5 things to know for February 1: Nuke treaty, Trump Jr. calls, border deal, epic cold

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During an interview on The Laura Ingraham Show, Donald Trump Jr. called a 2016 meeting between top campaign aides to his father and a Russian lawyer in which they were promised damaging information on his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton a "bait and switch."

Posted: Feb. 1, 2019 7:10 AM
Updated: Feb. 1, 2019 7:10 AM

The second summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un is set for later this month in Vietnam.

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. Arms control treaty

The US is poised to begin pulling out of one of the world's most important nuclear treaties. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to announce today that the US will stop participating in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, according to two US officials and multiple diplomatic sources. This would be a stunning development because the 1987 treaty has been a centerpiece of European security since the Cold War. The US and European allies have maintained for years that the Russians are violating the agreement. But if the US does indeed drop out of the treaty, fears of a new nuclear arms race with Russia ramp up considerably.

2. Russia investigation

Senate investigators have gotten new information showing Donald Trump Jr.'s mysterious phone calls ahead of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting were not with his father, three sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN. Records provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee show the calls were between Trump Jr. and two of his business associates, the sources said, and appear to contradict Democrats' long-held suspicions that the blocked number was from then-candidate Donald Trump. The information could answer a key question about the meeting Trump's eldest son set up to get Russian dirt on the Clinton campaign.

3. Border security talks

President Trump said the ongoing talks in Congress over border security, aimed at avoiding another government shutdown, are a "waste of time." The President, in an interview with The New York Times, hinted he's prepared to circumvent the talks between Democrats and Republicans. Does that mean he'll declare a national emergency if lawmakers don't provide money for a border wall? Trump was cryptic, saying he had "set the stage for doing what I'm going to do." Parts of the government could shut down again by February 15 if lawmakers can't put together a deal the President likes.

4. Birth tourism

Looks like the US is starting to crack down on what's known as birth tourism. Three people were arrested on charges of running "birth tourism" companies that catered to Chinese clients in Southern California. This marks the first time that federal charges have been filed over the practice. "Birth tourists" travel to foreign countries to give birth, so their children can get the citizenship of that country. The US confers citizenship automatically upon babies born on its soil. Some other countries do not grant citizenship automatically unless at least one parent is a citizen.

5. 'Empire' actor attack

A letter containing white powder was sent to the set of "Empire" just days before actor Jussie Smollett said he was attacked by two men in Chicago. The white powder turned out to be aspirin, said police, who also released a picture of two people wanted for questioning in the case. Smollett said he was returning from a Subway sandwich shop early Tuesday when two men physically assaulted him, called him homophobic and racist slurs, placed a noose around his neck and poured an unknown substance on him. Investigators have video of Smollett walking into a hotel after the incident with what appears to be a noose around his neck.

TODAY'S NUMBER

16

The number of deaths related to the extreme cold snap that's gripped the Midwest and Northeast this week. Thankfully, temperatures will begin to rebound today.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

A Good Samaritan

Somebody put up 70 homeless people in Chicago at a hotel this week as the city shivered through record cold.

14 billion tons of ice ... gone

There's a hole two-thirds the size of Manhattan in a glacier in Antarctica, and scientists are worried sick about it.

Facciamo le valigie

What's up with Italy? First, a town there was selling homes for just a dollar. Now, another is offering foreigners $10,000 to move in.

'Missing (wo)man' flyover

If you happen to be near Maynardville, Tennessee, tomorrow, look up. The Navy's first all-female flyover will honor a woman who helped make it possible.

The robots are coming

They really are taking over. They're cleaning our houses, stocking grocery shelves and parking cars at the airport. And now they're beating us at Jenga.

HAPPENING LATER

Jobs, jobs, jobs

The January jobs report comes out later this morning, and economists think it will still be solid, despite the partial government shutdown.

AND FINALLY

I will find you

Liam Neeson takes his "very particular set of skills" to the internet, where he goes undercover to respond to real questions and comments about himself. (Click to view.)

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Tracking a mostly pleasant Memorial Day weekend.
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