AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EST

House Democrats launch aggressive new Trump probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats launched a sweeping new probe of President Donald Trump on Monday, an aggressive investigation that threatens to shadow the president through the 2020 election season with potentially damaging inquiries into his White House, campaign and family businesses.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said his panel was beginning the probe into possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power and is sending document requests to 81 people linked to the president and his associates.

The broad investigation could be setting the stage for an impeachment effort, although Democratic leaders have pledged to investigate all avenues and review special counsel Robert Mueller’s upcoming report before trying any drastic action. Nadler said the document requests, with responses to most due by March 18, are a way to “begin building the public record.”

“Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” said Nadler, D-N.Y. “Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee.”

Trump dismissed the Nadler probe and others as futile efforts “in search of a crime.”

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23 dead, dozens missing in tornado-blasted Alabama community

BEAUREGARD, Ala. (AP) — Rescue crews using dogs and drones searched for victims amid splintered lumber and twisted metal Monday after the deadliest U.S. tornado in nearly six years ripped through a rural Alabama community. At least 23 people were killed, some of them children.

Dozens were missing in Lee County nearly a day after the twister struck, according to the sheriff, who said that crews had combed the hardest-hit areas but that other places had yet to be searched.

The winds Sunday afternoon obliterated numerous homes, leaving huge, jumbled piles of wood and household belongings. Some homes were reduced to concrete slabs. Debris was scattered across the countryside, with shredded metal hanging from the pine trees.

“I’m not going to be surprised if we don’t come up with some more deceased. Hopefully we won’t,” Coroner Bill Harris said. He said the dead included almost entire families and at least three children, ages 6, 9 and 10.

A post on the Lee-Scott Academy’s Facebook page said fourth-grader Taylor Thornton was among those killed.

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Second man seems to be free of AIDS virus after transplant

SEATTLE (AP) — A London man appears to be free of the AIDS virus after a stem cell transplant, the second success including the “Berlin patient,” doctors reported.

The therapy had an early success with Timothy Ray Brown, a U.S. man treated in Germany who is 12 years post-transplant and still free of HIV. Until now, Brown is the only person thought to have been cured of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Such transplants are dangerous and have failed in other patients. They’re also impractical to try to cure the millions already infected.

The latest case “shows the cure of Timothy Brown was not a fluke and can be recreated,” said Dr. Keith Jerome of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who had no role. He added that it could lead to a simpler approach that could be used more widely.

The case was published online Monday by the journal Nature and will be presented at an HIV conference in Seattle.

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Attorney general won’t recuse from overseeing Mueller probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from overseeing the special counsel’s Russia probe after consulting with senior ethics officials, the Justice Department said Monday.

The officials advised Barr against recusal from Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.

“Consistent with that advice, General Barr has decided not to recuse,” Kupec said in a statement.

During his confirmation hearing in January, Barr sought to assuage concerns that he might disrupt or upend Mueller’s investigation as it reaches its final stages.

Some Democrats had raised those concerns, citing a memo Barr had sent to Justice Department and White House lawyers in which he criticized Mueller’s investigation for the way it was presumably looking into whether Trump had obstructed justice.

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Hillary Clinton says she won’t run for president in 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Clinton says she won’t run for president in 2020, but vows she’s “not going anywhere.”

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady ruled out another campaign during an interview posted Monday by New York TV station News12 .

Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump, says, “I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe.”

She says, “What’s at stake in our country, the kind of things that are happening right now are deeply troubling to me.”

She says she has spoken with several of the candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, and has told them, “Don’t take anything for granted, even though we have a long list of real problems and broken promises” from the Trump administration.

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Luke Perry, heartthrob on ‘90210,’ dies at 52 after stroke

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Luke Perry, who gained instant heartthrob status as wealthy rebel Dylan McKay on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died Monday after suffering a massive stroke, his publicist said. He was 52.

Perry was surrounded by family and friends when he died, publicist Arnold Robinson said. The actor had been hospitalized since last Wednesday, after a 911 call summoned medical help to his home in the Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning,” Robinson said in a statement. Those at Perry’s bedside included his children, Jake and Sophie; fiancée Wendy Madison Bauer; former wife, Minnie Sharp, and mother Ann Bennett.

Although Perry was best-known for his role as McKay, he enjoyed a prolific film and television career. Most recently, he played construction company owner Fred Andrews, father of main character Archie Andrews, for three seasons on “Riverdale,” the CW series that gives a dark take on “Archie” comics. A fourth season has been slated.

The actor’s next big screen role will be in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” which is slated for release in July.

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China sets robust growth target to shore up cooling economy

BEIJING (AP) — China’s top economic official announced a robust annual growth target and a 7.5 percent rise in military spending on Tuesday at a legislative session overshadowed by a tariff war with Washington.

In a bid to defuse U.S. and European complaints the Chinese system is rigged against foreign companies, Premier Li Keqiang promised in a speech to the National People’s Congress they will be “treated as equals” with Chinese competitors.

Li set this year’s growth target at 6 to 6.5 percent, reflecting official determination to shore up a cooling, state-dominated economy and prevent politically dangerous job losses in the face of U.S. tariff hikes and weaker global demand. It is off slightly from last year’s 6.6 percent growth, a three-decade low, but would be among the world’s strongest if achieved.

The premier promised higher spending on technology development the ruling Communist Party sees as a path to prosperity and global influence and more money for education, social programs and public works construction.

Li warned the second-largest economy faces a “graver and more complicated environment” and risks that “are greater in number and size.”

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Guaido returns to Venezuela, calls for more street protests

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A defiant Juan Guaido returned home to Venezuela on Monday despite concerns the opposition leader might be detained and urged supporters at a rally to intensify their campaign to topple the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The 35-year-old leader of Venezuela’s National Assembly showed off his passport before climbing onto scaffolding and pumping his fist during the demonstration in Caracas, delighting euphoric followers whose efforts to oust Maduro have fallen short in a nation gripped by a humanitarian crisis.

There were few security forces nearby and no immediate comment from Maduro’s government, which has tried to divert the public’s attention to carnival festivities Monday and Tuesday. While thousands of Venezuelans heeded Guaido’s call for protests coinciding with his return, many wonder whether he can maintain momentum against a government that, while under extreme pressure itself, has relentlessly cracked down on opponents in the past, jailing or driving into exile top opposition leaders.

“We know the risks that we face. That’s never stopped us,” Guaido said after arriving at Venezuela’s main airport and going through immigration checks. He was greeted by top diplomats from the United States, Germany, Spain and other countries who possibly hoped to head off any move to detain Guaido by bearing witness to his return.

“We hope there won’t be any escalation and that parliamentary immunity is respected,” said Spanish Ambassador Jesus Silva Fernandez.

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Leading minister resigns over scandal that threatens Trudeau

TORONTO (AP) — A leading Cabinet minister in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government resigned Monday, becoming the second minister to step down over a scandal that has shaken the government in an election year.

Treasury Board president Jane Philpott, considered a star minister, said in a resignation letter that it was “untenable” for her to continue in the Cabinet because she lost confidence and could not defend the government.

Philpott’s friend, former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, testified last week that Trudeau and senior members of his government inappropriately tried to pressure her to avoid prosecution of a major Canadian engineering company in a case involving allegations of corruption in Libya.

Wilson-Raybould resigned from Cabinet last month after being demoted to veteran affairs minister the month before.

The scandal has rocked Trudeau’s government. Gerald Butts, his closet adviser and best friend, also resigned last month and is scheduled to testify Wednesday before a Parliament justice committee in Trudeau’s defense.

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$1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot claimed in South Carolina

The mystery is over. Partly.

Lottery officials on Monday announced that a South Carolina resident had stepped forward to claim the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot from last October — the largest jackpot payout to a single winner in U.S. history — but elected to remain anonymous.

A lottery commission statement said the person submitting the claim for what was the second-largest lottery in U.S. history has chosen the cash option, a one-time payment of nearly $878,000,000.

The biggest jackpot in U.S. history — a $1.585 billion Powerball prize won on Jan. 13, 2016 — was split between buyers in three states. That jackpot also had some mystery as the California winners didn’t come forward until about six months later.

“We are delighted that the winner is a South Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable prize,” said Hogan Brown, the Commission’s Executive Director. “We respect the winner’s decision to remain anonymous, and we will honor the winner’s wishes.”

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