Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Actress Rosie Perez backs up Sciorra account in Weinstein rape trial

Actress Rosie Perez took the stand in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein on Friday to bolster the account of friend and fellow actress Annabella Sciorra, who said she was raped by the former producer in the early 1990s. Perez, whose film credits include Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," told jurors that Sciorra shared details of the alleged assault, including that Weinstein had pinned her arms above her head as he raped her.

How Joe Biden went from slumping to surging in Democratic presidential race in Iowa

Iowa resident Carolyn Miller had long harbored doubts about Joe Biden's candidacy, believing the former vice president was too old and too fumbling to beat President Donald in November's election. Then she saw Biden, 77, speak at a community college in Fort Dodge this week.

U.S. Justice Dept. plans to hold meeting to discuss tech industry liability: sources

The U.S. Justice Department is planning to hold a conference to discuss the future of a federal law which largely exempts online platforms from legal liability for the material their users post, sources familiar with the plans said on Friday. A U.S. government source said the department plans to invite a wide range of interested parties to the conference to examine the future of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, including representatives of industry, Congress, "thought leaders" and officials of President Donald 's Cabinet.

administration officials to brief senators on Iran next week

Top officials from the U.S. State Department will conduct a classified briefing next week on Iran policy for members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the committee said on Friday, amid a push for legislation to restrict President Donald 's ability to wage war on Iran. 's special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, will lead the Tuesday briefing.

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Democrats in impeachment trial say abused his power for political gain

Democrats worked methodically at U.S. President Donald 's impeachment trial on Thursday to dismantle his long-standing allegation that Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden acted improperly toward Ukraine while vice president. On the second day of their arguments for 's removal from office, Democratic House of Representatives members argued that Biden did nothing wrong and was only carrying out official U.S. policy when he pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor, Victor Shokin, because of corruption concerns.

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U.S. charges former Mexico police commander in El Chapo-linked cocaine probe

U.S. prosecutors on Friday charged a former Mexican federal police commander with accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from Mexican drug cartels to help them send cocaine into the United States, in a case linked to imprisoned drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. The defendant Ivan Reyes Arzate pleaded not guilty to three conspiracy charges at a hearing in the Brooklyn, New York, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue in Brooklyn said.

Blast at machine shop rips through Houston neighborhood, killing two

A massive explosion at a machine shop ripped through a Houston neighborhood early on Friday morning, killing at least two people and damaging homes while sending out blast waves for miles. The pre-dawn explosion devastated two working-class neighborhoods surrounding the Watson Grinding and Manufacturing facility in northwest Houston, leaving behind collapsed and smoldering wreckage on the grounds and knocking several nearby homes off their foundations.

Sanders touts controversial comedian's 2020 support, sparking criticism

U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders' decision to highlight an unofficial endorsement from Joe Rogan drew criticism on Friday due to the comedian's brand of humor that some see as dismissive of issues like equal pay and transgender rights. The online flap comes as Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has been trying to move past a weeks-long controversy over whether he told rival Elizabeth Warren, a friend and progressive ally, in a 2018 meeting that a woman could not beat Republican President Donald , a charge he has denied.

administration says California can't require insurers to cover abortion

The administration said on Friday that California cannot require health insurers to cover abortions and threatened to cut some federal healthcare funds unless it pulls that requirement. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a notice that the state is violating a federal law called the Weldon Amendment. The notice of violation comes as the result of an investigation by HHS' Office for Civil Rights.

At anti-abortion rally, assails Democrats, draws applause

Donald became the first U.S. president to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday, unleashing a fierce attack on his Democratic rivals during a rally in an election-year show of support for opponents of abortion rights. "Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House," the Republican president told thousands of cheering people at the rally, touting his anti-abortion policies and his appointments of conservatives to the federal judiciary including Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

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