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Winter storm disturbs travel as it rolls toward US Midwest, Northeast

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A major winter storm was expected to clobber a large swath of the northern United States with heavy snow, gusty winds and frigid temperatures making travel difficult and dangerous starting on Friday and through the weekend, forecasters said.

The storm system will dump 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) of snow in the Plains and Midwest on Friday night and Saturday and as it moves east at least a foot of snow in parts of the Northeast on Saturday and Sunday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said in several advisories.

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The system was expected to also bring freezing rain, wind gusts of 35 miles (56 km) per hour and quickly dropping temperatures that will to dip into the teens and even below zero Fahrenheit in several areas, the service said.

“If you don’t have to go outside, it probably is best that you don’t,” said Amy Seeley, an NWS meteorologist in Chicago. “People will have to worry about blowing and drifting snow.”

Forecasters and officials in several states warned that snow accumulation and drifts on highways and roadways will make driving difficult and dangerous.

More than 900 domestic flights had been canceled and another 3,100 delayed as of 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) on Friday, according to Flightaware.com, an online tracking service.

Several airlines said on Twitter they will issue waivers and told travelers to expect more delays and cancellations during the weekend.

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Amtrak canceled train service from Chicago to Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York on Saturday and canceled and modified several routes that originate and end on the east coast on Sunday.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf declared a state of emergency for his state where he said two inches of snow per hour was expected. Speed limits on many Pennsylvania highways will be restricted to 45 mph, he said.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by James Dalgleish

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Trump ignored aides’ advice before first Ukraine call — and it destroyed his impeachment defense: report

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to himself as his own top advisor and a political "genius." But his interactions with Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry could demonstrate the limitations of such an approach to governing.

Friday's bombshell, behind-closed-door testimony from David Holmes has made White House aides unhappy, but the bad news for the administration did not stop there.

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‘Aides to the president are not happy’ Gordon Sondland held the phone up in restaurant: CNN’s Jim Acosta

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CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported on Friday that White House aides are unhappy with Ambassador Gordon Sondland for holding up a call with Trump in a restaurant for multiple witnesses to listen.

The details were revealed in bombshell closed-door testimony before Congress on Friday.

Acosta noted the administration was trying to downplay the significance of the call.

"But I will tell you, that the aides of the president are not happy that Gordon Sondland apparently held the phone up so other aides could hear what was going on and the words of the source familiar with the conversations inside the White House, the president speaks loudly, Sondland should know that," Acosta reported.

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David Holmes’ opening statement to Congress directly implicated Donald Trump: report

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Congress will hear first-hand testimony of President Donald Trump's involvement in the Ukraine scandal.

"David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do 'anything you ask him to,' and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to 'do the investigation,'" CNN reported Friday.

""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes testified. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"

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