Two: Few people outside of Nacogdoches, Texas, could confidently say where the smaller school's campus is located.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he thinks the U.S. should investigate a conspiracy theory — debunked by American intelligence services — that Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic National Committee's computer server in 2016.

"Anytime there is information that indicates that any country has messed with American elections, we not only have a right, but a duty, to make sure we chase that down," Pompeo said at a news conference Tuesday when asked whether the U.S. and Ukraine should launch a probe into the matter.

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.

After nearly three years away from the game, Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback who became a lightning rod for taking a knee to protest social injustice during the national anthem, is one step closer to being back in the NFL.

Kapernick, a once-electrifying player who has a Super Bowl appearance on his resume, got notice from the NFL on Tuesday that a private workout has been arranged for him on Saturday in Atlanta.

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.

Rep. Elijah Cummings' widow is resigning her post as chair of Maryland's Democratic Party to run for her late husband's congressional seat.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings formally announced her candidacy Tuesday morning in Baltimore.

Like seriously, if you post something to the 'gram and not one of your followers hits "like," is it even worth sharing?

Beginning next week, some U.S. users of Instagram will be able to test this theory as the social media platform will begin hiding the "likes" counter that appears underneath a posted photo or video.

"Right now, we're testing making like counts private, so you'll be able to see how many people liked a given photo of yours or a video of yours, but no one else will," Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram announced Friday.

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.

Germany's largest airline Lufthansa has grounded 1,300 flights as the carrier attempts to weather internal turbulence caused by thousands its flight attendants on strike. The walkout, expected to last two days, is impacting travel hubs throughout Europe.

The airlines apologized to passengers for the inconvenience, while the flight attendants' union, UFO, says the strike was unavoidable because labor negotiations with Lufthansa are at a stalemate.

As NPR's Rob Schmitz reports, the walkout affects some 180,000 passengers.

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."

Updated 5:37 p.m. ET

A Russian court has sentenced a man to six years in prison. His crime? Being a practicing Jehovah's Witness.

Sergei Klimov was sentenced Tuesday in the Siberian college town of Tomsk. He is one of a number of Jehovah's Witnesses to be convicted in the two years since Russia's Supreme Court banned the religious group as an extremist organization.

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