Monday morning news: March 4, 2019

At least 14 dead after apparent tornado in Alabama » At least 14 people are dead amid “catastrophic” damage from an apparent tornado — or perhaps multiple tornadoes in eastern Alabama. And a coroner in Lee County said he expects the death toll to rise to at least 20.

Rescuers worked through the night, digging through rubble, searching for survivors.

Meredith Wyatt with the National Weather Service said Lee County was one of several under a tornado warning when severe storms swept through parts of several states on Sunday.

WYATT: We did have six to eight warned storms that were capable of producing a tornado. 

It may be much later today before officials know exactly how many lives the storm claimed.

House Judiciary Committee launching obstruction probe » House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says it’s “very clear” that President Trump has obstructed justice and his committee plans to investigate.

NADLER: We’ve seen abuses of power, threats to the Mueller investigation, threats to witnesses. All of these have to be investigated and laid out to the American people. 

The New York Democrat said his committee is seeking documents from more than 60 Trump administration officials, as well as his family and business.

The Judiciary Committee is the panel in charge of impeachment…

And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he thinks Democrats expect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe will turn up nothing on the president, so they’re looking for new ammunition.

MCCARTHY: They are setting a whole new course because there’s no collusion, so they want to build something else. They want to persuade to go some other place. 

Nadler isn’t calling the inquiry an impeachment investigation but said House Democrats are simply doing—quote—”our job to protect the rule of law.”

U.S., South Korea ending war games as olive branch to North Korea » South Korea and the United States are eliminating their massive springtime military drills and replacing them with smaller exercises.

The U.S. and South Korea say they’re extending an olive branch to North Korea, which views the war games as an invasion rehearsal.

Some allies in the region are concerned the move could hurt military readiness.

The announcement comes just days after President Trump left early from nuclear talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Vietnam last week with the sides still too far apart to reach a deal.

Bolton seeks to clarify president’s statement on Otto Warmbier » Meantime, national security adviser John Bolton on Sunday sought to clarify controversial remarks by President Trump about the death of American college student Otto Warmbier. The 22-year-old died in 2017 from numerous injuries suffered in a North Korean prison.

Following last week’s summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump told reporters…

TRUMP: He tells me he that didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word. 

Those remarks deeply upset Warmbier’s parents. Fred and Cindy Warmbier reacted, saying “Kim and his evil regime are responsible” for Otto’s death and “unimaginable cruelty,” adding, “no excuses or lavish praise can change that.”

John Bolton told Fox News Sunday…

BOLTON: When he says, ‘I’m going to take him at his word,’ it doesn’t mean that he accepts it as reality. It means that he accepts that’s what Kim Jong Un said. 

But that explanation appears to conflict with President Trump’s own clarification.

The president later said “of course” North Korea is responsible for Otto’s death. But he said he doesn’t believe Kim knew about the abuses Warmbier suffered because “it just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen.”

Protesters respond to decision in fatal police shooting » PROTESTS: No justice, no peace! 

Demonstrators in Sacramento, California, erupted in anger over the weekend after learning two police officers will not face criminal charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black man.

Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet shot 22-year-old Stephon Clark following a foot chase last March after mistaking a phone in his hand for a gun.

District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said authorities investigated for nearly a year to determine whether the officers committed a crime.

SCHUBERT: When we look at the facts and the law, and we follow our ethical responsibilities, the answer to that question is no.

Schubert said official autopsy results and police body camera footage suggest the officers acted lawfully.

But Clark’s family obtained a separate autopsy, which they say contradicts the county’s findings. And Stephon’s mother Sequette Clark told reporters, the district attorney got it wrong.

CLARK: It was homicide, and they should be charged. I’m praying that the attorney general will pick up where she failed. 

Clark’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in January seeking more than $20-million from the city and officers. They claim he was a victim of racial profiling.

One of the officers involved is white. The other is African-American.

US-built SpaceX capsule docks at space station » AUDIO: 3,2,1, zero ignition, liftoff…

The United States is one step closer to getting back in the business of launching astronauts.

Hours after America’s newest space capsule rocketed into orbit, it docked smoothly with the International Space Station Sunday.

AUDIO: Capture confirmed [cheers]

Ever since NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011, the U.S. has been hitching rides to and from the space station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. In the meantime, NASA is paying two companies — SpaceX and Boeing — to build and operate America’s next generation of rocket ships.

It was Elon Musk’s SpaceX that built the white, bullet-shaped Dragon capsule that docked on Sunday. It carried only a flight-test dummy this time, but manned missions could come soon.

(WKRG-TV via AP) People walk amid debris in Lee County, Ala., after what appeared to be a tornado struck in the area Sunday, March 3, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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