It’s the Lunar New Year, so welcome to the Year of the Pig. Millions around the world are celebrating. Here are 11 things to know about this big holiday. And 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. State of the Union
So, what kind of speech will we get from President Trump tonight? A call for national unity as the nation feels hopelessly divided? Or a double-down on the politics of grievance that have defined his two years in office? The President might make bona fide news tonight in the speech. Trump, who has called border security negotiations among lawmakers a “waste of time,” might go ahead and declare a national emergency on the US-Mexico border, potentially clearing the way for the use of Defense Department funds to build a wall. But such a move, which even members of his own party have doubts about, is sure to spark a battle that the courts would have to settle.
Here’s what to watch for tonight. You can also read up on the President’s guests for the speech, as well as who members of Congress are bringing. Learn a little more about Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who is giving the Democratic response. Find out why women have been urged to wear white to tonight’s speech. And, of course, watch the State of Union tonight at 9 ET on CNN TV and CNN Digital.
2. Trump inaugural committee
President Trump’s inaugural committee has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors. The US attorney’s office in Manhattan wants documents related to donors, vendors and finances, including “the possibility of” donations made by foreign nationals. The feds’ investigation involves possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations raised for Trump’s inauguration, CNN has reported. Investigators are focused on whether any inauguration money was misspent, a source told CNN. A committee spokesperson said it intends to “cooperate with the inquiry.”
Virginia politics are a mess. The governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, is facing down calls to resign after a racist photo from his page in his medical school yearbook resurfaced. If Northam quits, the man who would replace him is now dealing with his own controversy. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax is denying a sex assault allegation put out by the same conservative website that revealed the Northam photo. Fairfax said the claim, that he sexually assaulted a woman he met at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, is “totally fabricated” and that their encounter was consensual. As for Northam, one state lawmaker said the governor should step down because he “cannot effectively govern” following the controversy over the racist photo. Here’s how other Virginians feel.
4. Australian floods
Australia has been suffering through a record-breaking heat wave. Now, the northeastern part of the country is dealing with massive flooding that’s put 20,000 homes at risk. Heavy, unrelenting rain has hammered the state of Queensland, with floodwaters forcing people from their homes and submerging the city of Townsville. Supermarkets are sending in supplies by barge to head off food shortages. And residents are reporting seeing crocodiles and snakes swirling through the flooded streets.
5. James Brown
Twelve years ago, legendary soul singer James Brown died. The official cause was a heart attack and fluid in his lungs. But when it comes to the Godfather of Soul, you should always question the official story. CNN’s Tom Lake spent almost two years digging into Brown’s death. He traveled through nine states, read tens of thousands of pages of police and court records, interviewed nearly 140 people and analyzed more than 1,300 pages of text messages. His conclusion: There are legitimate questions about James Brown’s death that should still be answered. And there is a disturbing pattern of similarities between the death of Brown’s third wife, Adrienne, and his own.
We’ll always think of Kristoff St. John as Neil Winters on “The Young & the Restless,” but he did so much more before that. St. John died at age 52.
‘Deadliest artifact in human history’
The Aloha State’s not messing around in the fight against smoking. Hawaii is thinking about banning cigarette sales to anybody younger than 100.
His lucky day
The chef long dreamed of feeding the hungry, but he couldn’t afford to do it. Then, while paying for gas, he bought a lottery ticket.
Ever heard of ASMR? No? Zoe Kravitz has. And she used it to try to sell you some beer during the Super Bowl the other night.
About 100.7 million viewers watched the Super Bowl this year, the lowest viewership in a decade. What’s wrong, people don’t like defense?
The number of redfish to be released into southwest Florida waters today to help wildlife recover from red tide
Grab and go
So, Starbucks apparently sells puppicinos for dogs (who knew?), and this playful pup is all for it. (Click to view.)