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 3 p.m. ET

If there were any doubts about the indelible legacy the late civil rights advocate and Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings left in his nearly 40 years of public service, look no further than the political luminaries who delivered tributes at his funeral in Baltimore on Friday.

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke, telling stories about a man who went from humble beginnings to occupy a place of power in the U.S. government.

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.

Updated at 1:05 a.m. ET Thursday

Hurricane Dorian is strengthening again and is now a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, although "some fluctuations in intensity are expected during the next 12 hours," according to the National Hurricane Center.

At least 20 people have died in the Bahamas as a result of Dorian, local officials say.

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.

AT&T, Sprint and Verizon and nine other telecommunications companies teamed up with attorneys general of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia to announce a new pact to eradicate a common scourge in America: illegal robocalls.

The goal of the National African American Gun Association is to introduce black Americans to guns and also instruct them on how to use them.

Some see the group as an alternative to the National Rifle Association for black gun owners, but it has some notable differences. Organizers say it is a civil rights organization that aims to build community and promote self-protection.

Since its creation in 2015, the group has seen rapid growth with roughly 30,000 members and 75 chapters nationwide. Leaders expect another 25 chapters by next year.

Twenty years ago, a pair of students killed a teacher and a dozen of their classmates at a high school in Littleton, Colo. The shooters at Columbine High School used semi-automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns in the attack before turning the guns on themselves.

Just a few months before that shooting, the FBI launched the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to try to prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing guns.

Updated at 3:57 p.m. ET

After years of criticism and multiple lawsuits alleging that Facebook engaged in discrimination by allowing advertisers to select which users could see their ads, the social media giant announced it will make changes to its ad platform by the end of the year.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

The House passed what advocates call the most significant gun control measure in more than two decades on Wednesday when it approved the first of two bills aimed at broadening the federal background check system for firearms purchases.

The vote on the first bill, dubbed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, passed largely along party lines 240 to 190 with Democrats who control the House cheering as they carried the legislation across the finish line.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees around the country are returning to work after being furloughed for more than a month. Thousands of others in the federal workforce did work during the 35-day shutdown but didn't get paid.

The Trump administration promises that by Friday federal workers will be paid the two consecutive paychecks that were missed as a result of the government being shuttered.

With the partial government shutdown on the verge of becoming the longest in U.S. history, many housing advocates fear thousands of low-income Americans are at risk of being evicted. More than 1,000 government-backed housing contracts have already expired and potentially more will do so in the coming weeks.

Since the shutdown began last month, approximately 1,150 federal rental assistance contracts have not been renewed due to funding lapses at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lawmakers unveiled the much-anticipated farm bill compromise Monday night, ending the months-long impasse over whether a critical piece of legislation that provides subsidies to farmers and helps needy Americans buy groceries could pass before the lame-duck session concludes at the end of the year.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

President Trump traveled to Pittsburgh Tuesday, to pay tribute to the victims of a weekend massacre that claimed the lives of 11 worshipers at a synagogue. It also came on the same day mourners began to bury loved ones and demonstrators took to the streets to protest Trump's presence.

Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, proposed on Monday new changes to an Obama-era rule aimed at combating segregation in housing policy.

Carson wants the rule to focus more on reducing the regulatory burdens of local jurisdictions and on giving them more control, while encouraging actions that bolster housing choice and increase housing supply.

The Trump administration's school safety commission held its first public listening session Wednesday, a day after the panel's chair, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the commission wouldn't focus on guns.

Alessia Modjarrad, a graduating high school senior from Montgomery County, Md., spoke at the day-long event at the Education Department in D.C. She said the few solutions being offered by the administration were "misguided and insufficient."

Updated at 10 p.m. ET

The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson Wednesday requesting "all documents and communications" related to the redecorating of his office and HUD's handling of a whistleblower.

Updated at 8:22 p.m. ET

Real estate and casino magnate Steve Wynn relinquished his duties as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee on Saturday after The Wall Street Journal reported an alleged pattern of sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving employees of Wynn Resorts.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

Hours after the U.S. government announced it would again begin processing renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals due to a federal court order, President Trump claimed that the program — which has granted a temporary legal reprieve to people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — was "probably dead."

Flanked by congressional Republican leadership and some members of his Cabinet at Camp David Saturday, President Trump vowed to be "very involved" in midterm elections later this year and said he had some "incredible meetings" with Republicans as the party charts its legislative course for 2018.

Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET

Trump Administration officials at the Department of Health and Human Services are pushing back on a report saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a mandate to no longer use words and phrases including "fetus," "transgender" and "science-based."

Updated at 10:34 p.m. ET

Speaking at a campaign rally Friday night in Florida — but about 20 miles from the Alabama state line — President Trump seized upon news that one of GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore's accusers had added to a yearbook inscription which she has offered in support of her allegations that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager decades ago.

"So did you see what happened today? You know the yearbook?" Trump asked attendees in Pensacola, Fla. "There was a little mistake made."

Texas Republican Mike Conaway will now preside over the House Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. This comes after the announcement on Thursday morning that the embattled Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., will be stepping away from the Russia probe.

This post was updated at 2:38 pm

The lingering chasm between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her chief primary rival was bridged Tuesday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders teaming up with Clinton at a campaign event, where he formally endorsed Clinton's bid for the White House.

Though he said an "honest debate" about abortion in the United States is valid, President Obama, following the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, again called for action on guns.

In his first news conference since Friday's deadly shootings at that Planned Parenthood clinic Friday, Obama said Tuesday that Congress, states and local governments will have to act in order to prevent "people who are deranged or have violent tendencies" from getting weapons that can inflect mass casualties.

A Chinese investment holding company intends to put down stakes in the United States after signing a letter of intent to purchase oil properties in western Texas for $1.3 billion through a limited liability partnership.

In a stunning turn of events, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has withdrawn from the race to become the next speaker of the House.

McCarthy was the favorite ahead of Thursday's closed-door vote by House Republicans. He was in a three-way race for the top spot in the House with Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Daniel Webster, R-Fla.

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among the speakers at a Tea Party rally Wednesday to denounce the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump, who leads the Republican presidential field in virtually all national polls, had his trademark bluntness on full display. He told the crowd of hundreds on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol that he has experience with negotiating, and that the United States got a bad deal with Iran.

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski announced Wednesday that she will support the Iran nuclear agreement, giving the White House the final vote needed to protect the accord from a Republican-led effort to defeat the measure.

(This post was last updated at 3:43 p.m. ET.)

Two journalists for Virginia TV news station WDBJ were killed by a gunman Wednesday morning while they were broadcasting live at a waterfront shopping center about an hour southeast of Roanoke, Va.

Reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward were doing a live report from Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta when a gunman opened fire, killing Parker and Ward and injuring Vicki Gardner, the head of a local Chamber of Commerce who was being interviewed. Gardner is now in stable condition, hospital officials say.