Mara Liasson

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

Each election year, Liasson provides key coverage of the candidates and issues in both presidential and congressional races. During her tenure she has covered seven presidential elections — in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Prior to her current assignment, Liasson was NPR's White House correspondent for all eight years of the Clinton administration. She has won the White House Correspondents' Association's Merriman Smith Award for daily news coverage in 1994, 1995, and again in 1997. From 1989-1992 Liasson was NPR's congressional correspondent.

Liasson joined NPR in 1985 as a general assignment reporter and newscaster. From September 1988 to June 1989 she took a leave of absence from NPR to attend Columbia University in New York as a recipient of a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism.

Prior to joining NPR, Liasson was a freelance radio and television reporter in San Francisco. She was also managing editor and anchor of California Edition, a California Public Radio nightly news program, and a print journalist for The Vineyard Gazette in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Liasson is a graduate of Brown University where she earned a bachelor's degree in American history.

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Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET

President Trump is set to unveil an immigration plan that would vastly change who is allowed into the United States.

Trump will present the plan in a speech from the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon.

The new plan would focus on reducing family-based immigration to the U.S. in favor of employment-skill-based immigration.

But overall, the number of green cards issued under this plan would not change, and there would be no reduction in net immigration.

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We are awaiting the release of special - the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report sometime later this morning, and we'll be covering that throughout the day. What we do have so far is a press conference that ended just a short while ago.

With a dramatic shake-up at the highest levels of the Department of Homeland Security, President Trump has signaled that he wants to get even tougher on immigration.

But how much tougher can he get?

Trump has been frustrated with the inability of DHS to stop a surge of Central American migrant families and children from crossing the Southern border.

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We're going to continue the conversation with NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, Thanks so much for joining us.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Happy to be here.

MARTIN: What does this mean?

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There's a huge 2020 Democratic field forming for the chance to take on President Trump. Two more candidates officially announced over the weekend – Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

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Well, last night had all the pomp and circumstance that only a State of the Union can provide. President Trump delivered his second last night, weaving together partisan attacks and some calls for unity.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2019 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS)

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President Trump was asked a pretty extraordinary question over the weekend. It came from Fox News host Jeanine Pirro. She asked Trump if he has ever worked for Russia. The president did not exactly say no. He did say this.

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OK, now let's bring in NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hey, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi there.

CHANG: So you've also read the resignation letter Mattis released. What about it stood out to you?

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And today a pro-Trump super PAC called Great America Alliance released this ad attacking Broward County election supervisor Brenda Snipes.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

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It is Election Day.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You got to go out and vote.

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BARACK OBAMA: Don't boo. Vote.

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Keeping control of the House would validate President Trump's governing style and mean full speed ahead for Hill Republicans to move his agenda. But if the GOP loses its majority it will need to to go on defense to protect Trump.

When the Democrats lost the House in 2010, they rapidly saw President Barack Obama's legislative agenda die.

Veteran Democratic strategist Paul Begala doesn't think it's hyperbolic to say that "everything" is at stake for Democrats heading into Tuesday's elections.

"They always say it's the most important election of your life," he says, explaining that in the past two years, Democrats learned the consequences of being "completely shut out" as the GOP controlled both Congress and the White House.

If Democrats fail to take back the House and make significant gains at the state level, they'll be shut out again, without a say in legislation and judicial appointments.

In one respect, this is a typical midterm election — a race shaped as a referendum on the president and the party in power.

But there are so many ways in which this election is anything but typical. We've seen a surge in first-time candidates, especially women and minorities. In the past several midterms, the party in power was relatively complacent compared with the party hoping to be in power. Heading into Election Day, Democrats have an enthusiasm edge, but Republicans have been getting steadily amped up, too.

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In TV commercials and on debate stages across America, the attacks are now blistering as candidates see Election Day coming up fast.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

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Midterm elections have often been seen as a referendum on the president and his party. Many presidents try to shy away from that idea. But not Donald Trump. He has a lot on the line next month, and he knows it, as NPR's Mara Liasson reports.

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