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Brett Neely

Brett Neely is an editor with NPR's Washington Desk, where he works closely with NPR Member station reporters on political coverage and edits stories about election security and voting rights.

Before coming to NPR in 2015, Neely was a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio based in Washington, where he covered Congress and the federal government for one of public radio's largest newsrooms. Between 2007 and 2009, he was based in Berlin, where he worked as a freelance reporter for multiple outlets. He got his start in journalism as a producer for the public radio show Marketplace.

Neely graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles. He also has a master's degree in international relations from the University of Chicago. He is a fluent German speaker.

Updated at 6:38 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday escalated his rhetorical campaign against an expansion of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic by threatening federal funding to two states with Democratic governors.

Trump appeared to be set off by an announcement Tuesday from Michigan's Democratic secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, who said her office will mail an absentee ballot application to every voter in the state for August and November elections.

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

President Trump will not be able to shake off a lawsuit that accuses him of violating the Constitution by continuing to own his businesses while serving as president, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

The 9-6 decision by the full 4th Circuit Court of Appeals opens the way for the governments of Washington, D.C., and Maryland to get documents and financial records in the case.

In a 21-page decision, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz described some of the Department of Justice's arguments on behalf of Trump as "puzzling."

At least seven people may have become infected with the coronavirus as a result of Wisconsin's controversial decision to go forward with in-person voting for its April 7 election, Milwaukee's top public health officer said Monday.

"As of today, we have identified seven individuals that contracted, or at least it appears, COVID-19 through election-related activities," said Jeanette Kowalik, the city's health commissioner.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Wisconsin's in-person primary election is on for Tuesday, but several last-minute orders and court rulings have thrown chaos into the process, hours before polls are scheduled to open.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court overruled the governor's order to postpone Tuesday's election and ordered it to proceed apace. There could be further court challenges, as the hours dwindle before polls are scheduled to open.

Wisconsin's April 7 primary will proceed amid the coronavirus pandemic, but with significant changes, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge William Conley said he could not change the date of the election but chastised Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled legislature for not rescheduling the election.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that Wisconsin should postpone next week's scheduled primary election amid the coronavirus outbreak, even as the state's governor said he was turning to the National Guard to help staff polling places on April 7.

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET Tuesday

After intense legal wrangling, Ohio postponed its Tuesday primary election just hours before polls were set to open.

Early Tuesday morning, the state Supreme Court denied a judge's attempt to let the primary continue after Gov. Mike DeWine had asked the court to delay the primary until June 2 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have canceled their respective rallies tonight in Cleveland, Ohio, with the campaigns citing public health concerns amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Weeks before the first votes of the 2020 presidential election, Americans report a high level of concern about how secure that election will be and worry about the perils of disinformation, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said they believed the U.S. is not very prepared or not prepared at all to keep November's election safe and secure.

Updated at 4:07 p.m. ET

Next year's Group of Seven gathering of the leaders of the world's biggest economies will take place at President Trump's Doral golf resort outside of Miami, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced on Thursday.

"We used a lot of the same criteria used by past administrations," Mulvaney said. He later said it was almost as though the resort had been built for the event.

The fate of the filibuster — a 60-vote threshold for most legislation in the U.S. Senate — is again an issue of controversy among Democratic presidential candidates.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the supermajority requirement is preventing Congress from passing popular bills — such as a background check bill.

During the first night of the second Democratic presidential debate, the question of how to reduce gun violence emerged as one issue on which the sometimes-splintered Democratic Party speaks with as close to one voice as it can.

"As your president, I will not fold," vowed Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., before rattling off her list of proposals, which included background checks, an assault weapons ban and "something" about magazines.

Updated at 9:44 a.m. ET

The House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Wednesday to authorize subpoenas for the full version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, the committee announced Monday.

North Carolina prosecutors have announced that Leslie McCrae Dowless, the political operative accused of illegally collecting absentee ballots in that state's 9th Congressional District, has been indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and possessing absentee ballots.

The issue of gerrymandering — the ability of politicians to draw legislative districts to benefit their own party — burst into view as a major political issue in 2018.

Even as voters and courts vigorously rejected the practice this year, politicians in some states are doing their best to remain in control of the redistricting process. Critics argue that amounts to letting politicians pick their own voters.

In a case that could shed light on the finances of the secretive Trump Organization, a federal judge has signed orders to issue 30 subpoenas on behalf of the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia in their lawsuit alleging that President Trump is profiting from foreign and state governments' spending at the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.

Updated at 11:18 p.m. ET

Days before the Senate is set to hear from a woman who alleges that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her while in high school, Kavanaugh is denying fresh accusations from a college classmate who also alleges he acted inappropriately toward her.

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

A day after a key lawmaker said the U.S. government was not doing enough to take election interference by foreign powers seriously, the Trump administration responded forcefully with a surprise White House briefing to emphasize the breadth and extent of its election security initiatives.

"The president has taken decisive action to defend our election systems from meddling and interference," national security adviser John Bolton said at the briefing.

With less than four months to go, how much are this year's midterm elections at risk for the kind of interference sowed by Russia in 2016?

Updated at 3:29 p.m. ET

President Trump admitted Thursday to reimbursing his lawyer for a $130,000 payment made on the eve of the 2016 election to porn actress Stormy Daniels as part of a settlement about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.

Trump, however, denied any sexual encounter and claims the payment was in no way connected with the campaign — despite the timing.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify on Capitol Hill on April 10 and 11 before the a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, followed by one before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to answer questions about how the company protects its users' data.

Updated at 1:15 a.m. ET Thursday

An Amtrak train carrying House and Senate Republicans to their annual retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck Wednesday morning near Charlottesville, Va.

At least one person was killed, according to a statement released by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Updated at 9:00 a.m.

Reaction to President Trump's first State of the Union speech followed the familiar choose-your-own-partisan-narrative script that's dominated political life since the 2016 election.

Republican members of Congress frequently offered safe, predictable praise particularly around economic policy. Said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: "We're coming out of this economic funk that we were in throughout the Obama years and the president was right to talk about it and to take some credit for the direction America is heading in."

Updated at 10:01 p.m. ET

The Senate will vote at noon on Monday to end the government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor Sunday evening and laid out a plan to restore government funding for three weeks and consider immigration proposals, while bipartisan talks continue to end the impasse that has triggered a partial government shutdown since Friday night.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer objected to a vote on Sunday evening, but not the plan to vote on Monday.

For 20-odd hours, Virginia Democrats were giddy with the news that a recount had delivered Shelly Simonds a seat in the House of Delegates with a victory margin of a single vote. The Democratic win would mean a 50-50 party split in the House of Delegates, ending 17 years of Republican control and forcing a rare power-sharing agreement.

In odd-numbered years, Election Day consists of a hodgepodge of state, local and special elections.

But in an era when, to flip an old phrase, all politics is national, these low-profile, low-turnout elections might have a lot more to say about the direction of the country than may have been the case just a few years ago.

Two governors races and one president in the background

When West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice stood next to President Trump during a campaign rally in Huntington, W.Va., on Thursday to announce that he was switching parties and becoming a Republican, it was a historic moment for the GOP.

Kid Rock, the singer whose career has spanned rap, hard rock and country music, is fueling the speculation that he intends to announce a bid for the U.S. Senate next year to challenge incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. That is unless it's all a publicity stunt.

A day after shocking the political and foreign policy establishments on both sides of the aisle with a call for Russia to hack into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email, Republican nominee Donald Trump now says he was being "sarcastic."

Less than 24 hours earlier, Trump said he would welcome Russian hackers releasing any emails they could "find" from the private email server Clinton used while serving as secretary of state.

Less than 12 hours after he was booed for not endorsing GOP nominee Donald Trump during his late-night speech before the Republican National Convention, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wasn't backing down.

At an emotional event with the Texas RNC delegation Thursday morning, Cruz defended his decision to withhold his endorsement at a time when Republicans are trying to rally around their nominee ahead of the general election.

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