Brian Naylor

NPR News' Brian Naylor is a correspondent on the Washington Desk. In this role, he covers politics and federal agencies.

With more than 30 years of experience at NPR, Naylor has served as National Desk correspondent, White House correspondent, congressional correspondent, foreign correspondent, and newscaster during All Things Considered. He has filled in as host on many NPR programs, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and Talk of the Nation.

During his NPR career, Naylor has covered many major world events, including political conventions, the Olympics, the White House, Congress, and the mid-Atlantic region. Naylor reported from Tokyo in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, from New Orleans following the BP oil spill, and from West Virginia after the deadly explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine.

While covering the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990s, Naylor's reporting contributed to NPR's 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Award for political reporting.

Before coming to NPR in 1982, Naylor worked at NPR Member Station WOSU in Columbus, Ohio, and at a commercial radio station in Maine.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine.

The 2020 presidential election is more than five months away. So it may seem a bit early to think about — much less prepare for — a possible presidential transition.

But under law, and behind the scenes, that's just what the Trump administration and staffers for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, have begun to do.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 3 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday that state governors should allow churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship to reopen immediately.

In brief comments at the White House, Trump said houses of worship are "essential places that provide essential services." Churches have faced restrictions for gatherings and ceremonies as public health officials worked to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Some have chafed at the restrictions.

Updated at 12:37 p.m. ET

The Senate Banking Committee took its first look at spending under the massive CARES Act, which Congress approved in March to provide assistance to individuals, businesses and local governments affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were pressed by senators about their stewardship of specific aspects of the approximately $2 trillion relief package at Tuesday's remote hearing.

Updated at 4:42 p.m. ET

Rick Bright, a career government scientist-turned-whistleblower, told a congressional panel Thursday that without a stronger federal response, the coronavirus threatens to make 2020 the "darkest winter in modern history."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had sharp words for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, during Tuesday's Senate committee hearing on the coronavirus.

In arguing for reopening the economy and schools, Paul said, "As much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don't think you're the end-all. I don't think you're the one person who gets to make a decision."

Paul pointed to the mortality rate in New York City of young people up to age 18, which he said was near zero — much lower than for older people.

Attorneys for Rick Bright, the government scientist who said he had been reassigned and subsequently filed a whistleblower complaint, say a government watchdog agrees that he should be reinstated to his post.

Bright was serving as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is working on a vaccine to combat the coronavirus.

The Supreme Court has temporarily put on hold the release of redacted grand jury material from the Russia investigation to a House panel.

The Trump administration is trying to block the release.

Last October, a district court judge ruled the Justice Department had to turn over the materials, which were blacked out, from former special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Updated on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Trump said he had planned to wind down the White House coronavirus task force, but now plans to add two or three new members by Monday, noting he had received "calls from very respected people" to keep it going.

Trump said the task force would continue "indefinitely" and made clear its focus would be on "opening the country." Some members of the task force, such as people who worked on increasing the supply of ventilators, "may be less involved," he said.

Updated at 9:38 a.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to work from home, and that includes employees of the federal government. The numbers vary by agency, but at the Social Security Administration, some 53,000 workers are doing so.

Social Security field offices are closed. But the shutdown hasn't stopped the agency from processing claims for new benefits and appeals of benefit denials. And according to statistics that the SSA sent its workers, the agency has been doing so at a faster pace than before.

The Internal Revenue Service has told some 10,000 of its employees that they're needed back in the office as early as Monday — and they'll need to bring their own masks.

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee say it's "completely irresponsible and unethical for the IRS to demand those workers obtain their own protective equipment."

The CARES Act, the $2 trillion coronavirus response legislation Congress approved late last month, calls for a government watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, to monitor the spending and the overall federal response to the pandemic. And while President Trump has pushed back on other oversight, it will be difficult for him to block the GAO's work.

Leading the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the coronavirus pandemic may be one of the most thankless jobs in government right now. Governors are clamoring for more supplies, like ventilators and face masks. The president engages in public feuds with those governors.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

President Trump at a briefing Monday night made an assertion that likely would have surprised the framers of the U.S. Constitution: that as president, his authority is "total" and that he has the power to order states — which have told businesses to close and people to remain at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus — to reopen.

In a remarkably prophetic report last summer, the Federal Emergency Management Agency accurately predicted that a nationwide pandemic would result in a shortage of medical supplies, hospitals would be overwhelmed and the economy would shut down.

The warnings were contained in the 2019 National Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, published last July. Its existence was first reported by E&E News.

Updated at 10:58 a.m. ET

If you've checked your mail lately, you may have noticed there's just not much of it.

The U.S. Postal Service could be another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

"A lot of businesses have ceased to do advertising through the mail," says Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., "and as a result, mail volume has collapsed."

He says the decline could be as much as 60% by the end of the year, which he says would be "catastrophic" for the agency.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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President Trump last weekend raised — and then dropped — the idea of placing residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut under a quarantine to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus outside of the nation's hardest-hit region.

President Trump revealed he'll be speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday about, among other things, oil prices.

In an interview with Fox and Friends on Monday morning, Trump expressed concern that the recent price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia was endangering the oil industry.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is trying to knock down a series of rumors and falsehoods that have been spreading along with the coronavirus pandemic.

It launched a page on its website called Coronavirus Rumor Control to fight the misinformation as officials work to assure the public there is, in fact, no "national quarantine," nor has FEMA deployed "military assets."

"No, FEMA does not have military assets," the site notes.

President Trump has made a lot of promises about actions that his administration is taking to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Not all of them have been exactly on the mark — and some have yet to pay off as advertised.

Naval hospital ships

The president announced on Wednesday that the Navy would dispatch its two hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy, to help treat patients and free up land-based hospitals for coronavirus patients.

Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador and former governor of South Carolina, has resigned from the board of Boeing, citing the giant aerospace company's efforts to obtain federal assistance because of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, "Ambassador Haley informed the Company that, as a matter of philosophical principle, she does not believe that the Company should seek support from the Federal Government, and therefore decided to resign from the Board."

Aside from the financial assistance the Trump administration and Congress are considering for individuals, small business and corporations, the federal government itself could be the beneficiary of a huge injection of money if lawmakers and the White House agree to it.

President Trump announced Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency "now is fully engaged at the highest levels" in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Trump says the agency is activated at level 1.

FEMA is best known for coordinating responses with state and local governments to natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Responding to a pandemic is a different job for the agency.

"This is a very different kind of work for FEMA," Trump said, "but they will come through as they always do. We have tremendous people, tremendous talent in FEMA."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Updated at 5:39 p.m. ET

President Trump, widely criticized for his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic, tried to shift blame Friday to his predecessor's handling of a health crisis 11 years ago.

In a series of tweets Friday morning, Trump accused former President Barack Obama of making unspecified changes that "complicated" the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention's testing system.

Updated at 1:00 p.m. EDT

One way employers are hoping to prevent the spread of coronavirus and its toll on their workforce is through telecommuting. Companies from Apple to The Washington Post are giving their employees the option to work from home.

The nation's largest employer is sending a more mixed message.

President Trump on Thursday defended new restrictions on travelers from most parts of Europe, a decision that angered allies and trading partners, was questioned by some public health experts and sent stock markets reeling.

Updated at 7:44 p.m. ET

One of the nation's leading infectious disease experts issued a stern warning on Tuesday: If you think you have escaped the spread of the coronavirus, do not become complacent.

"As a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health. "It doesn't matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case, you have to start taking seriously what you can do now."

The Secret Service says it's "fully prepared" to provide protection to the Democrats running for president.

It's just that it hasn't been asked to yet.

The issue of who is protecting the candidates was raised in dramatic fashion on the night of Super Tuesday when anti-dairy protesters rushed the stage as Joe Biden was delivering a victory speech in Los Angeles.

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