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Tornadoes, Cuba and vintage VWs get a new life: The Morning Rundown

One local said the tornado's advance felt like a "freight train coming."
Destruction from the tornado's aftermath in Beauregard, Alabama
Trees downed by the tornado destroyed this dwelling in Beauregard, Alabama. Connie Kennedy Majors / via Facebook

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Tornadoes ripped through eastern Alabama Sunday leaving a trail of destruction, the Trump administration is expected to toughen the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba and vintage VWs are getting a new life as electric vehicles.

Here's what we're watching this morning.

'Everything got wiped. It's been leveled'

Some Alabamians will be picking up the pieces of their lives this morning after devastating twisters tore through Lee County, uprooting trees, destroying homes and killing at least 23 people. Dozens were injured and authorities warned that the death toll is expected to rise and that children are among the victims.

"The devastation is incredible," Sheriff Jay Jones said.

The Lee County Emergency Management Agency said the worst of the damage was near the town of Beauregard.

"Everything got wiped. It's been leveled," said Jonathan Hickman, a resident of Beauregard.

Trump admin moving to scare off foreign investment in Cuba

The White House is expected to act as early as Monday to allow unprecedented lawsuits in American courts against some foreign companies doing business in Cuba, U.S. officials and others familiar with the move told NBC News.

The move threatens to discourage more of the foreign investment in Cuba that provides the island's economy with a key lifeline.

It could also play into the Trump administration's efforts to ostracize Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, who is closely aligned with Cuba.

Image: The Habana Libre Hotel, formerly the Havana Hilton
The Trump administration has long sought ways to toughen the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba and has rolled back some measures enacted by the Obama administration. Yamil Lage / AFP - Getty Images

'Double tragedy'

A panhandler was accused of killing Jacquelyn Smith in a case that shook Baltimore in December. But now, police say that the "circumstances were very different."

Police allege that it was actually her family — her husband and stepdaughter — who staged the attack.

Jacquelyn Smith, an electrical engineer from Maryland's Harford County
Jacquelyn Smith was an electrical engineer from Maryland's Harford County.Baltimore Police Department


THINK about it

The Mueller investigation has proven that the special counsel process is broken. Here's how to fix it, according to Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

Classic cars get an electric rebirth

Vintage Volkswagens and other classic cars are getting a new lease on life at Michael Bream’s California workshop, where he removes their gas-guzzling engines and transforms them into electric vehicles, often using parts salvaged from wrecked Teslas.

One fun thing

ICYMI: "Saturday Night Live" had a field day with Michael Cohen's testimony before Congress, enlisting the talents of Ben Stiller to reprise his role as President Donald Trump's former personal attorney.

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Thanks, Petra