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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.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

A foreign service officer detailed to work in the office of Vice President Pence testified behind closed doors on Thursday in the ongoing House impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Jennifer Williams was assigned to work on European and Russian issues with the vice president's team in the spring. She is the first person from the vice president's office to testify in the probe of whether the president withheld military aid from Ukraine while seeking a political favor.

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

The impeachment inquiry into President Trump turned its spotlight on Monday on four top White House officials, asking them to testify behind closed doors as Democrats probe whether Trump held up military aid as leverage to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals.

But none of them showed up, citing legal advice.

Updated at 11:25 p.m. ET

Tim Morrison, the top Russia official on President Trump's National Security Council, who is scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry on Thursday, is set to leave his White House post imminently, three sources familiar with the plan told NPR.

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Updated at 11 a.m. ET

Investigators in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump hoped to talk to Charles Kupperman on Monday. But the former White House official failed to show up.

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The Trump administration is withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines against some immigrants in the country illegally who have sought refuge in churches.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has withdrawn the fines, ranging from $300,000 to nearly $500,000 for five immigrants living in sanctuary conditions around the country, according to the National Sanctuary Collective, which works with the families.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

Immigration hard-liners inside and outside the White House are fighting to keep Ken Cuccinelli and Mark Morgan in the running for the top job at the Department of Homeland Security after their candidacies hit a snag.

Democrats onstage during their party's presidential debate were quick to condemn President Trump's abrupt and unilateral decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria. But their responses as to what role the U.S. should play in the region were generally cloudier.

Trump's decision last week appeared to set in motion a Turkish incursion into northern Syria and the advancement of Turkish-backed militias against Kurdish forces that had helped the United States battle ISIS.

A disturbing video depicting President Trump shooting, stabbing and setting on fire critics and the media was played at a conference held by a pro-Trump group at his Miami resort.

The video rampage was shown during a three-day conference held by American Priority at Trump's National Doral Miami, according to the organizers.

Updated at 10:02 p.m. ET

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is leaving his post, the latest casualty at the department responsible for protecting U.S. borders.

President Trump said in a tweet Friday night that McAleenan had done an "outstanding job" but that he wanted to "spend more time with family and go to the private sector."

Trump added that he would announce a new acting secretary next week.

The growing divide between President Trump and many of his fellow Republicans over his decision to move U.S. troops in Syria out of the way of a Turkish incursion threatens his delicate alliance with the congressional GOP at a time when he needs their support more than ever, party strategists say.

Some of Trump's closest allies, however, say the division may ultimately help him with an impeachment fight.

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Republicans who support President Trump say the next three weeks are crucial to determine whether Trump can keep Republicans united behind him or if emerging cracks break open even wider.

Their growing concern is that the White House is not acting with enough urgency to combat the whistleblower fight.

They're calling for a more coordinated but also direct and aggressive strategy, similar to the one used when Republicans defended Brett Kavanaugh when Trump nominated him for the Supreme Court.

Updated at 6:21 p.m. ET

President Trump now says China should investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Trump brought up China, just days before restarting trade talks with Beijing, while answering questions about his call with his Ukrainian counterpart and what specifically he hoped Ukraine would do about the Biden family.

Updated at 5:17 p.m. ET

House Democrats postponed the first of their planned series of depositions about the Ukraine affair after objections by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, had been expected to meet with the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Wednesday — but that has been moved to Oct. 11, a committee official said.

The whistleblower complaint released Thursday charges that White House officials attempted to limit access to potentially damaging details about President Trump's call with Ukraine's president by using a classified system reserved for highly sensitive information.

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President Trump will return to the world's biggest stage this week to address heads of state at a time when U.S. global leadership is seen as waning.

When he takes the stage at the United Nations General Assembly for the third time on Tuesday, Trump is expected to "affirm America's leadership role" and "underscore that America is a positive alternative to authoritarianism," said a senior administration official.

Updated at 6:16 p.m. ET

President Trump's brand-new national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, will inherit a National Security Council struggling to attract talent, current and former U.S. officials tell NPR.

President Trump has promised to help the Bahamas recover from Hurricane Dorian, the devastating storm that has decimated parts of the island nation.

The United States is not only concerned about the Bahamian people, but also the national security implications if China steps in to help fill the country's vast needs, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Parts of the Bahamas are only about 50 miles off the coast of Florida, raising concerns about the potential for such a powerful economic and political adversary to gain a greater foothold in such proximity.

The Trump administration's decision to shift more than $100 million of federal disaster aid to help pay for more detention beds for migrants has set off an outcry just as Florida is bracing for Hurricane Dorian.

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President Trump has announced a new acting director of national intelligence. His name is Joseph Maguire. The current director, Dan Coats, is on his way out. And as of yesterday, so is the deputy director there, Sue Gordon.

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FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Thank you.

: We heard from President Trump not long ago, and he had this to say.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: These are two incredible places. We love the people. Hate has no place in our country.

The Trump administration is actively investigating imposing a travel ban against Guatemala unless the Central American nation takes significant steps to curb illegal migration northward.

As the United States has struggled to build support among its traditional allies in Europe to combat what it calls Iran's aggression, it has been forced to look elsewhere, such as Latin America, for support.

This week, the Argentine government plans to designate the militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, giving the Trump administration another ally in its push to build an international coalition to confront Iran. Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon, is supported by Iran.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

The White House announced Tuesday that it has quietly drafted a 620-page immigration bill and has lined up 10 Republican senators to co-sponsor the measure should it be introduced, according to a senior administration official involved in the process.

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