Ayesha Rascoe

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House reporter for NPR.

Prior to joining NPR, she 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, including 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.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Cory Booker went head-to-head over their records on criminal justice on the second night of the Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit.

This was a fight that had been brewing for a while. The New Jersey senator spent the past few weeks repeatedly criticizing Biden for his role, when he was a Delaware senator, in crafting the landmark 1994 crime law that many criminal justice reform activists identify as one of the major contributors to the swelling of the U.S. prison population.

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This morning, President Trump doubled down on his recent incendiary tweets about Baltimore City and about Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings who chairs the House Oversight Committee. The president spoke a short while ago as he was leaving the White House.

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Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down after criticism over his role in a nonprosecution deal reached years ago with the well-connected businessman accused of sex crimes, Jeffrey Epstein.

Acosta appeared on Friday at the White House with President Trump and announced his resignation.

"I do not think it is fair for this administration's Labor Department to have Epstein as its focus rather than the incredible economy we have today," Acosta said. "The right thing was to step aside."

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Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET

President Trump is standing by Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, at least for now.

Acosta is facing calls for his resignation after new sex trafficking charges were filed against multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein on Monday.

Tucked into the 2017 law intended to cut Americans' taxes was a program aimed at helping communities struggling with high unemployment and run-down housing.

What's not clear is who's actually getting the most assistance from it.

The program allows investors to defer and potentially lower their capital gains taxes in exchange for investing in designated low-income neighborhoods.

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Sen. Kamala Harris of California directly challenged former Vice President Joe Biden over his past opposition to federal busing policy, in a heated exchange on the second night of the first Democratic presidential primary debate.

This issue, from early in Biden's lengthy career in Congress, has hung over his campaign for president, creating a clear target for challengers to his front-runner status.

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Some American neighborhoods are struggling, even in a strong economy. How much can a new tax break help them? NPR's Ayesha Rascoe reports.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

President Trump is threatening to use "overwhelming force" against Iran, after Tehran lashed out at the U.S. over the latest round of sanctions against the regime.

"Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration," Trump tweeted.

Later at a White House event, Trump said he's prepared for whatever happens next with Iran.

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President Trump attended a sumo wrestling competition with Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on Sunday, as the Japanese rolled out the red carpet for Trump during his visit to Tokyo.

The wrestler who won the competition received a U.S.-made trophy named the President's Cup, in honor of Trump's trip.

"That was something to see these great athletes, because they really are athletes," Trump said after the tournament. "It's a very ancient sport and I've always wanted to see sumo wrestling, so it was really great."

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Should people convicted of a crime be allowed to vote while in prison?

It's a question that's divided 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and sparked attacks from President Trump and his allies.

At a CNN town hall event on April 22, presidential hopeful and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked whether his support for allowing inmates to vote would extend to Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for his role in the 2013 attack.

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Democrats running for president are coming up against questions about whether prison inmates should be allowed to vote; they're not all giving the same answer. NPR's Ayesha Rascoe reports the issue is also dividing criminal justice activists.

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Bridges, roads, infrastructure - most of the time, we don't pay attention to any of it until it starts to fall apart, of course - which has been happening for decades. And now in a divided Washington, this could be the issue that brings people together.

Trump's Week Ahead

Apr 28, 2019

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President Trump is distancing himself from Julian Assange's organization WikiLeaks.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, do you still love WikiLeaks?

President Trump will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on Thursday, as Moon attempts to get U.S. talks with North Korea back on track.

It will be the first meeting for Moon and Trump since the failed summit in Hanoi, which ended with no agreement from Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un on denuclearization.

President Trump is backing down from his threat to shut down the U.S. Southern border as soon as this week.

Trump had issued the warning in a bid to curtail surging border crossings by asylum-seekers from Central America. Instead, he is now giving Mexico "a one-year warning" to address his concerns about its handling of immigrants traveling through the country on the way to the United States. He also demanded that Mexico tamp down on the flow of drugs.

After spending 15 years in prison for a drug offense, Randy Rader had almost lost hope that he might get out of prison before his release date in 2023.

If Rader's conviction for 5 grams of crack cocaine — his third drug offense — had happened after 2010, he would have received a much shorter sentence. But the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which cut down on the disparity between penalties for crack cocaine and powder cocaine, did not apply to those already serving time.

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And I want to bring in Ayesha Rascoe - covers the White House for NPR. Hi, Ayesha.

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Good morning.

GREENE: You were listening there. What stood out to you?

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