Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He has spent most of the 2016 presidential cycle covering the race for the GOP nomination.

When he's not on the campaign trail, Booker produces pieces from the White House, Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court and other federal agencies for NPR News magazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He previously served as the network's lead producer from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. Booker served in a similar capacity during the 2012 presidential campaign producing pieces 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 the politics grind to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and is was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not working he enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and playing golf.

A friend of the white man accused of killing nine black churchgoers in June was arrested by the FBI Thursday, according to the Columbia, S.C., newspaper The State.

Joey Meek has stated he was a friend of Dylann Roof, the man who allegedly shot a small group of people gathered for Bible study at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17. The State reports:

Crews continue to search for two people who have been missing since Monday when two separate flash floods swept through parts of southern Utah and killed more than a dozen people.

The two missing include an adult hiker and a 6-year-old boy.

Searchers recovered two bodies in Zion National Park on Wednesday and continued to search for a missing hiker there.

In nearby Hildale, Utah, Mayor Phillip Barlow named the missing six-year-old as Tyson Lewis Black.

Much of America's political focus has understandably been on the 2016 presidential race. There is, however, a more immediate problem on the horizon.

Congress has two weeks to pass a measure to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30. If no agreement is reached, federal agencies could be shuttered again — the second time in three years.


Taco Bell wants to change its reputation — and the key is booze.

On Tuesday, Taco Bell announced it is launching a new concept that "redefines fast food experience." The first of these "experiences" will open in Chicago next week, and another one will follow later this month in San Francisco.

Firefighters in Northern California continue to battle a pair of massive wildfires that together have charred more than 135,000 acres and destroyed more than 750 homes. At least one person, a 72-year-old woman, is known to have died.

Cooler temperatures and moist weather were helping fire crews Tuesday as they tried to gain the upper hand on the Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties, about an hour's drive from Sacramento. Officials say that fire was about 37 percent contained.

The suspect in the shooting deaths of two people in Mississippi has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a police chase late Monday, according to authorities.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Paul Boger reports that police in Greenville, Miss., confirmed the death of the suspect, 45-year-old Shannon Lamb. Boger adds:

The world's most famous plumber reached a milestone over the weekend as Nintendo's Super Mario Bros celebrated the 30th anniversary of its release Sunday.

The celebration came a day before the video game company named executive Tatsumi Kimishima as its new president.

NBA legend Moses Malone, a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player and voted one of the NBA's greatest 50 players of all time has died. He was 60 years old.

The 6-foot-10 Malone earned the moniker "Chairman of the Boards" for his rebounding prowess. He was a 13-time all-star who was part of the Philadelphia 76ers that defeated the Los Angeles Lakers for the 1983 NBA championship.

Senate Democrats banded together and blocked a resolution disapproving the landmark nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran and five other nations on Thursday, and in doing so handed President Obama a major foreign policy victory.

The procedural vote fell two votes shy of the 60 needed to proceed. The significance of the vote is that the controversial accord, which lifts sanctions on Tehran in exchange for Iran curtailing its nuclear program, will be enacted without a major showdown between the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress.

President Obama is planning to "scale up" the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. and is informing his administration to make preparations to allow in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

The announcement came Thursday from White House spokesperson Josh Earnest during the daily press briefing. Earnest said the U.S. is on track to allow 1,500 Syrians by the end of current the fiscal year.

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.

The giant semiconductor manufacturer Intel will be severing ties with a long- running science and mathematics competition that has awarded millions of dollars in prize money to America's top high school students.

Intel has been a corporate sponsor of the Science Talent Search since 1998, according to the Society For Science, the group that administers the contest.

Senate Democrats are on the verge of delivering a big win to President Obama on the nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran and five other world powers.

With three more Democrats announcing Tuesday they were backing the accord, it gave supporters enough votes to prevent the passage of a disapproval resolution. Any such resolution would sink the White House-backed nuclear deal that lifts sanctions on Tehran in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

The American dentist who caused an international uproar by killing an iconic lion during a big-game hunting expedition in Zimbabwe over the summer returned to work at his Minnesota practice Tuesday.

Walter Palmer had been out of the public eye since being linked to the July killing of Cecil, a lion who was a tourist favorite and the subject of academic research.

Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig met his self-imposed goal of crowdfunding $1 million by Labor Day, and Sunday on ABC announced he's running for the Democratic nomination for president.

Lessig, an activist with a grass-roots following among some progressives, says he's running on a singular platform — the Citizen Equality Act of 2017. It would expand voting access, ban gerrymandering and institute campaign finance reform.

It was supposed to be a routine photo op.

The Obama administration Wednesday issued an after-action assessment of the police response to the demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., that erupted last year following the killing of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black resident of the city, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

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.

The federal trial of a Madison Police Department officer accused of using excessive force on an unarmed Indian man began in Huntsville Tuesday.

Madison Police Department officer Eric Parker is charged with violating the civil rights of Sureshbhai Patel, an unarmed 57-year-old Indian man, during a daytime confrontation in February. The encounter was caught on a police cruiser dash cam video. Patel is seen being forcefully swept off his feet and slammed to the ground, causing severe injuries.

The incident sparked an international outcry.

Updated on Sept. 1 at 10:18 a.m. ET

President Obama called to offered condolences to the wife of the slain Harris County Sheriff Deputy, Darren Goforth who was killed last week at a Houston-area gas station.

Though they were not victorious in Sunday's Little League World Series title game, the Red Land Little League Team received a hero's welcome from fans in Lewisberry, Pa., Sunday night.

They lined the streets, cheered and waved signs for a team that still owns the bragging rights to the title "United States champions," which they won on Saturday. But the next day, Red Land came up short in a tension-filled Little League World Series title game — jumping out to an eight-run lead but ultimately losing 18-11 to Japan.

The White House announced Sunday that President Obama is changing the name of North America's highest peak.

Mount McKinley — named after William McKinley, the 25th president, who served in the White House until his assassination in 1901 — is returning to its traditional Alaska Native name, Denali.

Obama will make a public announcement of the name change in Anchorage Monday, during a three-day visit to Alaska.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley announced on Sunday that he will support the White House-backed nuclear deal with Iran.

Merkley becomes the 31st Senate Democrat to endorse the agreement publicly, leaving the Obama administration just three votes shy of having enough votes to sustain a veto of a congressional resolution of disapproval — that is, of being able to advance the deal over Republican objections.

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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.

Five months after climbing a stone wall to enter the White House grounds, Curtis Smith used a knife to slash at a sheriff's deputy at an entrance to the Chester County, Pa., courthouse on Tuesday. The guard shot and killed Smith.

Here's part of a statement released by Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan:

Death row inmate Bernardo Tecero is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, making him 11th person to be put to death in the state this year.

Tecero, a Nicaraguan national, is condemned for murder of a school teacher during an armed robbery of a Houston dry cleaning establishment in 1997. A Texas jury convicted him in 2000.

There is no dispute Tecero is the killer. At issue, however, is whether or not he should be executed.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station received a shipment that included whiskey on Monday but they won't be allowed even a taste test.

Sierra Leone's last known Ebola patient, Adama Sankoh, has left the hospital, dancing down a red carpet, with the president of the country cheering her on.

"It was like she was a rock star. There were at least 100 people there — politicians, press — everyone wanting a photograph of her," said a spokesman for the International Medical Corps (IMC) in Makeni.

It had the makings of a storybook ending.

Tiger Woods, who's in the midst of the worst stretch of golf in his legendary career, was on the verge of quieting all the critics who said he was finished. All he had to do was something he hasn't done in two years — win a golf tournament.

A victory at Wyndham Championship Sunday would not just have given him 80 career victories, two behind the career record set by the great Sam Snead; it would also have propelled Woods into the playoffs. A solo second-place finish would have left him with a slim chance.

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