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.

 

An attorney representing former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial accused Democratic House impeachment managers of treating the prosecution like "an entertainment package" and said he did not see the need for the defense to make a protracted case to support Trump's innocence.

"When you bring in a movie company and hire a large law firm to make a professional product, that takes things out of context and presents it as an entertainment package," attorney David Schoen said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.

A senior adviser to Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the former president was confident in his legal team's representation of him in the ongoing Senate impeachment trial, despite Trump's displeasure with their performance the day before, and criticism

Bruce Castor, an attorney representing former President Trump in his second impeachment trial, opened Trump's defense with a long-winded, nonlinear opening argument, claiming that the effort to try Trump was nothing more than an emotionally-driven partisan response to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.

"The political pendulum will shift one day," he said. "And partisan impeachments will become commonplace."

Updated on Saturday at 6:22 p.m. ET: Special coverage of the trial has ended.

The Senate acquitted former President Donald Trump of the charge of inciting an insurrection on Saturday.

The Senate voted to allow witnesses earlier Saturday, only to reverse course just a few hours later, avoiding what could have turned into days or even weeks of further proceedings.

Updated on Saturday at 6:20 p.m. ET: The video for this event has ended.

Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial came to a close on Saturday, with Democrats falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict the former president.

The final vote was 57 to 43. Seven Republicans joined with all of the chamber's Democrats and independents to vote to convict.

Trump faced a single impeachment charge, incitement of an insurrection, for his role in urging a mob to attack the Capitol complex on Jan. 6.

Updated on Feb. 6 at 8:40 a.m. ET

President Biden pledged to make his Cabinet the most diverse in U.S. history, better representing the makeup of the country.

An NPR analysis of the past three administrations' initial Cabinets shows that so far, he has kept his word, with an inner circle that outdoes his two most recent predecessors in matters of representation of race and gender.

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.

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — the controversial, QAnon-supporting freshman congresswoman — on Monday found herself facing blowback from her own party's leadership for espousing dangerous and unfounded conspiracies about American politics.

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.

President-elect Joe Biden addressed a grieving nation on Tuesday after the United States had earlier in the day passed 400,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

Speaking at a service to remember Americans killed by the virus, Biden praised medical professionals for their roles in caring for the ill and their families during the pandemic.

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 6:51 p.m. ET

Chad Wolf, acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, is stepping down, according to a senior department official.

Wolf's departure from the Trump administration, just days before the president's norm-shattering term is set to come to a close, is the most recent Cabinet resignation since last week. Several other officials in the Trump administration have left since Wednesday, citing the deadly insurrection on Capitol Hill.

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 Trump on Monday went on yet another disinformation campaign about the presidential election during a stump speech for Republican Senate candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. The final push before the state's Tuesday runoff election exemplified the pattern of conspiracies that are closing out his presidency.

Speaking in Dalton, Ga., in the northwest part of the state, Trump vowed to continue his fight to overturn the presidential election, which he lost overwhelmingly in both the popular and electoral vote to President-elect Joe Biden.

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."

Leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives received an FBI briefing regarding Rep. Eric Swalwell's ties to a suspected Chinese spy, as a report of his association with the woman prompted Republicans to call for the California Democrat's removal from his position on the House Intelligence Committee.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., were briefed on Friday. McCarthy has said he requested the meeting.

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.

Cedric Richmond, a congressman who is a close adviser to President-elect Joe Biden, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the transition team said on Thursday.

Richmond, who Biden picked as his director of the Office of Public Engagement, was not in close contact with Biden, his spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield said in a statement. He will quarantine for 14 days and be tested twice before returning to in-person work, she said.

Updated at 7:11 p.m. ET

Vice President Pence will publicly receive a COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, the White House has announced.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams and second lady Karen Pence also will receive the vaccine.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to receive the vaccine "as soon as next week," a transition official confirmed to NPR. Biden has also said he would get the vaccine publicly.

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.

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