Tim Mak

Tim Mak is NPR's Washington Investigative Correspondent, focused on political enterprise journalism.

His reporting interests include the 2020 election campaign, national security and the role of technology in disinformation efforts.

He appears regularly on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and the NPR Politics Podcast.

Mak was one of NPR's lead reporters on the Mueller investigation and the Trump impeachment process. Before joining NPR, Mak worked as a senior correspondent at The Daily Beast, covering the 2016 presidential elections with an emphasis on national security. He has also worked on the Politico Defense team, the Politico breaking news desk and at the Washington Examiner. He has reported abroad from the Horn of Africa and East Asia.

Mak graduated with a B.A. from McGill University, where he was a valedictorian. He also currently holds a national certification as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Five states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon — have the highest risk of seeing increased militia activity around the elections: everything from demonstrations to violence.

That's the conclusion of a new report by ACLED, a crisis-mapping project, and the research group MilitiaWatch. They worked together to map out potential hot spots for militia-style activities around the elections.

The Trump administration has renewed a controversial contract with a Pittsburgh company to collect key COVID-19 data from hospitals.

The Department of Health and Human Services decided to award a second $10.2 million, six-month contract to TeleTracking Technologies even though Congressional committees are investigating the process by which the contract was awarded and the HHS Inspector General is looking at how the company is securing the information it is gathering, an NPR Investigation has learned.

Despite people's fears, sophisticated, deceptive videos known as "deepfakes" haven't arrived this political season. But it's not because they aren't a threat, sources tell NPR. It's because simple deceptions like selective editing or outright lies have worked just fine.

"You can think of the deepfake as the bazooka and the video splicing as a slingshot. And it turns out the slingshot works," said Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley specializing in visual misinformation.

Louis DeJoy, depending on whom you talk to, is either a Republican political operative beholden to President Trump, or a savvy businessman who's the right person to fix what's broken at the U.S. Postal Service. When senators question him this week, they will want to know which narrative is closer to the truth — and whether he is suited to head the service at this time.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort passed internal Trump campaign information to a Russian intelligence officer during the 2016 election, a new bipartisan Senate report concludes.

The findings draw a direct line between the president's former campaign chairman and Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign.

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Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The attorney general of New York took action Thursday to dissolve the National Rifle Association following an 18-month investigation that found evidence the powerful gun rights group is "fraught with fraud and abuse."

Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.

Governmental secrecy not only permits evil, but also breeds it.

It's this concept that forms the backbone of Nicholson Baker's foray into the U.S. development of biological weapons in the 1950s. His book, Baseless: My Search For Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act has a promising concept, which is to use the topic as a way to examine the shortcomings of America's public records law.

The book does not deliver on that promise.

The IRS sent nearly $1.4 billion in coronavirus relief payments to dead Americans, a new report by an independent government agency shows.

The Government Accountability Office said the error involved almost 1.1 million checks and direct deposits sent to ineligible Americans. The payments were part of the coronavirus aid package passed in March known as the CARES Act.

So far, the IRS has dispersed over 160 million payments — worth nearly $270 billion — to people for coronavirus relief.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

The Transportation Security Administration withheld N95 masks from staff and exhibited "gross mismanagement" in its response to the coronavirus crisis – leaving employees and travelers vulnerable during the most urgent days of the pandemic, a senior TSA official alleges in a new whistleblower complaint.

In the wake of George Floyd's death, a flashpoint in the debates over police reform has been the push to ban chokeholds nationwide. Advocates believe that enshrining a ban into law will deter police violence.

And it's gaining traction. Congressional Democrats have proposed a legislative package that calls for a ban on all neck restraints. President Trump, though he stopped short of full support of a ban, said late last week that police should avoid using chokeholds. And the state of New York passed a law banning the tactic.

Since George Floyd's death in Minneapolis, few communities have teemed with such outspoken frustration as the city just outside President Trump's window — and that dissatisfaction was again on ample display Saturday in Washington, D.C.

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Addressing the nation from the Rose Garden this evening, President Trump said he was beefing up law enforcement around the country.

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Twice now, on March 13 and again on April 27, President Trump gathered some of the country's top corporate executives — from test producers to lab processors to major retailers — to tout his plan to make COVID-19 testing widely available. His vision: Blanket the country in drive-through testing sites.

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Marc Short, the chief of staff to Vice President Pence, owns between $506,043 and $1.64 million worth of individual stocks in companies doing work related to the Trump administration's pandemic response — holdings that could run afoul of conflict of interest laws.

Third generation hog farmer Chad Leman, making his daily rounds, points to dozens of 300-pound pigs.

"These pigs should be gone," he said.

He means gone to the meatpacking plant to be processed. But with pork processing plants shut down due to worker safety concerns, he's faced with a grisly task: He needs to kill the pigs to make room for more.

And Leman isn't the only one. With meatpacking plant closures and reduced processing capacity nationwide, America's hog farmers expect an unprecedented crisis: the need to euthanize millions of pigs.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is demanding answers from the Treasury Department and the IRS about improper coronavirus relief checks paid out to deceased taxpayers.

Updated at 10:06 p.m. ET

The IRS has paid out more than $207 billion in coronavirus relief payments to individual taxpayers, as part of the $2 trillion package passed by Congress known as the CARES Act.

And among the recipients of those $1,200 payments are the bank accounts of dead individuals — a problem that could impact millions of American families.

The IRS system for sending out Coronavirus relief payments is vulnerable to fraud, especially with regard to some of the nation's poorest people, according to tax and cybersecurity experts.

Because of the way the system is set up, fraudsters can obtain the Coronavirus payments of a certain segment of vulnerable Americans with just their date of birth, social security number and address — information that is easily available to criminals online.

Millions of Americans fall into this category of vulnerable people.

The National Rifle Association's legal troubles have cost the powerful gun rights group $100 million, according to a recording of the group's board meeting obtained by NPR.

In the January 2020 recording, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre criticizes ongoing investigations by the New York and Washington, D.C., attorneys general, bemoaning "the power of weaponized government." And he told the NRA's board of directors, assembled for the group's winter meeting in January, that the organization has had to make $80 million in cuts to stay afloat.

Sen. Richard Burr's sale of up to $1.7 million in stocks shortly before the recent market crash was one of the lawmaker's only market-beating trades since record keeping began eight years ago, according to a new study.

The new analysis, presented by researchers at Dartmouth College, shows just how unusual the North Carolina senator's transactions were. On a single day, Feb. 13 of this year, Burr unloaded a significant portion of his net worth — a departure from his typically low-volume trading history.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

One month ago today, President Trump declared a national emergency.

In a Rose Garden address, flanked by leaders from giant retailers and medical testing companies, he promised a mobilization of public and private resources to attack the coronavirus.

"We've been working very hard on this. We've made tremendous progress," Trump said. "When you compare what we've done to other areas of the world, it's pretty incredible."

But few of the promises made that day have come to pass.

President Trump has removed the head of a group charged with overseeing the $2 trillion coronavirus package passed by Congress last month.

The coronavirus recovery law requires that an existing inspector general be selected by a council of inspectors general to oversee the response to the pandemic. That council picked Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general at the Department of Defense, to lead the newly formed Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold off a large amount of stocks before the coronavirus market crash, and now the Justice Department is looking into his statements around this time period, NPR can report.

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