Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
U.S. executes first woman on federal death row in nearly seven decades
The U.S. government executed convicted murderer Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, on Wednesday, after the Supreme Court cleared the last hurdle by overturning a stay. Montgomery was the first female prisoner to be executed in by the U.S. government since 1953.
U.S. must reverse Trump course, make human rights central - HRW
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden needs to restore the country's credibility on human rights at home and abroad, the head of New-York based Human Rights Watch told Reuters on Wednesday, after what he said were four years of abuse of democratic principles. Speaking to Reuters before the release of the activist group's annual report, Kenneth Roth said outgoing president Donald Trump had flouted human rights at home and been inconsistent in criticising other countries' rights records.
Public trust crumbles amid COVID, fake news - survey
Trust in governments, business chiefs and media is crumbling amid a perceived mis-handling by leaders of the coronavirus pandemic and a widespread feeling among ordinary citizens that they are being misled, a global survey has found.
The Edelman Trust Barometer, which for two decades has polled thousands of people on their trust in core institutions, found 57% of people believe government leaders, business chiefs and journalists are spreading falsehoods or exaggerations.
U.S. Capitol Police intelligence chief warned Congress in July of right-wing attacks
The director of intelligence for the U.S. Capitol Police warned Congress in July that rebellion against COVID-19 precautions had accelerated violence by right-wing "revolutionary extremists," according to congressional testimony. Four months before he joined the force, John K. Donohue, then a private security consultant, testified that the country desperately needed a sophisticated social media early-warning system, akin to the U.S. nuclear missile launch detection capability, to prevent a catastrophe.
Biden plans to appoint interim agency heads during confirmation process
President-elect Joe Biden will appoint interim agency heads to lead Cabinet agencies and departments while his nominees await confirmation, a necessary move because of delays in the transition process, a Biden transition official said on Tuesday. Biden, a Democrat, will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, taking over from Republican President Donald Trump, who is leaving amid an impeachment process related to the deadly Capitol riot last week.
U.S. House poised to impeach Trump for his role in Capitol assault
A week after President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday to impeach the president for his role in an assault on American democracy that stunned the nation and left five dead. At least five Republicans have said they would join Democrats to impeach Trump for the second time, just seven days before he is due to leave office and President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.
In rare joint message, top U.S. military leaders condemn Capitol riot
The U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the uniformed leaders of the military branches, on Tuesday put out a rare message to service members saying the violent riots last week were an assault on America's constitutional process and against the law. The joint message broke nearly a week of silence by the military leaders after the assault on the Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump sent lawmakers into hiding and left five people dead.
California COVID surge shows signs of easing with hospitals strained to brink
California's COVID-19 surge is showing signs of leveling off after besieging hospitals, emergency services and morgues for weeks, the state's top health official said on Tuesday, as medical staffing continued to buckle under the strain. The number of newly hospitalized coronavirus patients statewide has declined to 2,500 admissions every 24 hours over the past two days, down from 3,500 in previous days, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr Mark Ghaly said in an online briefing with reporters.
Some National Guard troops helping secure inauguration will be armed: officials
Some of the 10,000 National Guard troops streaming into Washington D.C to help secure the area ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration will be armed, two U.S. officials said on Tuesday. The decision by U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy comes as the FBI has warned of armed protests being planned for Washington in the run-up to the Jan. 20 inauguration.
Explainer: Could Trump be prosecuted for inciting the attack on Capitol Hill?
U.S. President Donald Trump is unlikely to face criminal charges in connection with the violent siege on the U.S. Capitol last week because of the country's broad free speech protections, some legal experts said. Here's an explanation of why lawyers, including ones who think Trump should be impeached for his remarks, say such a case would be an uphill battle for prosecutors.