Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Amid impeachment drama, Senate helps Trump move U.S. courts to the right

The impeachment drama unfolding in the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives has not stopped President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans who control the Senate from helping him build on one of the biggest achievements of his presidency - making the federal judiciary more conservative. Even as the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday heard crucial testimony from pivotal witness Gordon Sondland, the Senate voted to confirm Trump's latest appointee to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a regional appeals court handling cases from Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

United Auto Workers president resigns amid corruption probe: source

United Auto Workers (UAW) President Gary Jones resigned ON Wednesday after being linked to an ongoing corruption probe by U.S. federal officials, a union source confirmed to Reuters. Jones' lawyer Bruce Maffeo told the Detroit News that the union president had decided to resign effective immediately. Maffeo did not respond to repeated requests from Reuters, and a UAW spokesman said he could not confirm the resignation. The decision came hours after the union filed charges under its bylaws against Jones in a move that could have led to his removal from office.

Chicago school board OKs teachers contract, amended budget

The Chicago Board of Education gave final approval on Wednesday to a five-year teachers contract that ended an 11-day strike last month and also passed an amended fiscal 2020 budget that relies on one-time revenue and savings to fill a hole caused in part by higher labor costs. Escalating pension payments, drained reserves and debt dependency have pushed general obligation credit ratings for the nation's third-largest public school district into junk.

Bloomberg to appear on U.S. presidential ballot in Texas

Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg put his name on Democratic primary ballots in Texas on Wednesday, paving the way for a possible late entry into the presidential race. Bloomberg, 77, has not officially said whether he will run in the 2020 race, but has acknowledged considering a bid.

U.S. Democrats choose woman to head House Oversight panel

U.S. House Democrats chose Representative Carolyn Maloney Wednesday as the first woman to lead a key committee that is involved in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Maloney, 73, of New York, will take the helm at the House Oversight and Reform Committee at a pivotal moment, as Democrats are pushing to finish the impeachment inquiry and take a House floor vote by the end of this year.

Defense Dept official says she never discussed Ukraine aid with Trump

A senior U.S. Department of Defense official testified on Wednesday that she had never discussed a hold on security assistance for Ukraine with President Donald Trump and never heard from him directly on the matter. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper testified at a hearing in the impeachment inquiry into Trump. The inquiry has focused on circumstances surrounding the Trump administration's decision last summer to withhold nearly $400 million in security assistance for the government in Kiev.

U.S. diplomat says top levels of Trump administration in on Ukraine pressure

A senior U.S. diplomat on Wednesday described broad involvement at the upper levels of the Trump administration in a pressure campaign against Ukraine, giving testimony that for the first time put the secretary of state and vice president at the heart of the impeachment probe against President Donald Trump. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, said he "followed the president's orders" to work with Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was pushing Ukraine to carry out two investigations that would benefit Trump politically as he runs for re-election in November 2020.

Ex-JPMorgan trader found guilty in U.S. currency-rigging trial

A former foreign exchange trader at JPMorgan Chase & Co was found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to rig trades for his own benefit. Akshay Aiyer was convicted of one count of conspiracy by a jury in federal court in Manhattan, court records show. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 3.

Notes in hand, Trump states his case about impeachment

Sometimes it helps for a president to have notes. President Donald Trump engaged with journalists on Wednesday as he regularly does when he departs the White House at the start of a trip, only this time he had some help with what he wanted to say.

Healthcare battles in Democratic White House race could carry risk in 2020, polls show

A trio of polls released ahead of Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate showed a majority of Americans support Medicare for All, but offered conflicting signals about whether the proposed healthcare overhaul could hurt the party in the November 2020 general election. As with the previous four debates, Wednesday's televised clash in Atlanta is likely to be dominated by the intra-party battle over how best to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Americans.