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The U.S. Bureau of Prisons could begin sending home some of its oldest and most at-risk inmates as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic, Attorney General Bill Barr said on Thursday.

Barr, who convened an unrelated press conference at a mostly empty Main Justice in Washington, addressed the Bureau of Prisons' handling of the pandemic in response to a reporter's question.

Updated at 12:18 p.m. ET

The Justice Department unsealed criminal charges against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and other regime heavies on Thursday in connection with alleged narcoterrorism and drug smuggling into the United States.

Attorney General William Barr announced the charges at the Justice Department in Washington with some officials in attendance and others connected via teleconference — precautions taken because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Senate has passed a bill to inject around $2 trillion of emergency relief into the U.S. economy.

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The coronavirus crisis was gaining steam when President Trump announced via tweet on a Friday night that he was replacing his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, with North Carolina congressman and frequent confidante Mark Meadows.

Nearly three weeks later, Meadows is still transitioning into his new job and hasn't yet resigned from Congress.

He may have been inside the room at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday for White House negotiations with senators on the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package — but he still had one foot back in his old job.

Senate leaders have unanimously passed a historic $2 trillion deal to provide economic relief for Americans, businesses and the health care industry in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

During a news conference Wednesday evening, President Trump said: "We don't have to test the entire state in the Middle West or wherever they may be. We don't have to test the entire state. I think it's ridiculous. A lot of those states could go back [to work] right now, and they probably will."

He's correct that the entire population of a state does not need to be tested right now. However, all 50 states do have cases, and those small- and medium-sized outbreaks may be growing exponentially.

Updated 8:31 a.m. ET Thursday

First-time jobless claims hit nearly 3.3 million last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's staggering when you consider that at the height of the Great Recession, initial claims topped out at just shy of 700,000.

The legislation that the Senate passed Wednesday night is set to provide $2 trillion in economic aid as the nation braces for this massive economic blow.

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A large percentage of Americans working from home, schoolchildren on an indefinite break - those are just a couple of the rhythms of daily life that two weeks ago seemed unthinkable. Now they seem essential.

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Updated at 1:50 a.m. ET Thursday

The White House's pandemic task force convened another briefing on Wednesday afternoon amid a tense denouement for legislation aimed at helping an economy poleaxed by the disaster.

Last-minute objections on Wednesday delayed the Senate vote until late in the evening, when it passed on a vote of 96 to 0.

Businesses controlled by the president, senior executive branch officials or members of Congress will be barred from receiving funds under the huge economic rescue package the Senate could vote on as early as Wednesday, according to the Senate's top Democrat.

The Senate coronavirus relief bill now under consideration would give states $400 million to protect upcoming elections against the pandemic threat. The money, far less than the $4 billion some Democrats had wanted, would allow states to expand mail-in and early voting, as well as online voter registration. The money could also be used to help secure in-person voting sites.

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Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a $2 trillion relief package Wednesday night designed to alleviate some of the worst effects of the swift economic downturn currently underway as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the 96-0 vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told lawmakers, "Our nation obviously is going through a kind of crisis that is totally unprecedented in living memory."

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Now, just days after he urged the nation to practice social distancing, the president is offering a somewhat different message. Here he is on Fox yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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In Kentucky, there are at least 120 cases of COVID-19, and so 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time has become very important to people who live there because that is when they get to hear Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

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Lawmakers faced a few delays in agreeing on a coronavirus relief bill.

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The Trump administration has so far resisted calls to use a Cold War-era law to help fill gaps in medical supplies that are badly needed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Many governors and health officials have been pleading with President Trump to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to get the federal government more directly involved in the buying and distribution of items like ventilators and face masks — items that have been in short supply, with states competing for them.

The United States and China are locked in a struggle over influence and messaging about the coronavirus pandemic even as governments around the world struggle to control the outbreak.

This week, Washington claimed a small victory.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus hailed comments by China's ambassador walking back an earlier false claim in Beijing that the U.S. Army had introduced the coronavirus to its epicenter in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Joe Biden is a classic retail politician — a man who loves to shake hands, give hugs, take selfies and look voters directly in the eye, one-on-one. But now he can't do any of those things.

Instead, because of the coronavirus outbreak, his campaign is grounded: no rallies, no travel. It's all virtual fundraisers, live-streamed speeches, remote TV interviews, Facebook videos and volunteer Slack channels.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is seen in February in Cleveland.

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The United States and South Korea had their first cases of coronavirus detected on the same day. The way the two countries responded, however, was very different.

South Korea quickly got tests out, which is being credited with helping flatten the country's curve of its coronavirus outbreak; the United States moved far more slowly, taking weeks to ramp up testing.

As the impacts of coronavirus spread among its own membership, House lawmakers are weighing alternatives to a longtime tradition to in-person voting as they near a potential, major vote on a new emergency bill.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

In his Tuesday afternoon briefing with the coronavirus task force, President Trump couched earlier comments about the need to reopen the U.S. economy within weeks, emphasizing that the decision would ultimately be data driven and made in consultation with public health experts.

The president said he still wants Americans working again by Easter Sunday, something he first said during a virtual town hall with Fox News earlier in the day. But he was much more circumspect over whether that would be possible from a medical standpoint.

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