Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

Trump, Bloomberg trade schoolyard taunts as spending war heats up

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg traded withering taunts on Sunday, in an exchange that suggests the Bloomberg campaign is willing to fight Trump's notorious insults head on. Trump's remarks to FOX News Channel's Sean Hannity, coupled with a series of Twitter posts late on Saturday, also indicate the president is keeping a wary eye on the billionaire and former New York City mayor as a potentially tough competitor who has the funds to outspend him.

Ahead of crucial vote, anxious Iowa Democrats grapple with tough choices

Like many Iowans, Peggy Magner is still grappling with a weighty choice as the state's first-in-the-nation nominating contest fast approaches: which Democratic candidate is best equipped to defeat Republican President Donald Trump in November. "It's a hard thing, because we're really not sure who can beat Trump," the 70-year-old retired university professor said on Saturday in Cedar Rapids, where she was waiting for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren to take the stage at a rally. "All of us take this really seriously. I've been praying on it."

U.S. universities set up front-line defenses to keep coronavirus at bay

On its sprawling campus in America's heartland, thousands of miles from China, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has taken aggressive steps to keep the fast-spreading coronavirus away from its classrooms and students. The school, with one of the highest percentages of Chinese students among U.S. universities, has suspended academic programs in China for the spring semester and banned students from traveling to the country for academic-related matters. It has advised faculty and staff to follow federal travel advisories that, as of Friday, warned against going to China.

Headaches but no hangovers as Miami gears up for Super Bowl

After a night of living up to its party reputation Miami was looking for more on Sunday as the final countdown to the Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chief and San Francisco 49ers began under a blanket of security and protests. More than eight hours before 1830 ET kickoff, fans, some who had paid over $5,000 for a ticket, made their way through miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic, protests by local residents and airport type security before settling into their seats at Hard Rock Stadium.

Early spring a 'certainty' says groundhog, but no word on Super Bowl champ

One question answered, but there was still one to go across America after the world's most famous groundhog emerged on Sunday, saw no shadow in the snowy morning light, and proclaimed an early spring. It was still hours before millions of Super Bowl fans were to learn who has taken the crown as the greatest team in football.

Trump says U.S. has 'shut down' coronavirus threat; China shuns U.S. help

The United States has taken decisive action to protect Americans from the threat of a fast-moving coronavirus while offering help to China, President Donald Trump said on Sunday, but a key adviser said Beijing had not accepted the offers of assistance. Trump appeared to downplay concerns about the flu-like virus that has killed more than 300 people in China and spread to more than two dozen countries, telling Fox television in an interview, "We're gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes."

On the campaign trail: Big crowds, Super Bowl watch parties cap Democrats' final Iowa push

The final countdown to the Iowa caucuses is on. Ahead of Monday night's caucuses, which kick off the state-by-state nominating process to pick U.S. presidential nominees, Democratic candidates are making their closing pitches in earnest around the state.

Explainer: How the path to the Democratic presidential nomination is different in 2020

The Democratic Party will officially nominate a 2020 presidential candidate at its convention in July, a process that begins on Monday with the Iowa caucuses and ends with the Puerto Rico primary in June. The goal is to amass on a state-by-state basis the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot at the convention in Milwaukee. A candidate must get at least 15% of the vote statewide or in an individual congressional district to be awarded delegates.

Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula claims December shooting at Florida naval base

An audio recording purporting to be from the Islamist militant group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility on Sunday for a fatal shooting in December at a U.S. naval base in Pensacola, Florida, but provided no evidence. "We congratulate our Muslim nation and embrace the operation of the martyr hero, the daring knight Muhammad bin Saeed Al-Shamrani," said the audio, released by Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch.

Senate rejects witnesses in Trump impeachment trial, clearing way for acquittal

The U.S. Senate voted on Friday against calling witnesses and collecting new evidence in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, clearing the way for Trump's almost certain acquittal next week. By a vote of 51-49, the Republican-controlled Senate stopped Democrats' drive to hear testimony from witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton, who is thought to have first-hand knowledge of Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.