Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor is the lead digital political reporter for NPR. Based in Washington, D.C., she covers the 2016 elections and national politics for NPR digital.

Before joining NPR in May 2015, Taylor was the campaign editor for The Hill newspaper where she oversaw the newspaper's 2014 midterm coverage, managed a team of political reporters and wrote her own biweekly column.

Prior to The Hill, Taylor was a writer and producer for MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd" and a contributor to the NBC News Political Unit. She covered and reported on the 2012 election as a senior analyst for The Rothenberg Gonzales Political Report. Her quotes have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, as well as several state and regional newspapers across the country. Taylor has also appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, CNN and other local network affiliates.

On Election Night 2012, Jessica served as an off-air analyst for CBS News in New York, advising producers and reporters on House and Senate races.

Previously, Jessica was editor of National Journal's "House Race Hotline" and Assistant Editor for POLITICO during the 2010 midterms. She began her career in Washington as the research director for The Almanac of American Politics.

A native of Elizabethton, Tenn., she is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, S.C. and now lives in Alexandria, Va.

There was a private lobbying force behind President Trump's change of heart on his controversial policy that resulted in thousands of family separations at the southern U.S. border: first lady Melania Trump.

A White House official confirmed to NPR's Sarah McCammon that Mrs. Trump pressed her husband to act to keep undocumented immigrant families together.

Updated at 9:41 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Results from Tuesday's primaries underscored one major theme – it's Donald Trump's Republican Party now.

‪"The Republican Party has moved from the country club to the country," former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, who ran the committee charged with electing Republicans to the House, told NPR's Morning Edition on Wednesday.

Mark Sanford is a political survivor like few others.

As governor of South Carolina, he disappeared from the state and infamously claimed to be "hiking the Appalachian Trail" in 2009 when he was instead carrying on an extramarital affair in Argentina.

That scandal ended Sanford's marriage but he rode out the political storm and finished his second term in 2011.

Democratic dreams of a massive blue wave delivering them a House majority this fall may be dimming.

"Right now there's not a lot of signs of a true wave," argued one longtime House GOP operative. "There are tough races, and the Democrats have a path to the majority, but if they get locked out of two or three seats in California, or nominate far-left candidates in some of these battleground races, that starts to make it a lot harder."

Updated at 9:27 a.m. ET

President Trump tried out his own midterm playbook Tuesday at a campaign rally in Tennessee by ramping up his rhetoric on illegal immigration and gang-related crimes.

The president's main goal with the Nashville event was to campaign for GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who finds herself in a close Senate contest with former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen that could be pivotal in deciding control of the Senate.

Updated at 11:47 p.m. ET

Tuesday was another big night for Democratic women and political newcomers in the party, with a historic nomination in Georgia, an intra-party squabble settled in Texas and an upset victory in a Kentucky House race.

The day's contests featured Democratic ideological and stylistic battles, but in the end the national party largely got the candidates they wanted — especially in critical Texas — that they believe will be the most competitive general election nominees.

Updated at 11:17 a.m. ET Wednesday

Democratic women again finished strong in primaries on Tuesday night, with Pennsylvania poised to send as many as four to Congress next year to break up the state's all-male congressional delegation.

Democrats are going into the 2018 elections with the wind at their backs, which could even be enough to flip a Senate map heavily stacked for Republicans come November.

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET

Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's embattled nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, has withdrawn from consideration for the post amid allegations he had fostered a hostile work environment and behaved improperly while serving as the top doctor leading the White House medical unit.

Former President George H.W. Bush, whose wife, Barbara, died just last week, has been admitted to a Houston hospital for an infection that has spread to his blood.

"He is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering," Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. "We will issue additional updates as events warrant."

Pledging to impeach President Trump would backfire on Democrats hoping to take back the House of Representatives this fall, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

Republicans and Democrats are deeply divided on how they see special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to President Trump's campaign, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

President Trump unloaded on both Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, hours after federal agents raided the office of Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen.

"It's a disgraceful situation. It's a total witch hunt," Trump said on Monday. "When I saw this, when I heard about it, that is a whole new level of unfairness."

Embattled Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, announced Friday that he has resigned from Congress, months after reports surfaced that he had used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim by a former staffer.

"While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it's time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve," the four-term congressman said in a statement.

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones delivered his maiden speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday, tackling a topic that would seem anathema to most Southern Democrats — gun control.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET Wednesday

Incumbents on both sides of the aisle prevailed in their contested races, as Tuesday's Illinois primaries set the stage for competitive House and gubernatorial races this fall that could be key to Democratic comeback efforts in 2018.

Updated Saturday, March 10 at 2:32 p.m. ET

The White House appeared Friday to put conditions on a much anticipated meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying it would only happen once the rogue nation takes "concrete and verifiable action" to demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization.

"We've accepted the invitation to talk based on them following through on concrete actions on the promises they've made," Sanders said Friday.

Updated at 7:52 p.m. ET

In a freewheeling meeting with lawmakers on efforts to curtail gun violence, President Trump appeared to throw his support behind a number of conflicting measures, including some that are opposed by the powerful gun lobby.

Conservatives and allies of the president were angered by such signals on Wednesday, while others have begun to sound the alarm that Trump is continuing to demonstrate an unfamiliarity with basic policy proposals and a misunderstanding of the legislative process.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET

During a meandering speech Friday morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference, President Trump doubled down on arming some teachers and school personnel after last week's shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that killed 17 people.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Just over a week after 17 people were killed at Parkland, Fla., high school, National Rifle Association executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre gave a fiery, defiant speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, on Thursday at the National Harbor in Maryland. LaPierre defended Second Amendment rights and warned of a "socialist agenda" intended to strip firearms away from law-abiding citizens.

A week after 17 people were killed at a Parkland, Fla., high school, President Trump hosted survivors, parents and teachers from that and other recent school shooting tragedies for an emotional, nearly 90-minute listening session at the White House Wednesday.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

If the answer is, "This longtime Jeopardy! host has been chosen to moderate a Pennsylvania gubernatorial debate this fall," then the question is, "Who is Alex Trebek?"

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

Following the deadly school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14, President Trump is directing the Department of Justice to develop regulations to ban bump stocks.

"Just a few moments ago I signed a memorandum directing the AG to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns. I expect that these critical regulations will be finalized, Jeff, very soon," Trump said, referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities in connection with the attack on the 2016 presidential election.

The defendants are "accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes," according to a statement from the special counsel's office. The indictment charges them with "conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft."

The Republican National Committee has named Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts its new finance chairman days after its former fundraising chief, real estate and casino magnate Steve Wynn, stepped down amid allegations of sexual assault.

"His incredible leadership and proven track record of results will continue to grow support for our party and ensure we have the resources needed to deliver Republican victories in 2018 and beyond," RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said of Ricketts.

South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy announced Wednesday that he is not seeking re-election, making him the 34th Republican and ninth committee chairman to retire ahead of the potentially brutal 2018 midterm elections.

Gowdy is a former prosecutor who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. He gained national attention and conservative acclaim as the chairman of the House select committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's response to the attacks.

Updated on Jan. 31 at 12:47 a.m. ET

President Trump sought to strike a unifying tone with his first State of the Union address, but some of his rhetoric on immigration and his promise to put "America First" was clearly aimed at his base.

It's a no-go from Oprah for 2020.

Oprah Winfrey, the media mogul and actress who spurred buzz of a White House bid with her stirring speech at the Golden Globes this month, told InStyle that she isn't interested in being president.

"I've always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. ... I don't have the DNA for it," Winfrey told the magazine.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

The federal government is in the midst of a partial shutdown, and it appears it will be that way for some time.

President Trump and members of Congress publicly say they want to reopen the federal government, but, in the first day of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue showed no signs of ending their stalemate.

As President Trump approaches the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, a majority of Americans think that his first year in office has been a failure and that he has divided the nation.

NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll data released Thursday finds that Americans deemed Trump's first year a failure, 53 percent to 40 percent. And by an almost 2-to-1 ratio (61 percent to 32 percent), Americans said they believe Trump has divided the country since his election.

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