5 things for Wednesday, June 14: London building fire, Jeff Sessions, Georgia inmates
Posted June 14, 2017 6:01 a.m. EDT
There's tough news coming out of London this morning, so let's get straight to 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. London apartment building fire
We know people have died in a fire at a residential building in London, but officials don't yet know exactly how many. The fire in the 24-story building broke out in the early morning hours and soon the entire tower was engulfed in flames. Witnesses described a hellish scene: people jumping from the top floors, the bodies of children covered in sheets on the ground, the sound of screams. One woman said she saw a man burn to death in his apartment. They also said there were no alarms or warnings. About 200 firefighters are still fighting to put out the blaze. Keep up with the latest on this developing story with our live blog.
2. Jeff Sessions hearing
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was back in his old stomping grounds when he strolled into the Senate intelligence committee hearing to testify. He served in the Senate for two decades, after all, so that's probably why he felt comfortable pushing back -- hard -- on allegations he colluded with the Russians during the 2016 election. He called the allegations "an appalling and detestable lie."
Sessions was also ticked off when Democrats said he was stonewalling by refusing to talk about his private conversations with President Trump. And when Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon didn't like Sessions' answers (or non-answers) about the real reasons he recused himself from the Russia investigation, the attorney general went off. "This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it!" he yelled, adding a little fire to what had been, up to that point, a tense but civil hearing.
He said he failed to disclose at his confirmation hearing his two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak because Sen. Al Franken had asked him "a rambling question" about it. (Is Kislyak the most uninteresting man in the world or what? No one ever seems to remember meeting him.) Sessions also said there was no third undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador.
So to recap, Sessions testified; Trump and the Republicans were happy with his answers. The Democrats? Not so much. As always, CNN's Chris Cillizza has the hearing's winners and losers.
And, oh yeah, they tried to cut off Kamala Harris again.
3. Otto Warmbier
The good news is Otto Warmbier is back home on American soil. The bad news -- he's in a coma. Warmbier, a US college student, was held for more than 17 months in North Korea. He's been in a coma for over a year, but it's not clear what happened to him. Someone close to his family tells CNN that Warmbier contracted botulism last year and is in "bad shape." The North Koreans said he fell into the coma after taking a sleeping pill. His failing health factored into his release. Once back in the States he was rushed to a hospital in Cincinnati. Warmbier was detained back in January 2016 while trying to get home after touring the country. North Korean officials said Warmbier tried to steal a political banner from his hotel. And let's not forget: there are still three other Americans being held in North Korea.
4. Georgia inmates manhunt
An intense search is on for a pair of inmates who police say killed two prison guards before escaping. The manhunt is expanding beyond central Georgia for Donnie Russell Rowe and Ricky Dubose. And what they're accused of doing sounds like a plot straight out of a movie. Police say the men, while being transported to another prison, got out of a locked section of a bus and overpowered the guards before killing them. Then they carjacked another vehicle and broke into a house, where they took food and clothing. A $60,000 reward is offered for their capture.
5. Hot car deaths
It's probably the most heartbreaking certainty of summer: young children being left in a hot car and dying an unfathomable death. It happens on average about 37 times a year. There were three hot car deaths -- two in Texas, the other in Arkansas -- just last week. What's most shocking is that a lot of states don't have laws in place making it illegal to leave a child alone in a car.
Meanwhile, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has come out with its annual report on the best and worst states to raise kids. The best? New Hampshire. The worst? Mississippi.