It’s Monday, Jan. 27, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. Remembering Kobe Bryant
NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday.
The Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances, a spokesperson from the National Transportation Safety Board told ABC News. Witnesses who were mountain biking in the area saw the helicopter in distress, according to officials.
On today’s “Start Here,” ESPN Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne remembers the legacy of the five-time NBA champion, “He wasn’t somebody who was going to retire and then never be heard from again.”
2. Tape and trial
ABC News has obtained a recording of what appears to be a conversation between President Donald Trump and Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani who the president has repeatedly denied knowing, talking about Ukraine and then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
“Donald Trump can now no longer say that he never had a conversation with Lev Parnas,” ABC News Senior Editorial Producer John Santucci tells the podcast.
The recording, which sources familiar said was made in April 2018 during a small gathering at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C, appears to capture Parnas telling Trump the U.S. ambassador has been bad-mouthing him. And in an apparent response from the president, he says, “Get rid of her. Get her out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. OK? Do it.”
The White House has maintained that removing Yovanovitch was within Trump’s right.
In the meantime, ABC News’ Trish Turner is covering the Senate impeachment trial this week as the president’s legal team continues his defense: “Republican senators, by and large, say that whatever was in the record when the House voted to impeach, that’s what we’re arguing on and nothing else. So any notion of new evidence, new documents; it’s not happening.”
3. Coronavirus concerns
At least 80 people have died from the rapidly spreading coronavirus in China, and tests have confirmed that thousands in the country have contracted the illness with the majority of the cases in Wuhan.
About 9 million people in the city have been put on lockdown as a precaution, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang revealed at a news conference on Sunday.
“We spoke to an American family who are actually 200 miles outside of Wuhan … and they’re now stuck there,” ABC New Senior Foreign Correspondent Ian Pannell tells the podcast. “We’re seeing this pattern repeated that people are unable to get out — all airports, train stations, seaports, river-ports, are all sealed off.”
“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.
Bolton book reports: In a report that may get new witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, then-national security adviser John Bolton says Trump tied the release of aid to Ukraine to investigating Joe Biden and his son.
Grammys 2020: Billie Eilish was the big winner — to the tune of five awards — as the Grammys struck a somber tone in “the house Kobe built.”
Rockets hit US Embassy: In yet another attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad, the U.S. Embassy was hit by three rockets on Sunday. So far, there have been no reports of casualties.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
How Much Will The Des Moines Register’s Endorsement Help Warren In Iowa? Endorsements are always a tricky thing — just ask The New York Times — and a host of local ones were made over the weekend in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Doff your cap:
Life is hard for the Obama family. When they’re not busy setting style trends, writing books, producing Netflix shows or dining with Oprah, they are also winning fancy awards.
It was Michelle Obama’s turn on Sunday, when she took home a Grammy for the audio recording of her latest book.
Michelle’s Grammy will sit on a mantle right next to the two Grammys he already owns.