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5 things for January 12: Trump, Russia, Pakistan, mudslides, Walmart & Sam's

Enjoy your MLK weekend. We'll see you all on Tuesday. Here's what 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.)

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Doug Criss (CNN)
(CNN) — Enjoy your MLK weekend. We'll see you all on Tuesday. Here's what 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. President Trump

The Trump White House often gets spoofed on "Saturday Night Live," but even "SNL" wouldn't say what the President said yesterday. During an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers on immigration, Trump wondered aloud, "Why do we want all these people from s***hole countries coming here?" sources told CNN. Trump was talking about immigrants from Haiti and Africa, adding that the US should be taking in more immigrants from countries like Norway.

The White House didn't exactly deny that's what the President said, and Trump reportedly told aides the media was blowing his comment out of proportion. One White House official even said the comment would score well with Trump's base. Alrighty, then. Meantime, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were quick to condemn the remark. Our Anderson Cooper called it straight-up racism. And Chris Cillizza said Trump's comments represent a new "rock bottom" for him.

2. Russia investigation

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Republicans are blocking dozens of witnesses from being interviewed in the Russia probe, including some who were aware of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting at which Donald Trump Jr. was promised dirt on the Clinton campaign.

Schiff accused Republicans -- including Rep. Devin Nunes, the GOP chairman of the committee -- of blocking the inquiry from moving ahead, leaving key questions unanswered. He said the committee has spoken to 56 witnesses, fewer than half of the number in the Senate Intelligence Committee. The White House declined to comment on Schiff's accusations. Aides to Nunes and GOP Rep. Mike Conaway, who is running the Russia probe, did not respond to requests for comment. 

3. Pakistan

People took to the streets in Kasur, Pakistan, to express their outrage over the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl, whose body was dumped in garbage. Zainab Amin was led away from her home last week by a man while her parents were away on a religious pilgrimage. She was strangled. Torture marks were found on her face, and her tongue was crushed between her teeth. Protesters say authorities haven't done enough to keep children safe; there have been 11 other killings of young girls in the same area. The protests turned violent, and two people died in clashes with police. The hashtag #JusticeForZainab spread quickly on social media in Pakistan.

4. California mudslides

Time's running out for rescuers to find a miracle among the murky debris left by the mudslides in Southern California. At least 17 people were killed when rivers of mud and debris rushed down wildfire-charred hillsides earlier this week in Santa Barbra County, demolishing homes and blocking roads. Dozens of people are still missing, so rescue teams plan to search some areas for a second time in a desperate bid to find survivors. Officials also expanded the mandatory evacuation zone to help out rescue efforts.

5. Walmart & Sam's Club

It was whiplash day at Walmart. First, the retail behemoth announced it was raising its minimum wage and handing out bonuses to employees because of the GOP tax cuts. The new minimum wage is $11 an hour, and workers can get a one-time bonus of as much as $1,000. (The White House was oh so happy to talk that up.) But then later in the day, Walmart announced it was closing 63 of its Sam's Club stores, which employ almost 10,000 people.


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