Trump Administration

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

President Trump says he will nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, spurring what's likely to be a bitter confirmation fight just weeks before the presidential election.

If confirmed by the Senate, the 48-year-old judge will solidify the court's conservative majority, shaping the trajectory of health care law, abortion rights and many corners of American life for generations to come.

Updated at 1:37 p.m. ET

Amid criticism from Democrats that politics may be guiding decisions at the nation's top health agencies, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration told Congress on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine would not be approved until it met "vigorous expectations" for safety and effectiveness.

President Donald Trump says an executive order he signed on Saturday funds a $400 weekly supplement to unemployment benefits. But it likely won't be as helpful as it seems.


TARYN JIM

This week, a federal cold case task force office opened in Billings to investigate unresolved cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous people [MMIP]. It’s one of seven established across Indian Country this summer, part of the Trump administration’s multi-agency initiative, called “Operation Lady Justice,” to combat violence against Native people.

Hana Vizcarra

Several policies that affect the west and the energy landscape here are back in the news, including proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, the Bureau of Land Management Waste Prevention Rule, and the Great American Outdoors Act.

On August 4, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. On July 29, three coalitions of environmental groups filed lawsuits challenging the final NEPA regulations. On July 29, the EPA made changes to how coal ash will be treated, including extending a deadline for discarding the waste in unlined ponds. On July 23, EPA the Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding hoping to boost production of uranium.

Hana Vizcarra, staff attorney at Harvard Law School's Environmental & Energy Law Program, spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper Mckim about why so much action is happening right now.

Jacob W. Frank / NPS

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill being hailed as the biggest public lands and conservation legislation in a generation.

Since coronavirus began infecting millions of Americans, Wyoming lawmakers have been critical of President Donald Trump's stance on combatting the pandemic. While they never criticize him directly, one of their attempts to tiptoe around the Trump-sized elephant in the room backfired…as Fox News host Bret Baier told his audience last week.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday placed much of the blame for the swell in coronavirus cases on recent demonstrations against racism and police brutality, ignoring in large part his administration's push to reopen the national economy before the virus had been fully contained.

The move came without much warning. 

“We were stunned,” Dr. Christine Hahn, the Idaho State epidemiologist, told the radio show Idaho Matters


Updated at 7:50 p.m. ET

President Trump spoke in the White House Rose Garden on a broad range of topics on Tuesday, pitching himself as the stronger competitor over rival Joe Biden to manage the deadly coronavirus pandemic and steer the U.S. economy to prosperity.

His remarks come amid mounting concerns raised by public health officials about his administration's aggressive pitch to return the United States to normalcy, including pushing guidance for schools to reopen for in-person classes this fall.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

After dropping more than $3 trillion and counting on the coronavirus pandemic in the spring, Republicans decided to hide the nation's credit card. But with the pandemic worsening, along with this recession, both parties are recognizing Congress has more work to do. President Trump has called for sweeping infrastructure legislation in the past, so Democrats tried to see if he meant it and passed their $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill earlier this month. Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney and other GOP leaders helped convince all but three Republicans to oppose it.

Aina Farid Shah

When the University of Wyoming announced that it will resume in-person classes and re-open campus in the fall, international student Aina Farid Shah was worried. "At first I was shocked, because, isn't that unsafe?" she said.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Nearly two-thirds of residents in the Mountain West believe Trump isn't doing a good job handling the pandemic, according to a survey from researchers at Harvard, Rutgers, Northeastern and Northwestern universities released Tuesday.

 


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

As Native American tribes across the country struggle to contain the coronavirus, the White House has pressured the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to remove its COVID-19 checkpoints on highways in South Dakota, according to a recording of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows obtained by the Mountain West News Bureau. 

U.S. House Office of Photography

The Trump administration has aggressively moved to unwind an array of federal regulations since the coronavirus pandemic hit America, and that's in line with what Wyoming's federal lawmakers have wanted all along. But Matt Laslo reports from Washington that one of them is contradicting President Trump and says more testing is the key to recovery.

Two-thirds of Americans think the federal government should be doing more to reduce the impacts of climate change, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

The White House Coronavirus Task Force renewed calls for vigilance on Friday, acknowledging rising cases across Southern states and in parts of California.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday said he would remove some U.S. troops from Germany and relocate them to Poland and other European and U.S. locations, a reaction to his long-standing complaint that Germany falls short on defense spending obligations to NATO.

Trump made the announcement after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, the first foreign leader to visit the White House since the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to normal diplomatic events in March.

Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET

Justice Department witnesses told House lawmakers on Wednesday they've observed political interference in big cases, including those involving a friend of President Trump's.

Two currently serving lawyers appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to detail their concerns, which were revealed Tuesday in written testimony they prepared ahead of time.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday encouraging police departments to improve training — a step critics say falls short of what is needed to curb police officers' use of force against nonwhites.

The order comes as the president faces tremendous pressure to take action following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police last month.

Wildfire season is upon us. As fire crews start heading out, politicians and the Trump administration are at odds over the measures needed to keep firefighters safe and on the job.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday defended the decision to order that protesters be driven back from a park near the White House this week and said extremist groups were involved in sometimes violent demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

This story was updated on June 1 to include WHO's reaction from its daily press conference.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said he learned of President Trump's intentions of "terminating" the decades-long U.S. relationship with WHO through Trump's press briefing on Friday.

Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET

The United States is rescinding a number of special considerations for Hong Kong in retaliation for what Washington calls a naked power grab by China's central government.

President Trump announced a suite of changes Friday in what had been billed as a press conference but which turned out to be an on-camera statement, after which he took no questions.

Trump administration officials defended their handling of worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic at a congressional hearing Thursday in Washington, D.C. But they acknowledged a grim new tally of deaths among doctors and nurses is "likely to be an underestimate," according to testimony from Dr. John Howard, head of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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 3:45 p.m. ET

President Trump is giving the World Health Organization 30 days to commit to substantial changes in how it operates — or he will make his hold on U.S. funding permanent. The threat came in a letter that sharply criticizes the WHO response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its relationship with China.

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.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, will remotely address the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday regarding the disbursement of hundreds of billions of dollars in coronavirus relief aid.

In written testimony released on Monday (below), Powell described the pandemic as having caused "a level of pain that is hard to capture in words."

He added: "As a society, we should do everything we can to provide relief to those who are suffering for the public good."

President Trump on Friday unveiled more details of "Operation Warp Speed" – an effort to accelerate the development of a vaccine and medical treatments for the coronavirus by January.

"We're looking to get it by the end of the year if we can, maybe before," Trump said as top medical, military and Cabinet officials, many of them wearing face masks, joined him in the Rose Garden.

Trump compared the effort to the Manhattan Project – the World War II effort to build the first nuclear weapon.

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