Franco Ordoñez

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.

Ordoñez has received several state and national awards for his work, including the Casey Medal, the Gerald Loeb Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists, and is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and the University of Georgia.

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All right. We're joined now by NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis and White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez. Hey to both of you.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hello.

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Updated at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday

President Trump went to Texas on Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to show off one of his signature election promises — the border wall — as Democratic lawmakers appear ready to move forward with impeaching him for a second time.

He has about a week left in office, but angry lawmakers are calling on him to resign after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as a joint session of Congress met inside to certify the results of the election.

President Trump is extending a freeze on new temporary work visas for tech and other highly skilled workers.

The extension means hundreds of thousands of foreigners looking to work in the United States will continue to have to wait until at least the end of March before having another chance to attain coveted visas to enter the country.

It is also another example of how the Trump administration is trying to box President-elect Joe Biden in on challenging policy matters.

A clash has broken out between factions at the White House over whether to extend an expiring freeze on various temporary work visas, including those used by foreign high-tech workers and by au pairs, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

The measure, which President Trump signed earlier in 2020, is due to expire at the end of the year, on Thursday.

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Updated Dec. 15 at 8:45 p.m.

Immigration activists are gearing up for a fight to push President-elect Joe Biden to do more to counter the measures taken by President Trump that made life more uncomfortable for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

But they may find they get less than they hope for from the Biden administration, which finds itself having to balance the demands of activists with the inherent limits on executive powers.

As President-elect Joe Biden crafts his Cabinet and White House team of advisers, he has pledged to make it the most diverse team in history. But in his picks so far, there is one thing that most of his team will have in common: service in the Obama administration.

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Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden intends to nominate Denis McDonough to run Veterans Affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

McDonough is a longtime aide of former President Barack Obama and served as his chief of staff from 2013 to 2017.

Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a source familiar with the transition discussions said Tuesday. The source spoke on condition of anonymity about private conversations.

Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Lloyd Austin, the retired U.S. Army four-star general, as his pick for secretary of defense in his incoming administration, two sources familiar with the decision confirmed to NPR.

Austin joins a growing and diverse list of nominees for Biden's cabinet, which the president-elect has said he wants to reflect the diversity of America. If confirmed, Austin would be the first African American to lead the department.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former congressman and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, according to a source familiar with transition discussions who is not authorized to speak on the record.

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former Obama aide Brian Deese as director of the National Economic Council, his top economic adviser at the White House.

Deese helped former President Barack Obama rescue the auto industry during the 2009 economic crisis and played a key role in negotiating the Paris climate accords.

But the pick raised the ire of some progressive groups even before it was made official Thursday because of Deese's work for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday named seven women to key communications roles in his incoming White House. His transition team says it's the first time in history that the positions will be filled entirely by women.

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President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to name a second high-level climate position in the White House, a counterpart to his diplomatic climate envoy John Kerry, to ramp up action dramatically at home.

Updated at 9:36 p.m. ET

The White House has given its blessing for President-elect Joe Biden to receive the summary of intelligence reports contained in the presidential daily brief that President Trump receives, according to a White House official and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The United States has had 77 Treasury secretaries in the last 231 years. So far, they've all been men.

That's about to change.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department, a source close to the transition told NPR on Monday

If confirmed, Yellen would play a leading role in shaping economic policy as the United States continues to dig its way out of the deep hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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In the two weeks since it became clear that President Trump lost the election to Joe Biden — a period bookended by befuddling press conferences from his longtime lawyer, Rudy Giuliani — the president has made it clear that he will spend his remaining days in the White House in the same way he spent much of his term in office: fighting.

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President Trump has been unusually silent since he lost the election. It's been more than a week since he's spoken publicly.

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President-elect Joe Biden says President Trump's refusal to accept the outcome of the election is not affecting his transition plans.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

In the hours before President Trump began to realize that he may not get to "Make America Great Again, Again," the former reality television star who stunned the world in 2016 with his improbable leap to the White House allowed for a moment of candor.

"You know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me, it's not," Trump told reporters on Election Day, his voice hoarse from an unforgiving three-week marathon of rallies.

Now, the world is seeing just how difficult it is for a man who built his brand on winning to lose.

Aides to President Trump have been counseling him this week that his legal options to try to contest the election are limited, but Trump wants to fight it out, a former campaign adviser who remains in touch with key players told NPR.

"It's dawning on him," the former adviser said, speaking on condition of anonymity to comment on private conversations. "He never thought he could lose ... and those of us who are in Trump World, we actually never believed he could lose."

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Updated at 4 a.m. ET

The 2020 presidential election remained up in the air early Wednesday after tight races, strong turnout and record amounts of mail-in voting left millions of legitimate votes still to be counted, and races in six key states too close to call.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden urged patience until "every vote is counted," but President Trump railed against the extra time required to count the ballots, falsely accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election from him.

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