Brakkton Booker | WGLT

Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.

He covers a wide range of topics including issues related to federal social safety net programs and news around the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

His reporting takes him across the country covering natural disasters, like hurricanes and flooding, as well as tracking trends in regional politics and in state governments, particularly on issues of race.

Following the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Booker's reporting broadened to include a focus on young activists pushing for changes to federal and state gun laws, including the March For Our Lives rally and national school walkouts.

Prior to joining NPR's national desk, Booker spent five years as a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He spent most to the 2016 presidential campaign cycle covering the contest for the GOP nomination and was the lead producer from the Trump campaign headquarters on election night. Booker served in a similar capacity from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. During the 2012 presidential campaign, he produced pieces and filed dispatches from the Republican and Democratic National conventions, as well as from President Obama's reelection site in Chicago.

In the summer of 2014, Booker took a break from politics to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker started his career as a show producer working on nearly all of NPR's magazine programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and former news and talk show Tell Me More, where he produced the program's signature Barbershop segment.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not on the road, Booker enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and working on his golf game.

Former University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing will go on trial again over the fatal shooting of black driver Sam DuBose during a traffic stop last year.

As we've reported, Tensing's first trial ended in a mistrial earlier this month after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on murder and manslaughter charges.

A chaotic and tense scene unfolded just after Air Force One touched down in Hangzhou, China, where U.S. and global leaders are gathered to discuss the world economy, promote growth and curb carbon emissions.

Obama's customary exit from the plane came not from the usual door high on the fuselage, but instead from a lower portal. It seems there were no higher stairs available to roll up to the usual door.

With fewer than 70 days to go before Election Day, the Republican National Committee announced it is making significant strides when it comes to competing in battleground states in the fall.

It still falls far short of the ground game already in place by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

On Friday, the RNC announced the addition of 392 staffers and 98 new offices across 11 battleground states.

The new staff and field offices will be added in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said he stands by comments he made during the bruising GOP primary campaign earlier this year, including referring to Donald Trump, now his party's nominee, as a "con man."

"I've stood by everything I ever said in my campaign," Rubio said in an interview with the Miami Herald editorial board.

THIS POST WAS UPDATED AT 4:01 P.M. ET

A fresh batch of previously unreleased State Department emails are raising new questions about the relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during the years Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.

Three girls were injured after falling at least 30 feet from a Ferris wheel at a county fair in eastern Tennessee on Monday evening. Two of the girls are in stable condition while another, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, is in critical condition.

According to Dr. Bracken Burns, director of trauma services for Johnson City Medical Center, the youngest of the victims, a 6-year-old, suffered the head injury and had to be intubated at the scene and taken to a hospital.

Updated 6:25 p.m. ET with more cancellations

Delta says it canceled 680 flights Tuesday as the airline continued to struggle with computer problems.

Our original post continues:

Delta Air Lines announced it was grounding nearly 300 flights Tuesday, a day after a computer outage hobbled the carrier's communication and booking systems and forced it to cancel about 1,000 flights worldwide.

Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded on Monday.

The unofficial kickoff to the NFL season got off to a false start Sunday when the Hall of Fame Game was canceled due to poor field conditions and nervousness over players' safety.

The Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts were sent packing before the teams could even take the field in Canton, Ohio. At issue was paint on the midfield logo and in the end zones that hardened and raised anxieties that players might slip and suffer injuries.

This post was updated at 2:38 pm

The lingering chasm between presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her chief primary rival was bridged Tuesday, with Sen. Bernie Sanders teaming up with Clinton at a campaign event, where he formally endorsed Clinton's bid for the White House.

A new report released Monday by the minority members of the House Select Committee tasked with investigating the events at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, absolves the U.S military and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of any blame in attacks that left four Americans dead nearly four years ago.

The findings by the Democrats on the committee conclude that the Department of Defense "could not have done anything differently" on Sept. 11, 2012, that could have saved Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others.

As the general election shifts into high gear, a pair of Republican governors and a 15-term representative this week voiced their frustrations with the party's presumptive presidential nominee and have decided they cannot get onboard the Trump train.

Fred Upton, R-Mich., joins Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and also Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran for president against Donald Trump.

Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked men's tennis player, outlasted Andy Murray in the French Open final Sunday in Paris. In the process he caps a career Grand Slam and becomes the first man in two generations to hold all four major championships simultaneously.

The eventual champion got off to a slow start, dropping the opening set to Murray 3-6. But behind the strength of his forehand, the No. 1 seeded Djokovic roared back, winning the next three sets 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 en route to his first French Open title.

Director Spike Lee became the latest black celebrity enter the battle of presidential endorsements ahead of this weekend's Democratic nominating contest in South Carolina. On Tuesday, the Bernie Sanders campaign released a radio ad called "Wake Up" featuring Lee.

More than 300 incidents classified as "close encounters" occurred between drones and manned aircrafts in U.S. airspace over a period of less than two years, according to a new study.

The report by Bard College's Center for the Study of the Drone, found that 327 incidents between December 2013 and September 2015 posed a "proximity danger" where an unmanned aircraft got within 500 feet of a plane, helicopter or other manned aircraft or when a pilot determined a drone was dangerously close.

House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a strong rebuke of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to impose a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.

Ryan, speaking during a news conference Tuesday, said he does not normally comment on what takes place in the presidential race, but felt it was "incumbent upon leaders," including himself, to "stand up and defend what conservatism is" and what Republican Party principles are writ large.

The Secret Service is an agency "in crisis" and one that has had its weaknesses "exposed by a series of security failures at the White House, during presidential visits, and at the residences of other officials," according to a scathing report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released Thursday.

Part of the Australian coastline popular with swimmers and surfers will now be patrolled by drones as a way to protect beachgoers from shark attacks, government officials announced Wednesday.

The trials in the southeastern state of New South Wales are part of a AU $16 million ($11.6 million) program that will test the effectiveness of drone technology in mitigating shark attacks. The drones will send real-time images of coastal waters back to an operator using GPS coordinates.

The ruling party in Turkey swept parliamentary elections on Sunday and regained the single-party rule it lost in June.

The Justice and Development Party, also known as the AKP, "won substantially more than the 276 seats needed to win a majority, allowing it to form a government on its own," according to the BBC. The BBC adds:

"Polls had indicated the AKP would receive only between 40-43% of the vote, in line with how it fared in June, when it lost its majority for the first time in 13 years.

Updated at 7 p.m. EST

The Russian airliner that crashed Saturday in Egypt killing all 224 people onboard broke apart in flight, according to Russia's top aviation official.

A search team believes it has located the wreckage from the El Faro cargo ship that disappeared last month during Hurricane Joaquin, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The discovery was made Saturday afternoon at a depth of about 15,000 feet in the vicinity of the ship's last known location. The NTSB said preliminary sonar imaging of the vessel shows that it appears to be intact. It adds:

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was easily elected to serve as the 54th House speaker Thursday, ending a tumultuous few weeks for the Republican House majority as it scrambled to find a replacement for outgoing Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

Updated at 1:24 p.m. ET

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in a case involving millions of dollars in hush money to keep secret allegations of misconduct decades ago.

A judge set the sentencing for Feb. 29. Federal prosecutors have recommended up to six months in prison as part of a plea deal that allows him to avoid a trial. The judge, however, could sentence Hastert to a maximum of five years and fine him up to $250,000.

The Chinese government issued an angry response after a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer drew within a dozen miles of several artificial islands in the South China Sea that China and other nations claim as sovereign territory.

China's defense ministry said its own warships followed and issued warnings to the USS Lassen on Tuesday, according to Reuters, as it moved through the waters around the Spratly Islands.

Longtime NBA coach and Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has died.

He was 60 years old, and had been undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma over the past few months.

The Timberwolves organization announced Saunders' passing via Twitter Sunday afternoon.

In an election tainted by allegations of political payoffs and lack of planning, thousands of voters in Haiti took to the polls Sunday to cast ballots for presidential and parliamentary elections. This election day comes after years of delays and despite recent spates of violence during previous rounds of voting at polling sites.

Haiti, the Western hemisphere's poorest nation, boasts of having 5.8 million registered voters. Many poll watchers there expect a December runoff will be necessary because a whopping 54 candidates are vying to become the country's next president.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton made her much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. This was a high-stakes showdown for both Clinton and the Republican lawmakers who were leading an investigation into the events surrounding the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya where four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed.

The camerawoman who drew international ire after viral videos of her kicking and tripping migrants crossing into Hungary from Serbia last month, says she plans to sue Facebook and one of the refugees she kicked.

Petra Laszlo, formerly of Hungarian Internet-based channel N1TV, told a Russian newspaper of her plans to sue Facebook for allegedly failing to take down threatening and negative pages on the social media site, according to an online translation of the Izvestia report.

Fresh off his celebrated comeback to comedy as guest host of Saturday Night Live over the weekend, comedian Tracy Morgan announced he's hitting the road on a stand-up tour.

Ahead of his meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has urged both sides to exercise restraint and called for clarity on the status of a holy site in Jerusalem that's been at the epicenter of the uptick in Israeli-Palestinian clashes in recent weeks.

Speaking from Madrid Monday, Kerry called for Israel to maintain the status quo agreement over the hilltop compound in Jerusalem that is venerated by Jews, known as the Temple Mount and the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a sacred symbol for Palestinians:

Pages