Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Wind-driven Los Angeles wildfire leaves one dead, forces 100,000 to flee
A fierce, wind-driven wildfire swept through foothills and canyons along the northern edge of Los Angeles on Friday, engulfing homes, closing roads and devouring acre upon acre of dry brush and chaparral as 100,000 residents were forced to flee. At least one death was attributed to the fire, a man who authorities said suffered a heart attack while trying to battle encroaching flames.
Shepard Smith exits Fox News after 23 years
Shepard Smith, chief news anchor and breaking new managing editor at Fox, will leave the network, Fox News Media said on Friday. "Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. After requesting that I stay, they obliged. Under our agreement, I won't be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future," Smith said on his Friday show.
In California, food spoils, businesses close as power outages imposed
A California dentist canceled dozens of appointments and supermarkets tried to save rotting food on Thursday as electricity was cut to over 600,000 homes and workplaces in a second day of planned power outages to cut wildfire risks. Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E) imposed the unprecedented shutoffs as gale-force winds and dry weather continued to pose a critical fire threat in northern California.
Trump urges appeals court to shield tax returns from N.Y. prosecutors
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday urged a federal appeals court to block New York prosecutors from obtaining eight years of his tax returns, arguing that he was immune from criminal investigation as a sitting president. In a filing with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, Trump said there was "broad bipartisan agreement, for decades if not centuries, that a sitting president cannot be subjected to criminal process."
Indicted Giuliani associate worked on behalf of Ukrainian oligarch Firtash
One of the two Florida businessmen who helped U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, also has been working for the legal team of a Ukrainian oligarch who faces bribery charges in the United States, according to attorneys for the businessmen and the oligarch. Lev Parnas, one of the two associates of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, served as a translator for lawyers representing oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Parnas was arrested on Thursday along with the other Florida businessman, Igor Fruman, on unrelated charges that included illegally funneling $325,000 to a political action committee supporting pro-Trump candidates.
California bans private prisons and immigration detention centers
California moved to end the use of private, for-profit lockups in America's largest state prison system as well as in federal immigration detention centers in the state under a measure signed into law on Friday by Governor Gavin Newsom. The new law bars the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from entering into or renewing a contract with a private company to run a state prison after Jan. 1, 2020, unless needed to meet court-ordered inmate housing limits. It will ban California from incarcerating anyone in privately-run facilities altogether from 2028.
Judge blocks Trump immigration rule, calls it 'repugnant to American Dream'
A U.S. federal judge in New York on Friday temporarily blocked a Trump administration rule that would deny residency to aspiring immigrants deemed likely to require government assistance, calling it "repugnant to the American Dream." The rule, finalized in August, vastly expanded who could be considered a possible "public charge," applying to anyone who might in the future need temporary government help such as food stamps, Medicaid or housing aid. Previously it applied to immigrants who would be primarily dependent on the government.
U.S. court backs House request for Trump's financial records
In a blow to President Donald Trump's efforts to block oversight of his business dealings, a U.S. court on Friday backed a House of Representatives request for the Republican's financial records including tax documents. The 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit moves House Democrats closer to accessing records that would shed light on Trump's business interests and how he built his fortune.
OxyContin maker Purdue begins showdown to halt opioid lawsuits
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP will ask a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge on Friday to pause litigation against the company and its owners over the objections of U.S. states that allege the company is trying to protect the controlling Sackler family. Purdue's request promises to be one of the most contentious of the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, which was filed in September to try to implement a settlement proposal it values at more than $10 billion.
Ex-envoy tells impeachment inquiry Trump ousted her based on 'false claims'
The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on Friday told a House of Representatives impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump that he ousted her based on "unfounded and false claims" after she had come under attack by his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Marie Yovanovitch, abruptly recalled as the U.S. envoy to Ukraine in May, appeared for a closed-door meeting with House members and staff, according to Democratic lawmakers leading the inquiry, after she had been told by the State Department at the behest of the White House not to show up. Lawmakers then issued a subpoena for her appearance and she complied.