Matthew S. Schwartz

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").

The U.S. House of Representatives has opened an investigation into this month's attack on the U.S. Capitol. In a letter to the heads of America's leading intelligence and law enforcement agencies, House lawmakers asked for any information that could help them understand whether warning signs were missed.

Next week's swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden will see the biggest security presence of any inauguration in U.S. history. For days, thousands of National Guard troops have been pouring into the capital, and by Wednesday's ceremony, up to 25,000 troops will be in place to guard against security threats.

Pope Francis offered prayers Sunday for those who lost their lives during the siege at the U.S. Capitol — and encouraged Americans to come together in a spirit of reconciliation.

"I extend an affectionate greeting to the people of the United States of America, shaken by the recent siege of Congress," Francis said, as reported by the Catholic News Agency. "I pray for those who lost their lives — five lost in those dramatic moments."

Last summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Congress that if the U.S. didn't get the coronavirus outbreak under control, the country could see 100,000 new cases per day.

Six months later, the U.S. is adding, on average, more than 271,000 new cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over the past 24 hours, 3,700 new deaths were recorded.

That brings the total number of reported cases in the U.S. to more than 22 million since the start of the outbreak — with a death toll of 373,000.

The violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was unprecedented in modern U.S. history — but some pro-Trump extremists are promising it was just a taste of things to come.

"Many of Us will return on January 19, 2021, carrying Our weapons, in support of Our nation's resolve, towhich [sic] the world will never forget!!!" one person wrote on Parler, a site friendly to right-wing extremists. "We will come in numbers that no standing army or police agency can match."

Lisa Marie Montgomery said she was interested in purchasing a puppy. But once the Kansas woman arrived at Bobbie Jo Stinnett's Missouri home in 2004, she attacked the pregnant 23-year-old, using a rope to strangle her until she lost consciousness.

With a kitchen knife, Montgomery cut the 8-month-old fetus out of Stinnett's womb, taking it to raise as her own. Stinnett was found later by her mother, dead in a pool of blood.

Updated at 12:45 a.m. ET Sunday

The U.S. has hit another devastating milestone: COVID-19 has killed more than 350,000 people in the country, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The grim number comes as a new variant of the coronavirus is spreading across dozens of countries.

Updated at 2:25 a.m. ET on Monday

The violent explosion that rocked downtown Nashville, Tenn., on Christmas morning is believed to be a suicide bombing by Anthony Q. Warner, 63, U.S. Attorney Don Cochran said Sunday.

Authorities continue to ask those who knew or encountered the suspect to contact the FBI. The agency is still investigating, but there is no indication that anyone else was involved, Cochran said.

Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET

One day after a Christmas bombing in downtown Nashville, Tenn., damaged dozens of buildings over several blocks and injured at least three people, police are working with federal authorities to find the perpetrator.

In his Christmas Day address, Pope Francis appealed to the nations of the world to share the new coronavirus vaccines with the most needy.

"Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty regarding the pandemic, various lights of hope appear, such as the discovery of vaccines," Francis said. "But for these lights to illuminate and bring hope to all, they need to be available to all."

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