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.

 

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).

Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading immunologist who became a household name for his work on the White House coronavirus response team, described working under the Biden administration as "liberating" from past fears of retribution from his previous boss: former President Donald Trump.

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.

President Trump on Tuesday released an unrepentant virtual farewell address to the nation, describing himself as the "only true outsider ever to win the presidency," ahead of his reluctant departure from office Wednesday.

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.

Several Republican members of Congress grew angry on Tuesday over new security systems implemented at the Capitol. The safety measures, which included metal detectors and physical pat-downs in some instances, were introduced after last week's deadly insurrection at the complex.

"You are creating a problem you do not understand the ramifications of," Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas was heard yelling at police who were conducting the check, according to a press pool report.

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 12:50 a.m. ET on Friday

More than 24 hours after thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol, President Trump on Thursday night condemned the violence in a video he posted on social media, calling it a "heinous attack."

The video, which comes more than two months after the election that he fought to find a way to reverse, marks the first time Trump acknowledges that he lost — coming as close as he likely will get to a concession.

Updated at 11:45 p.m. ET

Congress reconvened Wednesday night to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, just hours after the U.S. Capitol was thrust into chaos by supporters of President Trump — an angry mob that breached the complex in an unprecedented violent act at the seat of America's federal government.

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.

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday introduced five additional Cabinet nominees to join his administration in January, tapping several alumni of the Obama administration.

The new members of his team, Biden said, will help him address the country's inequality, exacerbated by the coronavirus and the economic downturn. "These crises have ripped the blinders off the systemic racism in America," he said, noting that Black, Latino and Native Americans are more likely to die from COVID-19, and the unemployment gap between Black, Latino and white Americans.

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Katherine Tai as U.S. Trade Representative, a source familiar with transition discussions confirms to NPR. The source spoke on condition of anonymity about private conversations.

Biden and his administration prepare to face a drastically different trade landscape than the one Biden last saw as vice president.

Tai's selection was first reported by Politico.

Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET

In a statement released by the Biden-Harris transition team, Hunter Biden, the president-elect's son, said Wednesday he was recently informed he is under federal investigation over a tax matter.

Update at 2:38 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced his nominee for defense secretary despite some lawmakers' concerns about naming a recently retired military officer to the key civilian Pentagon post.

President-elect Joe Biden met with leaders of several civil rights organizations on Tuesday to discuss the incoming administration's priorities on racial justice and diversity, with a keen focus on whom Biden should nominate as the next attorney general of the United States.

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