Ayesha Rascoe

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House reporter for NPR. In her current role, she covers breaking news and policy developments from the White House. Rascoe also travels and reports on many of President Trump's foreign trips, including his 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and his 2018 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.

Prior to joining NPR, Rascoe covered the White House for Reuters, chronicling President Barack Obama's final year in office and the beginning days of the Trump administration. Rascoe began her reporting career at Reuters, covering energy and environmental policy news, such as the 2010 BP oil spill and the U.S. response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. She also spent a year covering energy legal issues and court cases.

She graduated from Howard University in 2007 with a B.A. in journalism.

Updated on Dec. 20 at 2:40 p.m. ET

A bipartisan bill aimed at overhauling federal prisons and reducing recidivism has been overwhelmingly approved by Congress.

The legislation is now on the verge of becoming law, with the House's approval on Thursday, the Senate's passage on Tuesday and the backing of President Trump.

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan previously voiced support for the legislative package, pledging that the House was "ready to get it done." They later passed the measure by a 358-36 margin.

Updated on Dec. 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET

The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would reduce federal sentences for certain drug offenses and prepare prisoners for life after incarceration.

If the bill becomes law following passage in the House on Wednesday, a major reason will be the support it received from a surprising booster: President Trump.

Bowing to pressure from the White House and activist groups, the Senate will schedule a vote on legislation that would reduce sentences for certain drug offenders and support programs that prepare prisoners for life after incarceration.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would move ahead with consideration of the bill before the end of this year's lame-duck session after sponsors agreed to certain changes to the package.

In an interview with the Washington Post published online Tuesday, President Trump brushed aside climate change concerns by hailing the state of the environment in the United States.

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Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

In the final days ahead of potentially pivotal midterm elections, activists are working to get voters to the polls who ordinarily might not show up when the presidency doesn't hang in the balance.

Donors have poured millions of dollars into efforts to turn out more African-Americans, Hispanics and young people for the 2018 elections.

With early voting under way in many states, there are signs that these efforts may be paying off.

With the nation reeling from an epidemic of drug overdose deaths, President Trump signed legislation Wednesday that is aimed at helping people overcome addiction and preventing addictions before they start.

"Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America," Trump said at a White House event celebrating the signing. "We are going to end it or we are going to at least make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem."

The opioid legislation was a rarity for this Congress, getting overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers.

Entering the White House as a foreign policy novice, Jared Kushner has leaned on his personal rapport with foreign government leaders to help push the Trump administration's goals.

Before joining the White House, Kushner was a real estate investor in New York City, where personal relationships can help cement deals. But that approach is now being put to the test in light of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey more than two weeks ago.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

It was surreal moment even for a White House accustomed to surreal moments.

During a meeting with President Trump, Kanye West delivered animated and wide-ranging remarks on issues from the 13th Amendment to U.S. manufacturing.

President Trump warned at his rally in Pennsylvania on Wednesday night that if his party loses in November's midterm elections, the "radical Democrat mob" will take away everything he has achieved since his election, while encouraging crime and socialism.

It was an echo of something he's been saying a lot lately, including at rallies in Iowa and Kansas in recent days and on Twitter — a line that Republicans have been quick to seize upon as they try to sustain a newly-enthused GOP base in the wake of the divisive confirmation battle for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

President Trump says the fight over his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, is about more than just the nation's highest court. He says it's about how America treats the accused.

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct decades ago, allegations he adamantly denies.

Trump tweeted Thursday that "Due Process, Fairness and Common Sense are now on trial!"

Central Park Five case

But Trump has not always been such a staunch defender of due process.

When President Trump delivers his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, one phrase is unlikely to show up: "rocket man."

A lot has changed since Trump used that derisive nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his address at the U.N. last year — remarks where he also said the United States would "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary.

Facing pressure from lawmakers to beef up election security, President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that would impose sanctions on any foreign person or country that attempts to interfere in U.S. elections.

The move follows repeated criticism of the White House response to Russian-backed interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The new order sets up a framework for intelligence agencies to investigate whether foreign actors are attempting to influence any aspect of the electoral process.

The United States will retaliate against the International Criminal Court if it attempts to prosecute any Americans over actions taken in Afghanistan, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday.

The prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, called for an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been engaged in conflict for nearly 17 years.

President Trump is known for throwing around insults, but his clashes with high-profile African-Americans this summer renewed focus on the language Trump uses to speak to and about black people.

NPR examined Trump's Twitter feed between June 1 and Labor Day. It provided a snapshot of a president who directs venomous tirades at black public figures who bash him, while singling out black celebrities who support him for praise.

During those three months, Trump tweeted almost 900 times about everything from tariffs to North Korea.

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