Alana Wise

Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.

Before joining NPR, Alana covered beats including American gun culture, the aviation business and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Through her reporting, Alana has covered such events as large protests, mass shootings, boardroom uprisings and international trade fights.

Alana is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., and an Atlanta native.

Updated at 10:51 a.m. ET

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee moved Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, bringing President Trump's nominee within striking distance of confirmation and the court a step closer to a 6-3 conservative majority.

President Trump on Wednesday granted clemency to five people, commuting their lengthy sentences as part of his administration's pitch for criminal justice reform.

Four of the five people had been in prison because of drug offenses, while the fifth had been sentenced for food stamp fraud.

The five cases had been highlighted by clemency activists, including Alice Marie Johnson, who has worked with the White House on the issue, and who spoke at the Republican National Convention this summer.

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced changes to the debate rules ahead of Thursday's final presidential debate.

Under the new rules, President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will each have two minutes of uninterrupted time to speak at the beginning of every 15-minute segment of the debate.

Updated at 11:27 p.m. ET

In a unique political split screen, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden appeared in competing town halls at the same time on Thursday night.

Among their notable answers, Trump declined to denounce the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, while Biden said he would offer a more concrete answer on "court packing" before Election Day.

Updated Thursday at 12:48 a.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday boasted of his improved health in a video posted to Twitter, calling his coronavirus diagnosis "a blessing from God."

The president's video address is one of several he has posted to the social media site in the days since he was admitted to and ultimately released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

White House adviser Stephen Miller has tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House press office told NPR, days after President Trump and several others at the White House have also tested positive for the virus.

In a statement shared by the press office, Miller, who made his name as the architect of some of Trump's most controversial and severe immigration policies, said:

"Over the last 5 days I have been working remotely and self-isolating, testing negative every day through yesterday. Today, I tested positive for COVID-19 and am in quarantine."

The eight-person U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with South Carolina to reinstate a mandate that absentee ballots require witness signatures, even as critics argue that the coronavirus puts an undue burden on voters to safely get a witness cosign on the ballots.

The order will not apply to ballots already cast or those mailed in within the next two days, but will apply to ballots going forward for the Nov. 3 general election.

Vice President Mike Pence, who on Friday tested negative for the coronavirus, plans to maintain his usual schedule in the coming days, despite several confirmed cases of the virus within the White House, including President Trump and the First Lady.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

President Trump and the first lady are quarantining and being tested for the coronavirus after a close adviser to the White House, Hope Hicks, has tested positive for the virus. Hicks is considered one of the president's closest allies and traveled with him on Air Force One both to Tuesday night's debate and to a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

The country was put on edge overnight as President Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that raises concerns about their health and throws the final stretch of the presidential campaign — already upended by the pandemic — even further into unknown territory.

The couple's 14-year-old son, Barron Trump, has tested negative for the virus, the first lady's chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, told NPR.

Brad Parscale, the former campaign manager and longtime digital strategist to President Trump, has stepped away from his role in the president's re-election effort, campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh confirms to NPR. Last weekend, Parscale was involved in an incident with police that saw him involuntarily hospitalized.

In a statement to Politico on Wednesday, Parscale said he was stepping down to seek help for "overwhelming stress" on both him and his family.

President Trump on Wednesday decried reported health agency efforts to issue stricter guidelines for evaluating a vaccine against COVID-19, accusing the Food and Drug Administration of playing politics.

Trump was apparently reacting to a Tuesday report in the New York Times that said the agency will soon move to tighten requirements for emergency authorization of any coronavirus vaccine to better ensure its safety and effectiveness.

Updated at 11:01 a.m. ET

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is lying in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, a two-day event honoring a justice who was both a cultural and legal icon.

As Ginsburg's casket arrived at the high court, former law clerks lined the Supreme Court steps. Supreme Court police officers served as pallbearers. Then the justice's family, close friends and members of the court held a brief ceremony in the court's Great Hall.

The chief of staff to Vice President Pence on Sunday defended the administration's decision to ignore the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's deathbed request not to fill her seat until after the election, telling CNN that it was not Ginsburg's choice to make.

Shortly before dying Friday, Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Updated at 2:04 p.m. ET

Friday marks the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States — the single deadliest instance of a terrorist attack in world history and among the most consequential global policy markers in modern times.

President Trump on Thursday defended his decision to mislead the public about the deadliness of the coronavirus as documented in Bob Woodward's new book, declining to call his misstatements about the virus and its spread a "lie" and saying he needed to show "strength" in the face of the crisis.

"I want to show a level of confidence, and I want to show strength as a leader, and I want to show our country is going to be fine one way or another," Trump said at a news conference.

President Trump has released an additional 20 names he would select from if any Supreme Court vacancies arise during his remaining time in office, including the president's rival-turned-Senate ally, Ted Cruz. The list also includes Sens. Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley as well as two former U.S. solicitors general.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

President Trump is defending himself after interviews from a new book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward reveal that Trump acknowledged the deadliness of the coronavirus in early February and admitted in March to playing down its severity.

Updated at noon ET

The U.S. Senate is holding a hearing Wednesday on the development of vaccines aimed at eradicating the coronavirus amid escalated political rhetoric regarding the potential effectiveness of a fast-tracked vaccine.

As President Trump has promised to expedite treatments against the virus that has killed nearly 190,000 Americans, he has appeared publicly rankled by critics who question his handling of the pandemic and those who are skeptical of the viability of a safe vaccine in such record time.

The U.S. Postal Service's inspector general has outlined a number of ongoing concerns about the agency's ability to manage the influx of mailed ballots for the 2020 election — separate from the recent controversial actions by the postmaster general.

The internal watchdog said in a report that it found several potential problems in the way mail was being processed, including ballots mailed without bar code mail-tracking technology and out-of-date voter addresses.

Updated at 4:18 p.m. ET

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy defended his management of the U.S. Postal Service to the House on Monday amid concerns that his cost-cutting measures have jeopardized the agency's ability to serve Americans.

Mail service has slowed across the country, according to internal documents obtained by the House Oversight Committee, but DeJoy denies the slowdowns are part of any attempt to reduce voting by mail this year.

Updated at 11:28 p.m. ET

A shooting outside the White House on Monday briefly overtook President Trump's daily news conference, leading Secret Service to call the president away from the briefing room lectern.

Later the Secret Service said a uniformed Secret Service officer had shot a 51-year-old man who said he had a gun and pointed an object at the officer, crouching in "a shooter's stance." The officer fired his weapon, striking the man in the torso.

Federal officials on Thursday unsealed the indictments of four managers accused of using unauthorized laborers across several food processing plants in Mississippi, almost a year to the date after one of the largest workplace raids in U.S. history.

The State Department has lifted its Level 4 global travel advisory, the highest warning against U.S. citizens traveling internationally, citing changing conditions in the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

Hours after announcing he had tested positive for COVID-19, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on Thursday evening that a second test for the virus came back negative.

DeWine announced that he was administered an antigen test in the morning and a PCR test in the afternoon, and was more confident in the results of the latter.

Colorado State is investigating its football department, the university announced in a press release, following reports that coaches in the program had attempted to coerce players out of reporting possible symptoms of the coronavirus and warned the team against submitting themselves to self quarantine.

The University of Connecticut Department of Athletics on Wednesday announced it was canceling its football program for the 2020-21 school year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"After receiving guidance from state and public health officials and consulting with football student-athletes, we've decided that we will not compete on the gridiron this season," UConn Director of Athletics David Benedict said. "The safety challenges created by COVID-19 place our football student-athletes at an unacceptable level of risk."

Rafael Nadal will skip this year's U.S. Open, the defending champion announced in a series of tweets on Tuesday, citing concerns over the coronavirus and his desire not to travel amid the pandemic.

The prosecutor for St. Louis County on Thursday said his office will not bring charges against Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in an incident that helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement, citing a lack of concrete evidence to charge Wilson criminally in Brown's 2014 death.

The NBA will have its first revamped games of the 2019-2020 season on Thursday evening, after the global coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the world of professional sports.

This evening, the Utah Jazz will face off against the New Orleans Pelicans. Later, the two teams from Los Angeles, the Clippers and the Lakers, will play the second and final game of the night.

Players have been based at Walt Disney World Resort just outside of Orlando, Fla., since early July under strict health and safety measures.

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