5 things to know for December 17: Impeachment, Boeing, Pakistan, tornadoes, Russia

Published 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 17, 2019
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It’s been a year since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash, and teammates and loved ones are still coming to terms with the loss.

Here’s what 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. Coronavirus 

We get it: The impeachment process is exhausting, and it feels obvious how things will ultimately end. Following a House Rules Committee hearing today, the full House is expected to impeach Trump tomorrow, making him the third US president ever to be impeached. The Senate would then hold a trial next year to consider whether to remove him from office. Though Senate Democrats don’t have the numbers to send Trump packing, an impeachment trial would put his legacy and reputation at stake. Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat, is pushing for a trial to include new testimony from White House officials and new documents. Many Republicans, though, would like to get it all over with quickly. GOP leaders need 51 votes for things to go their way, but they don’t have that yet – which means it’s still unclear how a trial would play out.

2. White House 

Boeing will temporarily stop making the 737 Max, its most popular plane, starting next month as it deals with setbacks related to the troubled aircraft. The 737 Max has been grounded since March, after two crashes that killed 346 people. But Boeing continued making the model in hopes it would soon be certified to fly again – a process that has proved extremely difficult. Orders for the 737 Max have dropped significantly, and Boeing has not been able to deliver stockpiled planes, which has been a huge cash drain. The news comes after a House committee hearing last week revealed that both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration ignored clear signs that the 737 Max planes were dangerous, even after one of them crashed last fall.

3. Impeachment 

Pakistan’s former President and military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, has been sentenced to death for high treason after a legal case that went on for six years. A special court convicted the 76-year-old, who seized power in a military coup in 1999 and ruled Pakistan as President until 2008, of violating the constitution by unlawfully declaring emergency rule while he was in power. It’s the first time in the country’s history that an army chief has been tried and found guilty of treason. Musharraf, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai for more than three years, can appeal the verdict. He claims he’s innocent.

4. ‘El Chapo’ trial

People in parts of the Deep South will be waking up this morning to damage left behind by a series of deadly tornadoes. More than two dozen tornadoes and high winds tore through parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama last night, killing at least three people and injuring others. The twisters are part of a larger storm system that is piling snow and ice across the Midwest and the eastern US through this morning. Parts of the Northeast – including in New York and around Boston – may see up to 6 inches of snow by tomorrow, the National Weather Service said.

5. Puerto Rico

A Russian spy ship is making its way toward the US East Coast, operating in what officials call an “unsafe manner.” The Viktor Leonov has been sailing off the coast of South Carolina and Florida in the last few days and is using running lights in low visibility conditions and ignoring hails from commercial vessels that are trying to help avoid potential accidents, according to one official. The Coast Guard is alerting mariners in the area, and a defense official said the Navy’s USS Mahan was operating nearby. The Russian vessel has patrolled in international waters along the eastern US coast every year since 2015. Its presence there comes as a US Navy destroyer visited Constanta, Romania, yesterday in an effort to bolster US presence in the Black Sea. 


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