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Washington, D.C., is not a place that welcomes surprises, but this afternoon, President Obama had a big surprise for his vice president.

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President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter again Thursday morning, this time to urge his followers to "Buy L.L.Bean," and support one of his campaign backers.

"Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage," he tweeted Thursday. "People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean."

President Obama awarded outgoing Vice President Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday afternoon.

Calling the former longtime Delaware senator "the best vice president America's ever had" and a "lion of American history," Obama gave his White House partner the surprise award in an emotional ceremony, initially billed as a farewell.

In the closing weeks of 2016, an explosive document was floating around in media and security circles. Reporters tried, and failed, to verify the claims it contained — that Donald Trump colluded with Russia, and the Kremlin held lurid blackmail material as leverage over Trump. Reporting on the document, which was first compiled as opposition research, was rare and carefully vague.

Six years ago, Don Cameron, the general manager of Terranova Ranch, southwest of Fresno, Calif., did something that seemed kind of crazy.

He went out to a nearby river, which was running high because of recent rains, and he opened an irrigation gate. Water rushed down a canal and flooded hundreds of acres of vineyards — even though it was wintertime. The vineyards were quiet. Nothing was growing.

"We started in February, and we flooded grapes continuously, for the most part, until May," Cameron says.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

The Justice Department's watchdog has launched a sweeping review of conduct by the FBI director and other department officials before the presidential election, following calls from Congress and members of the public.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Fiat Chrysler violated the Clean Air Act by allegedly installing and failing to disclose software in some 104,000 cars and trucks that alters emissions.

The automaker was required by law to disclose the software to regulators during the certification process but did not do so, the EPA announced Thursday. While the agency is still investigating the nature of these devices, it said the software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides.

A U.S. military investigation has cleared the U.S. forces of wrongdoing in fighting that left 33 civilians dead and 27 others wounded last year in Afghanistan's Kunduz province, saying that they acted in self-defense.

"To defend themselves and Afghan forces, U.S. forces returned fire in self-defense at Taliban who were using civilian houses as firing positions," according to the U.S. military report published Thursday.

Menopause is a mystery to evolutionary biologists, but new insights could come from a long-term study of killer whales.

In these whales, the explanation may lie in a combination of conflict and cooperation between older and younger females, according to a report published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

A storm system that dumped precipitation on multiple states in the West appears to be easing, but rivers have yet to crest and many communities are still digging out from record snowfall.

The incoming Trump administration has found a job for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The Trump team announced Thursday that Giuliani will "be sharing his expertise and insight as a trusted friend" on cyber-security matters. Giuliani was a surrogate and adviser to Trump during the campaign. He had reportedly been under consideration for a variety of high-level posts in the new Trump administration, including Secretary of State, a job he expressed interest in. But no such high-level post was offered.

The City of Baltimore and the Justice Department announced Thursday that they have agreed on a court-enforceable consent decree to institute sweeping reforms in Baltimore's police department.

Among the unusual elements of President-elect Donald Trump's Wednesday news conference was a 15-minute interlude in which an attorney took the podium and described Trump's plan to address potential conflicts of interest between his businesses and the responsibilities of his office.

The attorney, Sheri Dillon, outlined an arrangement by which Trump would turn over "total control" of his worldwide business interests to his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, with whom he would not communicate about the family business.

Once again this year, President Obama hailed the nation's high school graduation rate as it reached another record high — a whopping 83 percent.

Sgt. Marty Tucker thinks millennials have trouble talking to strangers. Tucker runs training for the Sheriff's Office in Spokane, Wash., and he says new recruits seem inhibited when making face-to-face contacts with members of the public.

"They're so stressed out about making contact that they don't think about anything else," he says. "So they get up there, and then they'll freeze up."

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At about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, Republicans moved one step closer to repealing a law they have railed against since the moment it was passed nearly seven years ago.

By a final vote of 51-48, the Senate approved a budget resolution that sets the stage for broad swaths of the Affordable Care Act to be repealed through a process known as budget reconciliation. The resolution now goes to the House, where leaders are hoping to approve it by the end of the week.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's sort through what we know and don't know about President-elect Trump and Russia. We start with words he resisted saying for months.

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DONALD TRUMP: As far as hacking, I think it was Russia.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Going into yesterday's press conference with Donald Trump, there were all kinds of questions about the president-elect's potential conflicts of interest. This morning, there are still questions.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It was a long day for Rex Tillerson. He spent all day yesterday answering questions from lawmakers who are trying to figure out if the Texas oil man should be the next U.S. secretary of state.

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It's no secret that American children have gotten heavier in recent decades.

What stands out upon entering Mai Dang's nail salon, located on a busy street in Berkeley, Calif., is what's missing — the stinging smell of polish, remover and other nail products. That wasn't always the case. For a decade, Dang suffered from the effects of the chemicals she used at work every day.

"When you do nails, workers get itchy skin and watery eyes," says Dang, 40. She also used to have frequent headaches, and one of her workers developed asthma. So when she heard about an opportunity to improve the safety at her salon, she signed up.

The Affordable Care Act brought the rate of uninsured Americans to a record low 9 percent in 2015. It's the major achievement of the controversial health care law and one the Obama administration likes to tout whenever it can.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell did just that in an interview with NPR on Tuesday.

The incoming Trump administration will look to tap private investment funds to help rebuild and expand the nation's highways, railways, seaports and airports.

That's what Elaine Chao, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to be transportation secretary, told a panel of senators in a rather friendly confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Where the first day of Jeff Sessions' attorney general confirmation hearing focused on what the Alabama senator's relationship would be with the president if confirmed, the second day focused on his own past.

Sessions, a former Alabama attorney general, has a reputation for being tough on crime, but civil rights advocates testified that his reputation was made on the backs of vulnerable groups. Lawmakers who have worked with him, on the other hand, said they knew a just and fair man.

"We must bend" the arc of the moral universe

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