Reuters US Domestic News Summary

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Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

U.S. panel sets deadline for to decide participation in impeachment hearings

A U.S. congressional panel on Friday gave President Donald one week to say whether his legal counsel intends to introduce evidence and call witnesses in upcoming impeachment proceedings that could lead to formal charges of misconduct within a few weeks. The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee, which is due to begin weighing possible articles of impeachment against next week, sent a two-page letter to the president setting a deadline of 5 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) on Dec. 6 for the president's counsel to specify intended actions under the committee's impeachment procedures.

Two children dead, one missing in Arizona floods as winter storm blankets U.S.

Two children were found dead and another was missing in Arizona on Saturday after the vehicle they were in became stuck while crossing a storm-swollen forest creek outside Phoenix, part of a post-Thanksgiving winter storm that pummeled wide swathes of the country. The storm system has been slowly moving eastward across the United States, clogging the Midwest with snow and disrupting flights on the busiest travel weekend of the year.

Evacuation lifted for Texas towns rattled by chemical plant blast

Residents of four Texas communities menaced by a petrochemical fire began returning to their homes on Friday after authorities declared the blaze contained, said an official for Jefferson County, and as federal and state investigators began scouring for clues to its origin. The blaze at the TPC Group petrochemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, was contained by firefighters and the threat of further explosions greatly reduced, said country official Allison Getz.

Factbox: Quotes from shoppers as they scour for the best deals on Black Friday

Shoppers headed out to stores across the United States in a quest to score the best Black Friday discounts on everything from handbags to 4K TVs, with early promotions marking the start of a condensed holiday shopping season. The following are quotes from shoppers and store managers in the midst of America's biggest shopping day:

Winter storm strands 1,000 near Grand Canyon, delays Thanksgiving travelers

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Some 1,000 people were stranded without heat or power in a small Arizona town near the Grand Canyon on Friday during a major winter storm that threatened to disrupt travel for millions as it moves east one day after the Thanksgiving holiday. The Town Council of Tusayan, just south of Grand Canyon National Park, declared a state of emergency early on Friday morning, citing the power outage and nearly two feet (60 cm) of snow that has made roads impassable.

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PG&E says its distribution lines caused no deadly fires in 2019

California utility PG&E Corp has determined there were no lives or structures lost in 2019 wildfires that may have been caused by its distribution lines, according to a Friday court filing. The company also said it found 218 instances of damage from wind or falling vegetation that could have caused wildfires if it had not taken the controversial step of shutting power to millions of customers during high winds in late October.

Black Friday shoppers stay away from stores, make $7 billion-plus splurge online

U.S. shoppers made more purchases online on Black Friday than in the mall - hurting traffic and sales at brick-and-mortar stores, according to data that offered a glimpse into what is still one of the busiest shopping days of the year. For the first time in several years, however, store traffic on Thanksgiving evening grew - indicating a shift in when consumers are leaving their homes to shop. It is also a sign of how Thursday evening store openings have continued to hurt what has traditionally been a day that kicked off the U.S. holiday season.

Chicago police officer suspended for slamming man to ground during arrest

A Chicago police officer was suspended this week after video recorded by a bystander showed him hurling a man forcefully onto the sidewalk during an arrest, in footage described by Mayor Lori Lightfoot as "highly disturbing." The incident took place on Thursday, the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, when police approached a 29-year-old man drinking alcohol in the afternoon at a bus stop on Chicago's South Side, CBS News reported. Police said the man became agitated, threatened an officer and spat on his face, leading to the body slam filmed by a passerby, the report said.

California snow-bound highway reopens but storm snarls Thanksgiving travel

A powerful winter storm pounded parts of the United States on Thursday, bringing heavy snowfall that forced the closure of a major Southern California highway during the busy Thanksgiving holiday. Interstate 5 through the Grapevine area, a mountain pass, was shut down in both directions early on Thursday morning and the California Highway Patrol said on Twitter it was working to clear stuck vehicles as snow kept falling.

Texas chemical fire rages for second day, thousands evacuated

A major fire at a Texas petrochemical plant continued to burn for a second day on Thursday, with the 60,000 people forced to evacuate still uncertain as to whether they could return home in time to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. The fiery blast inside a distillation column at the Port Neches, Texas, TPC Group facility on Wednesday injured three workers, blew locked doors off their hinges and spewed a plume of toxic chemicals for miles (kilometers).

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