Bobby Allyn | WYPR

Bobby Allyn

Bobby Allyn is a business reporter at NPR based in San Francisco. He covers technology and how Silicon Valley's largest companies are transforming how we live and reshaping society.

He came to San Francisco from Washington, where he focused on national breaking news and politics. Before that, he covered criminal justice at member station WHYY.

In that role, he focused on major corruption trials, law enforcement, and local criminal justice policy. He helped lead NPR's reporting of Bill Cosby's two criminal trials. He was a guest on Fresh Air after breaking a major story about the nation's first supervised injection site plan in Philadelphia. In between daily stories, he has worked on several investigative projects, including a story that exposed how the federal government was quietly hiring debt collection law firms to target the homes of student borrowers who had defaulted on their loans. Allyn also strayed from his beat to cover Philly parking disputes that divided in the city, the last meal at one of the city's last all-night diners, and a remembrance of the man who wrote the Mister Softee jingle on a xylophone in the basement of his Northeast Philly home.

At other points in life, Allyn has been a staff reporter at Nashville Public Radio and daily newspapers including The Oregonian in Portland and The Tennessean in Nashville. His work has also appeared in BuzzFeed News, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

A native of Wilkes-Barre, a former mining town in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Allyn is the son of a machinist and a church organist. He's a dedicated bike commuter and long-distance runner. He is a graduate of American University in Washington.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

President Trump has proposed sending money directly to Americans to help blunt the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, saying it's time to "go big" to boost the now-stalled economy.

Trump said he wants Congress to push through a major comprehensive package to help businesses and workers facing hardships — one of many abrupt shifts the administration has made this week as the scope of the pandemic has come into sharp focus.

In the face of the coronavirus worsening across the U.S. and reordering the daily life of millions of Americans, fewer people view the pandemic as a real threat, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just about 56% of Americans consider the coronavirus a "real threat," representing a drop of 10 percentage points from last month. At the same time, a growing number of Americans think the coronavirus is being "blown out of proportion."

Updated 1:15 p.m. ET Sunday

Airline passengers returning to the U.S. were confronted with snaking lines causing hours-long delays and confusion at airports around the country starting Saturday as a result of required medical screenings now in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Updated at 12:34 a.m. ET Thursday

President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from European countries to the United States, beginning on Friday at midnight, in a bid "to keep new cases" of coronavirus "from entering our shores."

The restrictions, he said late Wednesday, do not apply to travelers from the United Kingdom.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET Tuesday

Reps. Mark Meadows, Doug Collins, and Matt Gaetz said Monday that they are self-quarantining after learning they came in contact with a person infected with coronavirus while attending a conservative conference in the Washington area last month.

Updated at 10:19 p.m. ET

President Trump said Monday that the White House is planning to ask Congress to pass a payroll tax cut and relief for hourly wage earners in order to assist workers who may be feeling the financial pinch amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump said that top administration officials will be meeting with Republican members of the House and Senate on Tuesday to discuss the possible payroll tax cuts and help for hourly workers.

Updated 11:41 a.m. ET Thursday

After a two-year battle, the Philadelphia nonprofit Safehouse says next week it will open the first space in the U.S. where people struggling with addiction can use opioids and other illegal drugs under the supervision of trained staff.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

As coronavirus prevention and control measures continue in China, new outbreaks of the respiratory disease COVID-19 in South Korea, Italy and Iran have health officials on high alert over the global spread of an illness that has infected nearly 77,000 people in China, with more than 2,400 deaths tied to the virus.

In a meeting with Communist Party leaders on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping called the epidemic "severely complex," noting that efforts to control the spread of the virus have entered a "crucial stage."

He isn't on the ballot in Nevada's caucuses, but billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on the national debate stage for the first time, joining five other Democratic candidates Wednesday night during the debate in Las Vegas. He qualified after surging in the polls.

Updated at 8:43 p.m. ET

Ex-governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was released from federal prison Tuesday evening following a commutation earlier in the day from President Trump that cut short his punishment on corruption charges over his attempt to sell the Senate seat vacated by then-President Barack Obama.

The White House announced that Blagojevich is among 11 people who received clemency.

More than 1,100 former Department of Justice officials are calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign after his department lowered the prison sentence recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime ally of President Trump, in a move that's led to accusations of political interference.

Forecasters in Mississippi are bracing for what could be one of the most devastating floods in the state's history, as days of heavy downpours stoke fears that a river in the state capital of Jackson will continue to swell beyond its banks and threaten the homes of thousands of people.

Flooding has already began to ripple across parts of Jackson and surrounding areas, and state and federal officials are working to contain the severity of the flooding in the face of additional rainfall expected in the days ahead.

Updated at 3:22 p.m. ET

After a fifth-place finish in Iowa, Amy Klobuchar's head-turning performance in New Hampshire on Tuesday night has some calling the Minnesota senator "the comeback kid."

Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET

Michael Bloomberg is distancing himself from a 2015 speech in which the former New York City mayor defended aggressive police tactics in minority neighborhoods.

Audio of the talk began recirculating online, generating fresh debate over stop and frisk, one of Bloomberg's signature policies as mayor, forcing him to back away from the remarks.

Bloomberg, in a statement, noted how he had apologized for championing stop and frisk before kicking off his presidential bid.

Updated at 10:26 p.m. ET

The coronavirus death toll has climbed to 811 in mainland China, according to Chinese health officials, a grim tally that surpasses the number of global fatalities recorded during the SARS epidemic between 2002 and 2003.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

House Democrats and President Trump's defense team made their final arguments in the Senate impeachment trial before lawmakers vote later this week on whether to remove Trump from office.

Both sides presented opposing versions of the president's handling of aid for Ukraine last summer and the impeachment proceedings so far, before ultimately arriving at divergent conclusions.

Updated at 8:00 p.m. ET

The Senate impeachment trial adjourned Friday evening, with a plan to return Monday morning to continue. Closing arguments will be presented Monday, after which senators will be permitted to speak on the floor. A final vote, during which President Trump is expected to be acquitted, is expected next Wednesday around 4 p.m. ET.

Updated at 10:56 p.m. ET

Senators weighing impeachment charges against President Trump spent Thursday firing questions at lawyers as they did the day before, just as the prospect of former national security adviser John Bolton's appearance as a witness continues to stoke speculation. The Senate will enter its next phase Friday — considering whether to allow witnesses and evidence.

Updated at 11:40 p.m. ET

The Senate on Wednesday night concluded the first of two days full of questions in the impeachment trial of President Trump. The proceeding offered clues about the thinking of senators, but the session consisted mostly of trial lawyers on both sides magnifying arguments they have already delivered.

There were, however, controversial moments in which Trump's counsel took positions Democrats decried as radical or even unlawful.

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a group of Senate Republicans late Tuesday that he does not yet have the votes to stop Democrats from calling witnesses during the impeachment trial of President Trump, according to people familiar with the discussion.

But even as McConnell made the concession, the dynamic remains fluid. Whether Democrats' push for witnesses succeeds or fails could come down to a group of moderate Republicans who have remained open, but uncommitted, to new witnesses since the start of the trial.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

As President Trump's legal team pressed the case for acquittal on Monday, they repeatedly made two points: the charges against Trump do not meet the constitution's criteria for impeachment. And if the president is removed from office for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, it will set a "dangerous" precedent.

"You cannot turn conduct that is not impeachable into impeachable conduct simply by using words like quid pro quo," said one of Trump's lawyers, Alan Dershowitz, calling the charges "vague, indefinable."

Updated at 9:00 p.m. ET

House Democrats on Friday finished their third and final day of arguments that President Trump, impeached by the House, now should be convicted and removed from office by the Senate.

The president's lawyers will get their turn to lay out the case for acquittal starting this weekend.

"A toxic mess"

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

House Democrats finished their second day of oral arguments on Thursday, contending that that President Trump's attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigations was not only an attempt to cheat in the 2020 election, but Democrats said it was also the kind of behavior the nation's founding fathers hoped to guard against.

Updated 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday

Investigators in Honolulu are combing through the charred rubble of seven homes and searching for the remains of a man who police say stabbed his landlord, fatally shot two officers and set a fire that destroyed his bungalow and six other homes.

Prosecutors in the U.S. Virgin Islands have unveiled a new lawsuit against the estate of Jeffrey Epstein alleging that over two decades he ran a conspiracy in which he transported young women and girls to his private Caribbean islands by helicopter and boat and then subjected them to sexual abuse.

The International Court of Justice in the Netherlands announced Wednesday that it is poised to make a decision on whether it will order Myanmar to put an end to what human rights watchers say has been a campaign of genocide against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority.

The United Nation's top court says the order will be handed down on Jan 23.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

A federal judge in Maryland has blocked the Trump administration's executive order allowing state and local governments to turn away refugees from resettling in their communities.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr announced Monday that 21 Saudi military cadets studying at U.S. military bases are being sent back to their home country after investigators found child pornography, "jihadi or anti-American content" on accounts or devices associated with the students.

The announcement comes a month after a Saudi national opened fire in a classroom at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., killing three young sailors and wounding eight others.

Updated 8:38 p.m. Sunday ET

The Trump administration is planning to announce on Monday that more than 20 Saudi students receiving military training in the United States will be sent back to their home country, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The expulsions come in the wake of a Pentagon review of the Saudi officer who opened fire last month at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., leaving three young sailors dead and wounding eight others.

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court has handed the Trump administration a victory by allowing the president to tap military construction funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

A divided 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the decision late Wednesday, reversing a lower court order that stopped Trump from using $3.6 billion in U.S Defense Department money to construct the long-promised border wall.

Pages