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Ethiopian Airlines, Timmothy Pitzen & the elusive Trump bounce: The Morning Rundown

"I just prayed that when he was old enough that he would remember us and contact us," the grandmother of missing boy Timmothy Pitzen said.
Image: Timmothy Pitzen
A teenager in Kentucky says he is a boy named Timmothy Pitzen, seen above, who went missing in 2011 when he was 6 years old. WMAQ

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The pilots in the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash followed the proper procedures, the first official report on the disaster says. A teenager says he is a boy who went missing at age 6. And what's the secret to the California city where Americans live the longest?

Here's what we're watching today.

'I just prayed that when he was old enough that he would remember us and contact us'

One family's prayers may finally be answered.

A teenager in Kentucky says he is a boy who went missing at age 6 in 2011.

Timmothy Pitzen of Aurora, Illinois, was last seen at a water park in Wisconsin.

The teen claiming to be Timmothy identified himself to police on Wednesday. He told investigators he escaped two kidnappers who have held him captive for years.

The FBI is working with authorities in multiple states to confirm his identity.

"What I've prayed about since he's been gone is that God will keep him close and take care of him," Kara Jacobs, Timmothy's maternal aunt, told NBC Chicago.

Trump got no bounce from Mueller, leaving him with a narrow path to the Oval Office

The news that special counsel Robert Mueller had found no collusion between his 2016 campaign and the Russians was expected to give President Donald Trump a lift.

But a week later, Trump's average approval rating had climbed a grand total of one-tenth of one percentage point.

Now investigators on Mueller's team have told associates that Attorney General William Barr's four-page summary of the report inadequately characterized the findings of their inquiry, The New York Times and Washington Post reported.

The complete report has yet to be made public, but what's in it may come to light soon. The House Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena for the full, unredacted report on Wednesday.

One way or the other, Trump's current polling numbers leave him a narrow path back to the Oval Office, NBC News Steve Kornacki writes in an analysis. He may need a rival as unpopular as Hillary Clinton was in 2016 to pull off a second term.

McConnell triggered the 'nuclear option' again. What does that mean?

Senate Republicans on Wednesday used a controversial procedural tactic called the “nuclear option” to change chamber rules to make it easier to confirm lower-level Trump nominees.

Here's what you need to know about what that move means in the big picture.

What led an ex-CIA officer to spy for the Chinese?

Kevin Mallory, a former CIA officer, was $230,000 in debt and months behind on his mortgage in early 2017, court records show, when he received a LinkedIn message from a Chinese headhunter.

The exchange set off a chain of events that led to Mallory's conviction last year on charges of spying for China.

On Thursday, he's set to be sentenced in Virginia. Mallory, 61, is facing up to a life term.

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  • The last federal legislation to protect kids against offensive content was passed when George H.W. Bush was the president. None of the online media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Netflix are governed by that law. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., wants to change that.

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THINK about it

The murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle last week has sparked conversations about gun violence, homophobia and how we mourn a complicated black life, writes George M. Johnson, an activist and columnist at Afropunk.

Science + Tech = MACH

Jennie has big brown eyes, soft golden fur and a tail that won’t stop wagging. Scratch behind her floppy ears, and she’ll lean in for more. She even barks on command.

But Jennie’s not a dog. She’s a prototype for Tombot, a puppy-like companion robot being developed as a tool for comforting people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.


These Americans live seven to 11 years longer than the rest of us. What's their secret?

Quote of the day

"We always felt very strongly that Tim was alive."

Kara Jacobs, Timmothy Pitzen's maternal aunt

One fun thing

Stephen Curry’s “Underrated” camps offer high school athletes the tools and mentorship that could help propel them into professional basketball careers.

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Thanks, Petra