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Michigan National Guard to help distribute supplies in Flint water crisis

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Michigan National Guard members were set to arrive in Flint as soon as Wednesday to join door-to-door efforts to distribute bottled water and other supplies to residents coping with the city’s crisis over lead-contaminated drinking water.

Governor Rick Snyder activated the state’s National Guard on Tuesday and requested support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which approved the request and appointed a disaster recovery coordinator to help the state, Snyder and a FEMA spokesman said on Twitter.

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The National Guard will work with state officials and volunteers to hand out bottled water, water filters, replacement cartridges and testing kits, Snyder said in a statement.

The financially strapped city was under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager when it switched its source of tap water to the nearby Flint River in April 2014 from Detroit’s water system to save money.

Flint, about 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Detroit, returned to using Detroit water in October after tests found some children had elevated levels of lead in their blood and lead was found in higher-than-acceptable levels in the water.

In December the city said lead levels were still “well above” the acceptable federal level in many homes.

Snyder has apologized for the state’s mishandling of the situation. In late December, he accepted the resignation of the state official whose agency, the Department of Environmental Quality, oversees water quality.

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Last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit said it was investigating the lead contamination of Flint’s water and Snyder declared a state of emergency in Genesee County, which includes Flint, authorizing additional state resources to address health and safety issues.

Flint residents have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the city and state of endangering their health.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Mitch McConnell just gave Democrats a huge gift — by publicly tainting any acquittal of Trump: columnist

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It seems all but inevitable that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump will end with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) mustering the votes to block conviction, no matter what the evidence says and no matter whether Democrats successfully bring in new witnesses and documents.

But McConnell has already handed a victory to Democrats in one key aspect, wrote columnist E. J. Dionne for the Washington Post. His handling of the trial has removed any possibility that impeachment will bolster the president's approval — and emboldened Democrats to take their case to the American people as hard as they can. Indeed, wrote Dionne, Democrats "owe a debt" to McConnell.

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Here is how Jason Crow ‘pulled rank’ on John Roberts — and exposed the Chief Justice’s bias

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Former Army Ranger Jason Crow repeatedly drew upon his experience serving three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan during his prosecution of President Donald Trump as an impeachment manager.

Crow, who was awarded the Bronze Star and retired as a Captain, attended law school after his military service before successfully winning a seat in Congress during the 2018 midterm elections.

Elie Mystal, a justice correspondent for The Nation magazine, explained how Crow pulled rank on Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Mystal broked down how Crow put Roberts in his place with the subtle question of whether senators were getting restless and needed a break.

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Rape trial told Harvey Weinstein a ‘seasoned’ predator

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Harvey Weinstein was a "seasoned" sexual predator and rapist who abused his power as a movie-producing titan to prey on vulnerable aspiring actresses, prosecutors said Wednesday as his trial heard from its first witness.

Weinstein, wearing a dark suit, shook his head as New York Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast painted a picture of a 300-pound (140 kilogram) bully who violently raped, humiliated and manipulated several women, leaving them traumatized for years.

His defense team hit back by saying the fallen film producer engaged in consensual relationships with his accusers, including a "loving one" in which the woman called Weinstein "her casual boyfriend."

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