Barbara Sprunt

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.

President-elect Joe Biden will choose South Carolina's Jaime Harrison to head the Democratic National Committee, a source close to the decision, who was not authorized to speak ahead of the formal announcement, told NPR's Scott Detrow.

Harrison is a former South Carolina Democratic Party chair, and his selection highlights the influence of another South Carolina Democrat, Rep. James Clyburn, the majority whip in the U.S. House.

As a sixth Republican came forward on the House floor to announce support for impeaching President Trump, the president issued a statement calling for calm amid FBI warnings of demonstrations leading up to Inauguration Day.

Updated at 2:24 p.m. ET

With less than two weeks before he assumes office, President-elect Joe Biden is on track to have few, if any, Cabinet members confirmed on Inauguration Day, the first president to face such a personnel issue in recent history.

Biden said it was urgent for the Senate to confirm his Cabinet selections quickly during remarks Friday afternoon where he introduced the new members of his economic team.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have called for President Trump to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment.

"I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment," Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday. "If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment."

As pro-Trump extremists clash with police and breach the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered a citywide curfew starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

"During the hours of the curfew, no person, other than persons designated by the Mayor, shall walk, bike, run, loiter, stand, or motor by car or other mode of transport upon any street, alley, park, or other public place within the District," her statement reads.

The curfew will last until 6 a.m. on Thursday.

It does not apply to essential workers, including media with outlet-issued credentials.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., delivered blistering remarks Wednesday afternoon against President Trump and his Republican colleagues who are objecting to the Electoral College results, saying of Congress: "We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids."

"We'll either hasten down a poisonous path where only the winners of an election actually accept the results or show we can still muster the patriotic courage that our forebears showed, not only in victory, but in defeat," he said.

Democrat Raphael Warnock made history in one of Georgia's two Senate runoffs on Tuesday when he became the first Black person to be elected to the Senate from the state and the first Black Democratic senator from the South.

"Georgia certainly made me proud last night," Warnock told NPR's Noel King Wednesday morning. "They decided to send a kid who grew up in public housing to the United States Senate to represent the concerns of ordinary people."

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

President Trump on Sunday night signed a massive coronavirus relief and spending package, relenting on a measure he had called a "disgrace" days earlier.

The legislation, which combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with government funding through September 2021, was passed by large majorities in both chambers of Congress on Dec. 21 — only to see Trump blindside legislators the next day and blast the bill.

In a statement Sunday night, Trump said lawmakers will pursue some of his sought-after changes.

Updated at 3:48 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden publicly received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Monday as the death toll from the disease nears 320,000 in the United States.

Rolling up his sleeve at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., Biden told nurse practitioner Tabe Mase, "I'm ready!" and thanked her for her work with COVID-19 patients. "We owe you big, we really do," Biden said.

Updated at 9:37 a.m. ET

On Monday, 538 electors in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will cast their votes for president, marking a key next step for Joe Biden as he gets closer to officially becoming the 46th president of the United States.

The incoming second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, will join the faculty of Georgetown Law, the largest law school in the United States.

"This role at Georgetown will be separate and apart from his official role as second gentleman," a transition spokesperson said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the representative was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Emhoff, who is severing ties with law firm DLA Piper, where he was a partner, will serve as a distinguished visitor from practice and teach a course in the spring semester on entertainment law disputes.

President Trump is doubling down on claims that the results of the presidential election must be known on election night, falsely asserting "that's the way it's been and that's the way it should be."

With less than two weeks until voting concludes, President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will face off for the final time in a debate on Thursday, likely marking Trump's last chance to reach a massive audience as he trails Biden in polls nationally and in key states.

Updated at 8:18 p.m. ET

President Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening, planning on receiving the remainder of his treatment for COVID-19 at the White House.

He was seen pumping his fist in the air on the way out of the building and didn't respond to any questions from the press. Upon arriving back at the White House, Trump walked up the staircase of the South Portico entrance, removed his mask, gave reporters standing below a thumbs-up and saluted Marine One.

President Trump's selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg came just 38 days before the presidential election on Nov. 3.

The move to have her on the court by then has ignited a major partisan battle on Capitol Hill.

Famed journalist Bob Woodward is addressing criticism he has received for not promptly sharing with the public what the president told him about the coronavirus and the government's response in a series of interviews earlier this year.

Woodward's new book, Rage, which details the interviews, is set for release Tuesday.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday forcefully pushed back against President Trump's campaign message that voters wouldn't be safe under a Biden administration.

"The simple truth is Donald Trump failed to protect America. So now he's trying to scare America," Biden said in remarks at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Biden called Trump power hungry and lambasted the president for what Biden sees as a lack of moral leadership — a common refrain from the former vice president on the campaign trail.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

Steve Bannon, President Trump's former political adviser, has pleaded not guilty through his counsel to wire-fraud and money-laundering charges related to an online scheme that federal prosecutors said was responsible for defrauding hundreds of thousands of people.

Bannon appeared via video link in the Southern District of New York hours after his arrest Thursday morning on a yacht off the Connecticut coast.

Updated 7:50 p.m. ET

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has announced he will suspend the controversial changes he instituted to the U.S. Postal Service until after the November election.

"To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded," DeJoy said in a statement.

Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his newly named running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, made their first joint appearance Wednesday following Biden's announcement of the selection a day earlier.

Joe Biden says that he believes prosecuting a former president would be a "very unusual thing and probably not very ... good for democracy," but he would not stand in the way of a future Justice Department pursuing criminal charges against President Trump after he leaves office.

The comments from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee came during a virtual interview Tuesday with members from the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Some residents of Washington, D.C., have lived there for years but still cast their votes from elsewhere in the United States.

D.C. is home to over 700,000 people, a population greater than Wyoming and Vermont — but unlike citizens in those states, D.C. residents don't have anyone voting for their interests in Congress.

Updated at 8:17 a.m. ET

After years of racist comments that lost him the support of many Republican Party leaders, conservative Iowa Rep. Steve King has lost his bid for reelection to a primary challenge by GOP state Sen. Randy Feenstra.

President Trump was asked Wednesday why his administration hasn't reopened the healthcare.gov exchanges to help bridge the insurance coverage gap for those who do not have private insurance and who do not qualify for Medicaid.

Updated at 8:37 p.m. ET

During his briefing with the coronavirus task force on Monday, President Trump said Russia has sent medical equipment to the United States to combat the growing pandemic.

"And I have to say, we've had great relationships with a lot of countries," Trump said. "Russia sent us a very, very large planeload of things, medical equipment, which was very nice."

Is that so?

During his Tuesday evening briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump answered a question about shortages of masks by suggesting that it's possible to use scarves instead.

During his coronavirus task force briefing Monday evening, President Trump repeated his claim that the United States has done "more tests by far than any country in the world."

Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative for COVID-19, his office announced on Saturday.

"Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence," Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, said in a tweet.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

The White House sought to show that it's in control of the sprawling coronavirus crisis on Friday even as it acknowledged enduring shortfalls in key supplies.

Administration officials also said they're imposing new controls on travel and restricting passage through the northern border with Canada and the southern border with Mexico following agreements with those governments.

Here were some key points from the latest briefing.

Too few tests

In the face of the coronavirus worsening across the U.S. and reordering the daily life of millions of Americans, fewer people view the pandemic as a real threat, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just about 56% of Americans consider the coronavirus a "real threat," representing a drop of 10 percentage points from last month. At the same time, a growing number of Americans think the coronavirus is being "blown out of proportion."

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