Reuters US Domestic News Summary

Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

White House says it will refuse to cooperate with impeachment inquiry

The White House said on Tuesday it would refuse to cooperate with an "illegitimate, unconstitutional" congressional impeachment inquiry, setting Republican President Donald Trump on a collision course with the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives. Hours after the administration abruptly blocked a key witness in the Ukraine scandal from testifying to congressional panels, White House lawyer Pat Cipollone criticized the decision by lawmakers to proceed with an impeachment inquiry without a full House vote.

Jeffrey Epstein accuser expands lawsuit against estate, alleged enablers

A New York woman who said Jeffrey Epstein began grooming her for sex when she was 14 and later raped her expanded her lawsuit against his estate, naming several women who allegedly enabled the financier's abuses and seeking to block the estate from shielding his assets from victims. In her amended complaint filed on Tuesday, Jennifer Araoz accused four women by name who once worked with Epstein of misconduct, and added more than 20 corporate defendants associated with the late financier.

U.S. Supreme Court divided on LGBT employment protection; Gorsuch could be key

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared closely divided over whether a landmark federal law forbidding sex discrimination in the workplace protects gay and transgender employees, with conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch emerging as a potential decisive vote. The nine justices heard two hours of high-profile arguments in three cases that could broaden LGBT rights involving three workers - two gay and one transgender - who sued after being fired by their employers, claiming unlawful discrimination. The Supreme Court has never ruled on transgender rights.

U.S. lawyer Michael Avenatti gets trial date on charges of stealing from ex-client

Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who became nationally known as an outspoken critic of U.S. President Donald Trump before his arrest earlier this year, will stand trial in April on charges that he stole from his former client Stormy Daniels, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts set the April 21 trial date at a brief hearing in Manhattan federal court. The trial is expected to last one to two weeks.

GM strike affects about 150,000 auto industry workers: consulting firm

The prolonged strike at General Motors Co is estimated to have hit as many as 150,000 workers in the auto industry, a report from research and consulting firm Anderson Economic Group (AEG) showed on Tuesday. The strike at the No. 1 U.S. carmaker began on Sept. 16, with its 48,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of the automaker's profit and protection of healthcare benefits.

FBI ask public to help identify victims as U.S. serial killer confesses to 93 murders

The FBI is asking for the public's help in identifying dozens of victims of a convicted murderer who has confessed to strangling 93 people, claims the agency says are credible and make him the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. Investigators who have interviewed Samuel Little at a Los Angeles-area prison say they have confirmed 50 of the homicides he admitted to carrying out between 1970 and 2005 and have released videotapes of his jailhouse confessions as they investigate the remaining slayings.

Wealthy couple gets prison terms for U.S. college admissions scam

The founder of a food and beverage packaging company and his wife were each sentenced to one month in prison on Tuesday for their roles in what prosecutors say is the largest college admissions scam uncovered in the United States. Gregory and Marcia Abbott received lighter sentences than the eight-month terms sought by federal prosecutors in Boston after they admitted to paying $125,000 to have a corrupt test proctor secretly correct their daughter's answers on college entrance exams.

PG&E to cut off power to nearly 800,000 customers to reduce wildfire risk

Power provider PG&E Corp's unit said on Tuesday it would cut off power for nearly 800,000 customers across northern and central California to reduce wildfire risk following severe wind warnings. The company expects to shut off power in some areas early Wednesday and said the outage will potentially impact 34 Californian counties.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sanders says he was 'dumb' to ignore health warnings

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said on Tuesday he had wrongly ignored warning signs about his health before suffering a heart attack last week, but that he did not think the scare would damage his campaign for president. Sanders, one of 19 Democrats competing to take on Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, suffered chest pains on Oct. 1 while in Nevada for a campaign stop and abruptly canceled campaign events.

Cracks in Purdue's proposed opioid settlement as Arizona backs out

The U.S. state of Arizona withdrew its support for a proposed nationwide opioid settlement with Purdue Pharma LP, saying the maker of OxyContin sought to "undermine material terms of the deal," according to a court filing on Monday. Since Purdue filed for bankruptcy protection in September, Arizona is the first state to switch sides in the looming showdown over the privately-held company's proposed settlement, which it has estimated is worth more than $10 billion.