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.

Facing pressure from lawmakers to beef up election security, President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that would impose sanctions on any foreign person or country that attempts to interfere in U.S. elections.

The move follows repeated criticism of the White House response to Russian-backed interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The new order sets up a framework for intelligence agencies to investigate whether foreign actors are attempting to influence any aspect of the electoral process.

The United States will retaliate against the International Criminal Court if it attempts to prosecute any Americans over actions taken in Afghanistan, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday.

The prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, called for an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been engaged in conflict for nearly 17 years.

President Trump is known for throwing around insults, but his clashes with high-profile African-Americans this summer renewed focus on the language Trump uses to speak to and about black people.

NPR examined Trump's Twitter feed between June 1 and Labor Day. It provided a snapshot of a president who directs venomous tirades at black public figures who bash him, while singling out black celebrities who support him for praise.

During those three months, Trump tweeted almost 900 times about everything from tariffs to North Korea.

The White House slammed a newspaper essay on Wednesday attributed to an anonymous administration official that criticized President Trump and suggested that aides have discussed ways to try to remove him from office.

Trump and others blasted The New York Times after the newspaper ran what it said was a column written by someone within the president's administration who called into question his judgment and vowed to block some of his wishes.

In a highly unusual situation, the author was identified only as "a senior official in the Trump administration."

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

White House staff concerned about President Trump's leadership have hidden documents from him to prevent him from signing off on certain actions, according to reports about an explosive new book from renowned Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.

Woodward's latest book, Fear, is focused on the Trump White House and is set to be officially released on Sept. 11.

Updated at 1:14 a.m. ET Sunday

It's not uncommon for President Donald Trump to make statements that draw controversy.

But the backlash he faced a year ago over his response to a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., was unusual even for him.

Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was met with hostility and skepticism by some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday in the wake of President Trump's summit last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

NATO leaders are hoping their summit in Brussels this week will not suffer the same fate as last month's Group of 7 meeting, which unraveled over trade disputes with President Trump.

"They are still licking their wounds from what happened at the G-7," said Julie Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. "They're looking for an opportunity to kind of put forward a counter-narrative that the trans-Atlantic partners are united."

But with tensions still running high between the U.S. and its allies, unity may be hard to come by.

Advocates for prisoners from several groups tell NPR that White House officials have privately asked them for potential candidates for clemency, and they have offered dozens of names.

The outreach came in the wake of President Trump's recent spate of pardons and commutations — most of which were granted to public figures or individuals who had received a lot of media attention.

Updated 11:45 a.m. ET

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un heads a brutally oppressive regime. But since meeting face-to-face with Kim, President Donald Trump has had kind words for the dictator.

President Trump is heading to Canada for the G-7 summit on Friday. The weather is expected to be mild, but he is likely to get a frosty reception from the other world leaders in the group.

Updated at 7: 40 p.m. ET

President Trump commuted the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who had been in federal prison for more than 20 years for a first-time drug conviction. Johnson was released hours later

Trump granted Johnson clemency after reality TV star Kim Kardashian West lobbied for her release during a visit to the White House.

Updated at 7:27 p.m. ET

Kim Kardashian West met with President Trump at the White House Wednesday, as the reality star seeks freedom for a great-grandmother serving a life sentence in federal prison.

Kardashian West has been pushing for the release of Alice Marie Johnson since she heard Johnson tell her story on news website Mic.

When President Trump granted a posthumous pardon to legendary boxer Jack Johnson Thursday, he showed, once again, that he is willing to use his clemency authority in high-profile cases.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The White House had an unexpected visitor this week, actor Sylvester Stallone. He stood by President Trump as the president announced a posthumous pardon for legendary boxer Jack Johnson.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Updated at 7:58 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is broadening its internal investigation into the FBI's Russia inquiry after a top-level meeting at the White House on Monday with President Trump.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz will be asked to look into "any irregularities" with the "tactics concerning the Trump campaign," said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

President Trump offered assurances that North Korea would benefit from any deal it reaches with the U.S. regarding its nuclear program, amid uncertainty about whether negotiations between the two countries will actually take place.

North Korea has threatened to cancel talks between its leader Kim Jong Un and Trump scheduled for next month. Pyongyang said it viewed the joint military exercises held by the U.S. and South Korea as a provocation and that it would not give in to one-sided demands to give up its nuclear weapons.

Updated at 12:20 p.m. ET

President Trump says his historic summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un will take place in Singapore next month.

"We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" Trump tweeted.

The talks, now scheduled for June 12, will mark the first time a sitting U.S. president has met with the leader of North Korea.

President Trump says he will greet three Americans released from North Korea when they land in the U.S. early on Thursday.

Trump tweeted out the news exactly a week after he first hinted on Twitter about the possible release of the detainees, urging the public to "stay tuned."

Updated at 6:36 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Tuesday that he has decided to exit a 2015 multinational agreement in which Iran agreed to limit its production of nuclear weapons material.

"I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal," Trump said.

He said the U.S. will reimpose economic sanctions that were lifted as part of the U.S. commitments made in the deal.

President Trump will speak at the National Rifle Association's annual convention on Friday, a little more than two months after he pledged to stand up to the gun rights organization in the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET Saturday

The White House has completed its investigation of the most serious allegations that surfaced against Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, a White House official said. Jackson had been President Trump's nominee to be secretary of Veterans Affairs until he pulled out of consideration on Thursday.

Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET

President Trump expressed optimism for upcoming talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying of a potential agreement to denuclearize the Korean peninsula "I hope I'm able to do [it] for the world."

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AILSA CHANG, HOST:

President Trump will welcome French President Emmanuel Macron to the United States for an official state visit on Monday, in the latest sign of goodwill between the two leaders.

The two got off to a rocky start after sharing a tense handshake at their first meeting at a NATO summit in Brussels last May. But since that shaky beginning, Trump and Macron have developed a surprisingly collegial bond.

President Trump will not meet the federal deadline to file his 2017 tax return in April, the White House said.

"The president filed an extension for his 2017 tax return, as do many Americans with complex returns," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders said Trump will file his returns by Oct. 15, the deadline set by the IRS for taxpayers who ask for extensions.

Trump has bucked decades of tradition by not releasing his tax returns to the public.

The hits keep coming for EPA chief Scott Pruitt, with a new report from a government watchdog agency concluding that the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law when it spent more than $43,000 to build a soundproof privacy booth in Pruitt's office.

The Government Accountability Office found that the EPA spent the money without providing advance notice to Congress, as required by law.

The White House sought to discredit James Comey ahead of the release of his memoir next week, lashing out at the former FBI director in deeply personal terms on Friday.

Calling Comey a "disgraced partisan hack," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters that the American people would be able to see through the "lies" in Comey's book, which offers a scathing assessment of President Trump.

"This is nothing more than a poorly executed PR stunt by Comey to desperately rehabilitate his tattered reputation," Sanders said at a briefing.

Updated at 9:58 p.m. ET

President Trump believes Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller has gone too far in his probe of potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

Her statement to reporters did little to tamp down speculation that Trump may seek to fire Mueller — an authority that Sanders says Trump enjoys.

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