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5 things to know for March 4: Tornadoes, politics, Good Samaritan, Asia, Michael Jackson

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Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told ABC's "This Week" that he thinks "it's very clear the President obstructed justice."

Posted: Mar. 4, 2019 7:20 AM
Updated: Mar. 4, 2019 7:20 AM

It's a grim morning in Alabama after a deadly outbreak of tornadoes last night. So let's get right to that and everything else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Alabama tornadoes

At least 23 people were killed after a series of devastating tornadoes gashed through Alabama last night. Half of the deaths occurred just south of the city of Opelika. It's the deadliest tornado outbreak in the US in five years and surpasses the death toll from all tornadoes in the country in 2018. The damage looked "as if someone had taken a blade and just scraped the ground," Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said. He said the path of destruction is about half a mile wide and runs for miles. The county was hit by back-to-back twisters within the span of about an hour, CNN Meteorologist Gene Norman said.  Authorities will escalate search and rescue efforts this morning as they look for more survivors and victims.

2. Politics

House Democrats start ramping up their investigations of President Trump today. As part of that the House Judiciary Committee will request documents from more than 60 people -- including Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg. Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler told ABC News over the weekend that it's time "to present the case to the American people about obstruction of justice, about corruption and abuse of power."

Meanwhile it looks like there will be enough Republican votes in the Senate to oppose Trump's national emergency declaration. Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul said he'd support the resolution of disapproval that's already passed the House. The Dems had to have four GOP senators to join with them to get the resolution through the Senate, and Paul is the fourth GOP vote they needed. The vote in the Senate will come sometime in the next two weeks. If it passes, the resolution would go to the President for his signature, but Trump has already said he'd veto it. And it's unlikely there are enough votes in either chamber to override his veto.

3. US and Asia

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could be meeting up later this month to end the trade war between the two countries. The two sides are in final negotiations on a deal that would lower Chinese tariffs on US good as the US removes broad sanctions against China, the Wall Street Journal reports. A Trump-Xi meeting could happen around March 27.

Meanwhile the US and South Korea canceled major war games, which North Korea has long considered a provocation. The drills involve tens of thousands of US and South Korean troops and mock events, including rehearsals for invading North Korea. The North has often used the war games as justification for its nuclear weapons program. The US and South Korea agreed to the cancellation to support "diplomatic efforts" as the US continues to try to get the North to dump its nukes.

4. Baltimore Good Samaritan killing

It was a shocking, outrageous story: A woman stabbed to death at an intersection while trying to help a panhandler. Now the story gets even more shocking: Baltimore police say the woman's husband and stepdaughter are the actual suspects. When Jacquelyn Smith was killed in December, after stopping her car to give money to a needy woman with a baby, her husband told police a man approached her car, reached inside for her wallet, stabbed her and then fled with the woman and baby. The husband and stepdaughter were arrested yesterday in south Texas, reportedly on their way to leave the country. They've been charged with first-degree murder. No word yet on what evidence led to the charges or what the motive might have been.

5. Michael Jackson

Part one of the new HBO documentary on Michael Jackson, "Leaving Neverland," aired last night. Part two airs tonight, and some are already saying it will force a re-examination of the King of Pop's legacy. Part one focused on Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse Jackson of sexually abusing them when they were kids. Part two deals with Jackson's 2005 trial on child molestation charges and Robson and Safechuck's decision to now come forward with their accusations. Jackson's estate blasted the documentary and filed a $100 million lawsuit.


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