Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from across the United States. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.
Updates on President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry, uncertainty over the 2020 Democratic primaries, California’s wildfires, a gerrymandering ruling in North Carolina and the Air Force’s record-breaking space plane make up this week’s five national stories.
A National Security Council military officer twice raised concerns over the Trump administration’s push to have Ukraine investigate Democrats and Joe Biden, according to testimony the official is prepared to deliver Tuesday in the House impeachment inquiry. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is prepared to tell House investigators that he listened to President Donald Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president and reported his concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.
Read more: Trump impeachment inquiry
Major donors and party leaders have publicly and privately raised concerns about the direction of the primary election, and polling suggests the number of undecided voters in Iowa has jumped significantly in recent weeks. Nine Democrats so far have qualified for the November debate, and a dozen more are still fighting for attention, with former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders gaining visibility as the Iowa caucuses approach.
Read more: Election 2020
Crews fought Tuesday to drown, slash and smother wildfires that have incinerated dozens of homes in Northern and Southern California before returning windstorms can blow them back into life. The fire that began last week near the town of Geyserville had destroyed 57 homes and damaged another dozen, with 90,000 homes and other buildings considered threatened. About 156,000 people were under mandatory evacuation orders. The blaze was 15 percent contained.
Read More: Wildfires
North Carolina judges blocked the state’s congressional map from being used in the 2020 elections, ruling that voters had a strong likelihood of winning a lawsuit that argued Republicans unlawfully manipulated district lines for partisan gain. A panel of three Superior Court judges issued a preliminary injunction preventing elections under the district lines, starting March 3. This comes less than two months after they struck down state House and Senate districts.
The Air Force’s X-37B, a space plane about one-fourth the size of a space shuttle, landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Sunday following a record-breaking two-year mission. The Air Force is mum about what the plane did in orbit after launching aboard a SpaceX rocket in 2017. The 780-day mission sets a new endurance record for the reusable test vehicle. This was the fifth spaceflight by a vehicle of this sort with No. 6 planned next year.