Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Explainer: Chinese woman arrested at Trump's Mar-a-Lago takes unusual legal path

A Chinese woman charged in March with lying to get into U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort while carrying multiple electronic devices, has decided to act as her own lawyer. Yujing Zhang is charged with making false statements to a federal officer and entering or remaining in a restricted area, in an incident that raised concerns about security at the Palm Beach, Florida club.

North Carolina man admits murdering Muslims, gets life in prison

A North Carolina man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty on Wednesday to the murders of three young Muslims in a 2015 case that drew the condemnation of then-President Barack Obama. Craig Hicks, 50, accepted the sentence after prosecutors in Durham declined to seek the death penalty for the murders, which he told investigators at the time were prompted by a dispute over a parking space, but which prosecutors argued were motivated by bias.

Ex-Stanford sailing coach avoids prison in U.S. college admissions scandal

A former Stanford University sailing coach avoided prison on Wednesday in the first sentencing to result from the U.S. college admissions scandal after admitting he took bribes to help children of wealthy parents gain admission to the school. John Vandemoer, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel in Boston to six months of home confinement, rejecting prosecutors' request for a 13-month prison term after he pleaded guilty in March to racketeering conspiracy.

Democratic presidential candidate Harris vows to shield 'Dreamers,' others from deportation

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris on Wednesday said she would shield six million undocumented immigrants from deportation, a significant expansion of an Obama-era program protecting "Dreamers" brought to the United States as children. The California U.S. senator proposed using the powers of the presidency to create a "roadmap to citizenship" for Dreamers while also offering new protections to the parents of American citizens and legal permanent residents as well as other law-abiding immigrants with strong roots in the community.

House panel backs contempt citations for two Trump Cabinet members over census

A U.S. House committee voted on Wednesday in favor of holding two of President Donald Trump's closest advisers in contempt of Congress for defying congressional subpoenas related to an effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census. By a 24-15 bipartisan vote, the House Oversight Committee recommended the full House of Representatives find Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt. For Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, it was the second time a House panel had made such a recommendation against him.

House panel approves permanent Sept. 11 victims' compensation

A U.S. congressional committee on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to extend the fund compensating first responders to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center for the next 70 years, a move that would avoid steep benefit reductions over a lack of money. The House Judiciary Committee acted one day after television personality and comedian Jon Stewart castigated lawmakers at a hearing for their slow response to helping New York City firefighters, police officers and other emergency personnel who rushed to the scene of the attacks that left two of Manhattan's most well-known skyscrapers in rubble.

U.S. Forest Service aims to speed up logging, infrastructure projects

The U.S. Forest Service, which manages millions of acres of national forests and grasslands, on Wednesday proposed "bold" changes for how it carries out environmental reviews of logging, road building and mining projects on public land, a move that raised red flags for environmental groups. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service published proposed changes for how it complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a decades-old law that requires detailed analysis to be conducted before approving projects that could significantly affect the environment.

Alleged shooter arrested in $8,000 plot to kill baseball's David Ortiz

The alleged shooter of David Ortiz has been arrested along with four others in a group offered nearly $8,000 to kill the former Boston Red Sox star at a Dominican Republic bar, authorities said on Wednesday. The arrests came as Ortiz, 43, recovered in a Boston hospital following a second round of surgery on Tuesday, according to his family, which said he was sitting up and had taken a few steps.

Defense in China student's beheading in Illinois says he did it

An Illinois man accused of kidnapping and killing a graduate student from China two years ago was obsessed with Ted Bundy and other serial killers, a federal prosecutor said on Wednesday on the first day of the trial of the sensational case. Brendt Christensen, 29, could face the death penalty if he is convicted in the June 2017 abduction and murder of Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 130 miles (210 km) south of Chicago. Zhang's body has never been found.

In Trump probes, Congress wary of power to arrest, fine

A power that the U.S. Congress has not wielded since the 1930s may remain unused for a while longer as Democrats turn to the courts -- not long-dormant rules -- to press home investigations of President Donald Trump and his administration.

Democratic leaders are reluctant to use the "inherent contempt" power, under which Congress can jail or fine people who defy its subpoenas, to end stonewalling by Trump's inner circle, said Representative Steve Cohen, a Democrat, and member of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.