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This weekend, hundreds of thousands of Americans will be taking to the streets — some to celebrate, some to protest the inauguration and others to demonstrate for issues that the president-elect cares about.

If you happen to be one of those people, you might have this nagging question in the back of your mind: Will any of it make a difference?

When a solar company wants to test new technology, they bring their panels to the National Renewable Energy Lab near Denver. It's a place where federal scientists can measure how powerful and long-lasting solar panels are, so consumers know what they are buying.

"A lot of times maybe people don't even know how to evaluate new technologies appropriately. And so we have a lot of insight and knowledge into the market that can help with some of those decisions," lab engineer Chris Deline explained.

On Friday morning, Donald Trump will become president of the United States. The backlash against his election was intense in places like Portland and Seattle -- cities that overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton. But east of the Cascades, where support for Trump was widespread, opponents of the president-elect are working more quietly.

These days, plenty of consulting firms make money peddling advice on cybersecurity. Only one is run by a man designated special adviser to the president of the United States.

Earlier this month, President-elect Donald Trump named former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who heads a cybersecurity practice at the Miami-based law firm Greenberg-Traurig, as his chief adviser on cybersecurity issues.

This Friday's Presidential Inauguration festivities in Washington, DC, are drawing Donald Trump fans and foes alike from the Pacific Northwest. Large contingents from the area will be on the National Mall Friday and again on Saturday.

Donald Trump loves superlatives: words like "biggest," "best" and "greatest" pepper many of his statements, whether at a microphone or on Twitter. But a recent poll lends him another, less attractive superlative: the lowest favorability rating of any incoming president in at least 40 years.

The inauguration of Donald Trump and the next session of Congress mark the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the United States. The trade deal proved to be a divisive issue during the presidential election -- and not just among politicians.

Two closely-tied agriculture exporters in the Northwest, beef producers and hay farmers, will be affected by the end of  TPP in very different ways.

A bipartisan group of Washington state politicians Monday endorsed the abolishment of the death penalty. The group included the current Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his Republican predecessor Rob McKenna.

The pair were flanked at a capitol news conference by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and a half-dozen senators and representatives from both parties.

President-elect Donald Trump said he's finishing a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act with a proposal that would provide "insurance for everybody," according to a report by The Washington Post.

European leaders are expressing alarm after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said the EU is "basically a vehicle for Germany" and reiterated his view that NATO is "obsolete."

Speaking about the EU, Trump said "people want their own identity," and therefore "I believe others will leave." He has previously applauded the U.K.'s decision last year to depart from the 28-nation bloc and repeated that sentiment, saying that "I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing."

Since he began running for president, Donald Trump has been talking about a smaller federal role in education.

The confirmation hearings begin Tuesday for the person he has nominated to carry out his vision, Betsy DeVos. In her home state of Michigan, DeVos has been a powerful advocate of school choice and a larger private role in education. If confirmed, she'll take over a huge federal bureaucracy of some 4,400 employees and a $68 billion budget.

The final few days before President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office will be filled with a flurry of congressional activity, as the Senate holds confirmation hearings for eight more of his Cabinet nominees.

Most are expected to be fairly routine, but a few could be hot-button affairs, including hearings for Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt, Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Donald Trump will be sworn in Friday. One issue rural America is looking for answers on is public lands: how they’re managed and whether the government should transfer them to states or even sell them off.

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

Donald Trump lashed out at civil rights hero John Lewis on Twitter Saturday morning, a day after the Georgia Democratic congressman said in an interview he didn't view the president-elect as "legitimate" amid questions of Russia's interference in the U.S. elections.

A 1989 photograph of Donald Trump tossing a red apple was installed today at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The museum is known for having one of two complete collections of presidential portraits, the other belonging to the White House. This portrait of President-elect Donald Trump, however, isn't one of those official presidential portraits.

Next week, white nationalists like Jared Taylor will celebrate a moment they've been waiting decades to see, when Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States. Members of the white nationalist movement were among the first to embrace Trump's candidacy, and they celebrated after his election.

"Jan. 20 reflects a significant defeat for egalitarian orthodoxy," Taylor says.

This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

Ben Carson, President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would not say that housing properties owned by Trump won't benefit from HUD programs at his confirmation hearing Thursday.

The former neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate was pressed on the matter by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who asked Carson for assurance "that of all the housing grants he [has] the ability to bestow," not one dollar will go to benefit either the president-elect or his family.

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.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was sworn in Wednesday for a second term. In his inaugural address to a joint session of the Washington Legislature, the Democrat said his top priority this year is to fully fund education.

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to nominate David Shulkin to be his secretary of veterans affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

Shulkin is currently the undersecretary for health at the VA, which means he runs the Veterans Health Administration. He was nominated for that position by President Obama in March 2015 and confirmed by the Senate that June.

Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Top U.S. intelligence officials have briefed leaders in Washington about an explosive — but unverified — document that alleges collusion between Russia and President-elect Donald Trump, NPR has learned.

The brief, which NPR has seen but not independently verified, was given by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain to FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9. Details from it have been part of presentations by Comey and other intelligence leaders to Trump, President Obama and key leaders in Congress.

Donald Trump met Tuesday with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist and known skeptic of childhood vaccinations. Kennedy has been a prominent voice in the anti-vaccine community, raising questions for years about a possible (disproven) link between a preservative in some vaccines and autism.

Sylvana Simons got her start as a soul music VJ on the Dutch version of MTV. She went on to anchor the evening news in the Netherlands, and performed on the local version of Dancing with the Stars.

The confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, the billionaire philanthropist who is President-elect Donald Trump's choice for secretary of education, has been delayed for almost a week.

DeVos' hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, but late on Monday night, the Senate Committee on Health Education Labor and Pensions announced it had been delayed until Jan. 17, next Tuesday.

The week before Donald Trump takes the oath of office will set the stage for his entry into the Oval Office. Not only will at least nine of his Cabinet nominees begin their Senate confirmation hearings, but the president-elect himself will face reporters at a long-awaited press conference, where he may address how he plans to separate his business interests from his presidency.

On top of that, President Obama steps into the spotlight one last time, on Tuesday evening in Chicago, for a farewell address in which he's likely to frame his legacy.

Outgoing Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro's office overlooks a stretch of the Washington, D.C., waterfront where several high-rent apartment buildings are being built, in a city where affordable housing is in short supply and homelessness is a big problem.

These are some of the same issues his successor will have to deal with as head of an agency that provides housing aid to 10 million low-income families.

Donald Trump is still two weeks from his presidential inauguration, but new Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer sounds ready to do battle with a Republican-controlled Senate, House and White House.

"We're going to hold Donald Trump's feet to the fire," the New York Democrat told NPR's Audie Cornish on All Things Considered while sitting in front of the fireplace near his desk. "Our job is going to be to hold Donald Trump and the Republican majority accountable."

Updated at 3:31 p.m. ET after briefing

After casting doubt on the legitimacy of U.S. intelligence (even referring to it as "intelligence"), President-elect Donald Trump was briefed Friday by the nation's top intelligence officials on their investigation into Russia's hacking attempts and interference in the U.S. presidential election.

Director of National Security James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey briefed the president-elect on their findings at Trump Tower early Friday afternoon.

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