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Deadly winter storm pounds the East Coast

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(Reuters) – A deadly and intensifying winter storm packing heavy snow, sleet and rain pelted a huge swath of the U.S. East Coast on Thursday, grounding flights and shuttering schools and government offices.

Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place from Georgia up to Maine, and the powerful system could blanket the Atlantic Coast over the next two days with 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cms) of snow, said Jared Guyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

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“It’s a very messy scenario,” Guyer said. “Roads remain treacherous.”

The Washington, D.C., area awoke to its heaviest snowfall of the winter. The federal government was closed, along with school districts in the area.

Washington’s bus service was suspended, and residents were advised to stay home if possible rather than risk a commute through snow accumulations of as much as a foot throughout the area.

All runways at the city’s Dulles and Reagan National airports were closed, as well as schools in Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York.

About 4,470 domestic and international flights were canceled and another roughly 290 were delayed early on Thursday morning, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.

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ICE STORM

The storm system, which has dumped heavy snow, sleet and freezing rain from eastern Texas to the Carolinas since Tuesday, was blamed for at least 13 deaths in the Southern region and for knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of customers.

An ice storm warning was in effect for parts of central Georgia on Thursday morning, after about one inch of ice had accumulated there and into South Carolina. Schools across the South were closed again on Thursday.

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Roughly 8 inches of ice and heavy snow has now accumulated in parts of North and South Carolina, Guyer said, possibly a historic level.

“The catastrophic part is mostly the ice across the South where they’re getting anywhere from a half inch to an inch of ice accumulating on power lines and trees,” said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland.

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Traffic on interstate highways ground to a halt on Wednesday as the snowfall picked up quickly and fatal road accidents and weather-related deaths were reported in Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

Governors declared states of emergencies from Louisiana to New Jersey.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson; Additional reporting by Bill Trott; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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Bill Barr is serving notice to DOJ officials that he’ll ruin them if they investigate Trump: MSNBC host

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An MSNBC discussion about Bill Barr running interference within the Justice Department for Donald Trump ended with "AM Joy" host Joy Reid suggesting that the attorney general's very public "media blitz" over the so-called "Horowitz Report" is a warning shot to anyone in the DOJ who thinks about investigating the president.

As Reid explained it, "He did a whole TV blitz to basically say that his own agency, the FBI, was spying on the Trump campaign, something that the inspector general said did not happen."

Reid took that to its logical conclusion.

"Now he’s saying, ‘Well, I’ve got a different report that’s going to find the motivations’ that he’s basically saying are bad motivations by people in the FBI.  And if you’re that FBI agent and then you hear that Donald Trump may be again looking for foreign help and maybe again getting help from Russia or forcing help from Ukraine, what do you do?" she asked. "Would you then not be concerned that, should you go ahead and investigate foreign interference in our election, that William Barr may come after you?"

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Stefanik voters turning on GOP lawmaker after she threw away her credibility to defend Trump

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Over the course of the impeachment hearings, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has gone from a relative backbencher who sells herself as a moderate to voters in Upstate New York, to a theatrical partisan grandstanding for President Donald Trump and a top target of ire from Democrats.

But according to Politico, at least some of her voters appear turned off by her new stance.

"While Stefanik once able to strike a delicate balance between her Republican identity and her positions on issues like climate change, some think those earlier convictions are gone, like Phillip Paige, a former Stefanik backer and a member of SUNY Potsdam’s College Republicans," wrote Politico's Anna Gronewald. "A native of the 21st district’s Madrid, New York, Paige said he started to lose faith in Stefanik when she began supporting Trump as the party’s nominee in 2016. Paige supported John Kasich’s candidacy in that election. 'A lot of her boots-on-the-ground young Republican crowd has really become quite disillusioned,' he said. 'We saw her as what we thought the future of the Republican Party was and that really has been disproven. Unless, maybe the future of the Republican party is Donald Trump.'"

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DOJ employees urged to revolt against Bill Barr for throwing IG report ‘in the trash’ to defend Trump

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On MSNBC's "AM Joy," former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne excoriated Attorney General William Barr for his partisan suppression of the inspector general's conclusions about the FBI's Russia investigation.

"Here's the problem. The inspector general has already found that the — the investigation was not motivated in the way that Bill Barr is saying it is, and he's directly taking all the work of all the people and he's throwing it in the trash," said Alksne. "And he's added this other layer of an investigation and now he's broken all the rules, because one of the rules in an investigation is you don't talk about it in the middle, and he's done that. And it's a very threatening thing to the person who did the initial investigation, and it's also a way of putting his thumb on the scale with the guy who's doing the followup investigation, [U.S. Attorney John] Durham. He was talked into issuing a press release that was completely improper."

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