NPR Staff | Prairie Public Broadcasting

NPR Staff

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is stepping aside temporarily as chairman of the Intelligence Committee amid a Justice Department investigation of his stock trades, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday.

President Trump said in a letter to U.S. governors on Thursday that his administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local governments to use when making decisions about "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures" for the coronavirus epidemic.

Trump said officials are gathering testing data that will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as "high risk, medium risk or low risk" for the virus. The data will drive "the next phase" of the response, he said.

The challenges that COVID-19 poses for governments around the world are formidable. For Taiwan, there have been additional hurdles.

Experts say the island's response to the novel coronavirus has been remarkably effective so far, despite many serious challenges, starting with its close links to China, and may even hold lessons for others to follow.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee after the Justice Department took the unusual step of intervening in Roger Stone's sentencing recommendation.

President Trump hailed Barr on Wednesday for making the recommendation.

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, says the president should not back away from investigating Joe Biden even after Trump's expected acquittal Wednesday by the U.S. Senate.

"Absolutely, 100%," Giuliani told NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview Tuesday. "I would have no problem with him doing it. In fact, I'd have a problem with him not doing it. I think he would be saying that Joe Biden can get away with selling out the United States, making us a fool in the Ukraine."

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

As jurors in President Trump's impeachment trial, senators have remained silent as House impeachment managers and Trump's defense team make their cases. But now they have their opening.

The trial adjourned on Monday, giving senators their chance to take the floor. That window was still open on Tuesday; senators had up to 10 minutes each to speak.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke first on Tuesday, dismissing the two articles of impeachment against Trump as "constitutionally incoherent."

In Iowa, voters expect candidates to come to them. Homes, churches and schools serve as intimate venues for presidential hopefuls to meet and greet with folks who could have an impact on the momentum of their campaigns.

"We expect to shake their hands, we expect to look them in the eye, we expect to be able to ask them the questions we care about," says Rachel Paine Caufield, a political science professor at Drake University in Des Moines.

News organizations and journalists' advocates are challenging restrictive new ground rules for reporters assigned to cover the Senate impeachment trial.

Correspondents who submit to an official credentialing process are granted broad access throughout the Capitol complex and usually encounter few restrictions in talking with members of Congress or others.

But now Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger has imposed new requirements for the impeachment trial, negotiated in part with Republican leadership:

We don't have a crystal ball, but as journalists covering global health and development, we have a pretty good nose for emerging trends (with some help from our favorite expert sources).

Some likely trends give cause for optimism — signs of progress in solving the world's problems. Other trends are pessimistic — threats and challenges that are expected to worsen in the year ahead.

Here are 11 trend lines we'll be watching in 2020. First we'll give you the bad news — then the hopeful predictions.

The House Judiciary Committee unveiled its report on President Trump's impeachment late Sunday, one that combines the views of majority Democrats and minority Republicans.

Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said the release of the report summarizing the cases for and against action was "customary" and followed the practices of the committee in the administrations of former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

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