Tamara Keith

Updated April 8, 2021 at 9:57 AM ET

President Biden on Thursday will announce initial steps his administration plans to take on firearm safety, along with the nomination of a prominent gun safety advocate to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The moves, which were previewed Wednesday evening by a senior administration official, come after recent high-profile mass shootings put added pressure on Biden to act on gun violence.

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Finding the right message — and right messengers — to persuade skeptical conservatives to get the COVID-19 vaccine has become an urgent concern for public health experts pushing to contain the coronavirus.

President Biden said on Tuesday that a key milestone in the fight against COVID-19 could be reached two months faster than earlier projected. By the end of May, there should be enough vaccine doses for every adult in America, he said — a dramatic improvement to his initial timetable for late July.

A turning point in speeding up that pledge came a few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon in early February, during a phone call with Johnson & Johnson executives that had been planned for 15 minutes but stretched for longer than an hour, two senior administration officials told NPR.

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Across the country, coal-burning power plants are closing. Wind turbines and solar farms are expanding. This transition cleans the air. It reduces greenhouse emissions. But it can also be painful. In North Dakota, some local officials are trying to keep a coal plant alive by blocking construction of new wind power. NPR's Dan Charles has more.

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The United States hit a devastating milestone today - 500,000 people now dead from COVID-19. That's according to the tally kept by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Well, while infections have been falling and vaccinations have been ramping up, about 2,000 people are still dying from the virus in this country each day. President Biden led the nation in remembering and mourning those deaths this evening at the White House.

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Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Friday its much-anticipated, updated guidance to help school leaders decide how to safely bring students back into classrooms, or keep them there.

In his first two weeks in office, President Biden has signed nearly as many executive orders as Franklin Roosevelt signed in his entire first month. And President Roosevelt holds the record.

Adding his signature to three executive orders on immigration Tuesday, Biden has now signed 28 executive orders since taking office. FDR signed 30 in his first month.

"By sheer volume, Biden is going to be the most active president on this front since the 1930s," said Andy Rudalevige, a professor of government at Bowdoin College.

On his way out the door, then-President Donald Trump released his aides from ethics commitments that were supposed to last years after the end of his administration. The revocation of his order freed the way for staffers to cash in on lobbying gigs.

Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET

Unwilling to admit defeat but with his time in office at its end, President Trump left the White House early Wednesday, skipping the Inauguration Day ceremony that generations of outgoing presidents have attended — a symbolic peaceful transfer of power that had been made all but impossible by his actions after losing the election to Joe Biden.

In one of his final acts in office, in the wee hours of the night, President Trump revoked Executive Order 13770, an order on ethics he signed when he first took office, freeing the way for people who have served in his administration to cash in with lobbying gigs.

Updated 10:05 p.m. ET Friday

Twitter has permanently suspended President Trump's account over a pattern of behavior that violated company rules.

The action was the most sweeping punishment any major social media company has ever taken against Trump, who has used his Twitter account to announce White House policy, attack rivals and widely disseminate misinformation.

President Trump had a very public and direct message for his vice president on Wednesday morning ahead of the joint session of Congress at which Mike Pence is set to formally announce that President-elect Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 election.

Instead of Pence's plan to "follow the law and uphold the Constitution," Trump told him on Twitter that it was "a time for extreme courage" and urged him to overturn the results, something which Pence does not have the powers to do.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

For a vice president who has navigated service to a mercurial president with praise and public acts of loyalty, Vice President Pence faced the ultimate challenge on Wednesday as he presided over a joint session of Congress that will make official Joe Biden's election — and President Trump's loss.

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President Trump is throwing a big wrench into the massive COVID relief bill that Congress overwhelmingly passed last night. In a video this evening, he calls the bill a disgrace.

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Updated at 7 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Gina McCarthy as his White House climate coordinator, a source familiar with the decision said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect private conversations.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former congressman and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, according to a source familiar with transition discussions who is not authorized to speak on the record.

Vice President Pence traveled to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Friday for a briefing, saying America is "in a season of hope" and "help is on the way" with emergency use authorization for the first coronavirus vaccine potentially less than two weeks away.

But what Pence heard from some of the nation's top public health officials was a grim assessment of the current state of the pandemic.

Before President-elect Joe Biden had even formally introduced his intended nominee for budget director, the pushback started rolling in.

Neera Tanden would make history as the first woman of color to head the Office of Management and Budget, but she's also been an outspoken partisan warrior, and that could complicate her confirmation process, especially if Republicans maintain control of the Senate after Georgia's two runoff races in January.

President Trump is set to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday to mark Veterans Day and lay a wreath. Trump will be joined by Vice President Pence. This is one of the more traditional ceremonial duties of a president. (Trump was criticized for passing on such a visit two years ago in France because of bad weather).

Updated at 4 a.m. ET

The 2020 presidential election remained up in the air early Wednesday after tight races, strong turnout and record amounts of mail-in voting left millions of legitimate votes still to be counted, and races in six key states too close to call.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden urged patience until "every vote is counted," but President Trump railed against the extra time required to count the ballots, falsely accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election from him.

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Now let's turn to Ohio. It's a state that President Trump won easily in 2016, and it is in toss-up territory this year. The closure of an auto plant there is looming large. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith visited the site of the former plant.

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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.

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President Trump waded into the classroom today. He says he thinks American students need to be taught what he calls patriotic education, and he accused his political opponents of trying to brainwash children about racism.

President Trump signed an executive order Sunday that he says lowers prescription drug prices "by putting America first," but experts said the move is unlikely to have any immediate impact.

Dr. Scott Atlas has literally written the book on magnetic resonance imaging. He has also co-authored numerous scientific studies on the economics of medical imaging technology.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET Sunday

At his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort on Saturday, President Trump signed four executive actions to provide economic relief amid the coronavirus pandemic. The actions amount to a stopgap measure, after failing to secure an agreement with Congress.

The three memorandums and one executive order call for extending some enhanced unemployment benefits, taking steps to stop evictions, continuing the suspension of student loan repayments and deferring payroll taxes.

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