Ayesha Rascoe

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House reporter for NPR. In her current role, she covers breaking news and policy developments from the White House. Rascoe also travels and reports on many of President Trump's foreign trips, including his 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and his 2018 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.

Prior to joining NPR, Rascoe covered the White House for Reuters, chronicling President Barack Obama's final year in office and the beginning days of the Trump administration. Rascoe began her reporting career at Reuters, covering energy and environmental policy news, such as the 2010 BP oil spill and the U.S. response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. She also spent a year covering energy legal issues and court cases.

She graduated from Howard University in 2007 with a B.A. in journalism.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

A federal watchdog concluded that President Trump broke the law when he froze assistance funds for Ukraine last year, according to a report unveiled on Thursday.

The White House has said that it believed Trump was acting within his legal authority.

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President Trump has decided to stay out of the impeachment inquiry being conducted by the House of Representatives.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone rejected an offer from House Democrats that would have allowed the president to send counsel to represent him at future impeachment hearings.

In a short two-paragraph letter to Democrats, Cipollone said the impeachment inquiry is "completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness."

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President Trump will be at the NATO summit in London next week, just as the House Judiciary Committee opens its impeachment hearings. NPR's White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe joins us. Ayesha, thanks so much for being with us this week.

Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET

Vice President Pence made a surprise visit to Iraq on Saturday to greet U.S. troops ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Pence and second lady Karen Pence flew to Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq, aboard a C-17 military plane, along with the vice president's chief of staff Marc Short, his national security adviser Keith Kellogg and a small group of reporters.

The visit was kept secret because of security concerns.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

President Trump had what he called a "wonderful and very productive" meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, at the same time as House impeachment hearings got underway on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

It's the call that spurred an impeachment inquiry. On July 25, President Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The phone call would become the foundation of a whistleblower complaint alleging that Trump held up military aid for Ukraine to pressure Zelenskiy to investigate Trump's political rivals.

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

The impeachment inquiry into President Trump turned its spotlight on Monday on four top White House officials, asking them to testify behind closed doors as Democrats probe whether Trump held up military aid as leverage to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

But none of them showed up, citing legal advice.

President Trump said on Friday that he knows what it's like to be treated unfairly, comparing his own experience with an impeachment inquiry in Congress to inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Trump was speaking at the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum held at the historically black Benedict College in South Carolina. The forum also featured Democrats vying for the presidential nomination, and was focused on the future of criminal justice policies.

Vice President Mike Pence scolded the NBA and Nike on Thursday for backing down from support for Hong Kong protesters after China complained.

"Some of the NBA's biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China," Pence said in a speech about the Trump administration's China policy in Washington.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump says he is lifting sanctions on Turkey after the country agreed to what he called a permanent cease-fire in northern Syria, ending Turkey's military offensive that began after the U.S. pulled troops from the area.

Trump argued that his decision to remove U.S. forces — criticized by U.S. Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike — helped to bring the deal to fruition.

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President Trump uses his Twitter feed the way past presidents used the White House briefing room. It's the place where he announces policy and delivers his message to the American people. And it's also the place where he, often gleefully, tries to skewer his political opponents.

As the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry continues and Trump's own reelection efforts gather speed, an NPR analysis shows that Trump's broadsides against Democrats in Congress have intensified since July. And his language about nonwhite lawmakers has also grown more heated.

President Trump says his request for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden was driven by his concerns about corruption.

"This is not about politics, this is about corruption," Trump said last week. "If you look and you read our Constitution and many other things, I have an obligation to look at corruption."

But anti-corruption advocates say his administration's record of fighting corruption is weak and not in line with Trump's rhetoric.

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