Brandon Carter

Brandon Carter is a social media production assistant on NPR's Washington Desk.

Prior to joining NPR, he was a social media curator at The Hill and was previously an intern on NPR's social media desk during the 2016 presidential election. He graduated from Western Kentucky University and was editor-in-chief of its student newspaper, the College Heights Herald.

Brandon is from the small town of Fulton, Ky., which was once known as the "Banana Capital of the World."

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gave a staunch defense of his gun control plan during Thursday's Democratic presidential primary debate, saying that as president, he would prioritize mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons.

Quoting the candidate's past comment about selling back AR-15s and AK-47s, moderator David Muir asked O'Rourke: "Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?"

O'Rourke answered, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

Here's more of what he said:

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is the latest Democratic presidential candidate to drop out of the 2020 race.

She announced her exit Wednesday afternoon in a video posted on Twitter.

"It's important to know when it's not your time and to know how you can best serve your community and country," Gillibrand said. "I believe I can best serve by helping to unite us to beat Donald Trump in 2020."

Gillibrand thanked her volunteers and supporters in the video, saying "I'm so proud of this campaign and everything we've achieved."

Updated at 1:43 p.m. ET

Former special counsel Robert Mueller is making his much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill.

Mueller is testifying before two House committees on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Presents were exchanged, carols were sung, and the political news cycle kept on churning over the Christmas holiday.

The time surrounding Christmas and New Year's Day saw the partial government shutdown begin, the stock market take a tumble (then recover), and President Trump make a secret holiday visit to U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.

As 2019 begins, here's a look at what you may have missed over the holidays.

Saturday, Dec. 22

The late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will be laid to rest this week after a series of memorials and ceremonies in Arizona and Washington, D.C.

A public service is set to take place Thursday at North Phoenix Baptist Church in Phoenix. Former Vice President Joe Biden will deliver a tribute, and two of McCain's children, son Andrew and daughter Bridget, will offer readings from Scripture.

As the cameras rolled on President Trump's campaign rally for GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis in Florida on Tuesday night, a peculiar sign appeared in view.

"We are Q."

Journalists at the event noted multiple attendees carrying signs and wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the name "QAnon."