Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
William Ruckelshaus, who resigned in Watergate's 'Saturday Night Massacre,' dies at 87: U.S. media
William Ruckelshaus, picked by Richard Nixon as the first head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as deputy attorney general before being fired for defying the president in the Watergate scandal, died on Wednesday at the age of 87, U.S. media reported. Ruckelshaus, a moderate Republican highly regarded for his integrity and seen as a white knight by the environmental community, died at his home in Seattle, according to the New York Times, citing his daughter Mary Ruckelshaus.
Residents flee fourth major Texas petrochemical fire this year
Three workers were injured and residents of four towns were told to evacuate after explosions on Wednesday at a Texas petrochemical plant, the latest in a series of chemical plant accidents in the region. An early morning blast at a TPC Group complex in Port Neches, Texas, was followed by a series of secondary explosions that shattered windows and blew locked doors off their hinges.
Balloons cleared to fly in iconic NYC Thanksgiving Day parade
Thanksgiving Day in New York City started with something many New Yorkers and visitors will be grateful for: the giant balloons in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade were given the all clear to fly after fears strong winds could ground them. "Good News, New York City: the winds are holding and the #MacysThanksgivingDayParade balloons will FLY!," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet early on Thursday.
U.S. judge delays sentencing of former Trump adviser Flynn
A U.S. judge on Wednesday delayed the planned Dec. 18 sentencing hearing of President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, but did not set a new date. Judge Emmett Sullivan had been expected to put off sentencing after both Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, and the United States filed a joint motion to request the delay, citing the expected December release of the Justice Department inspector general's report on the origins of investigations into alleged Russian election interference. The inspector general said last week he expects to release the report on Dec. 9.
Giuliani calls Trump to tell him he was joking about having an 'insurance policy'
President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, called the president this week to reassure him that he had been joking when he told media outlets he had "insurance" if Trump turned on him in the Ukraine scandal, Giuliani's lawyer said on Wednesday. The attorney, Robert Costello, said Giuliani "at my insistence" had called Trump "within the last day" to emphasize that he had not been serious when he said he had an "insurance policy, if thrown under the bus."
Three more Navy SEALs spared review after Trump's intervention
The U.S. Navy announced on Wednesday it would scrap plans to carry out reviews of three Navy SEALs that could have led to their ouster from the elite force, after President Donald Trump's extraordinary intervention in a related case. "I have determined that any failures in conduct, performance, judgment, or professionalism exhibited by these officers be addressed through other administrative measures as appropriate," acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said in a statement.
Trump beefs up with Rocky body on Twitter, reviews mixed
U.S. President Donald Trump received a split decision on Wednesday from tens of thousands of Twitter followers after he posted an image of his head superimposed on the muscular body of Rocky Balboa, a fictional boxer from the movie series "Rocky." The post was retweeted 124,000 times and received almost 405,000 likes as of 6:30 p.m. EST (0030 GMT) as many followers responded with memes and photos of their own, comparing Trump's physique to that of former President Barack Obama.
Snow-clogged highway in California as stormy weather threatens U.S. holiday travel
A powerful winter storm pounded parts of the United States on Thursday, bringing heavy snowfall that forced the partial closure of a major highway in California during the busy Thanksgiving holiday. Interstate 5 through the Grapevine area was closed 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).
Judges place temporary hold on ex-White House lawyer ruling
Appeals court judges put on hold a ruling by a lower court that would require former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify to lawmakers as part of the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. McGahn, who left his post in October 2018, last May defied a House Judiciary Committee subpoena to testify about Trump's efforts to impede former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation that detailed Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.