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Today: From Russia With ‘I Love It’

But … his emails. I'm Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don't want you to miss today.

TOP STORIES

From Russia With ‘I Love It’

Donald Trump Jr. says he “probably would have done things a little differently.” Legal experts are debating whether what he did was a crime. Democrats have denounced it, even bringing up potential treason. Republicans are mostly mum. After all the talk of Hillary Clinton’s emails during the campaign, who’d have guessed Trump Jr.’s would be the focus now? The exchanges show that his friend said a “Russian government attorney” had information that would incriminate Clinton — and that this was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr.’s written response? “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

So, Was It a Crime?

Federal law makes it a crime for any person to “solicit, accept or receive” a contribution or “anything of value” from a foreign person for a U.S. political campaign or “for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office.” It includes an “express or implied promise” to give something of value. Veteran legal reporter David G. Savage breaks down the arguments both sides are making in l'affaire Trump Jr.

More Politics

-- Congress members are expected to approve a new budget plan that would maintain funding for a West Coast earthquake early warning system that President Trump’s budget sought to slash.

-- Christopher Wray, Trump’s choice to replace fired FBI Director James B. Comey, goes before senators for his confirmation hearing today.

-- For French President Emmanuel Macron, hosting Trump later this week is a chance to chip away at U.S. isolation.

When One Candidate Investigates the Other

Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas once groomed senior prosecutor Todd Spitzer as his successor. Seven years ago, he fired him. Now, as the two look to face off in a 2018 election for the D.A. job, their relationship is even more complicated: Spitzer has been the subject of an investigation by Rackauckas’ office and state authorities, according to four sources familiar with the probe.

Too Much TV Is Bad for Emmy Voters’ Health

The Emmy nominations come out Thursday morning and are looking to honor the best of prime-time American TV. But with so many choices spread across network, cable and streaming platforms, who has time to watch them all? To come up with the list, Emmy voters initially faced a record-breaking 848 programs and 2,382 performers. TV critic Lorraine Ali says “it’s this very glut of good shows that makes the Emmys more relevant than ever… or perhaps more useful.”

L.A. 2024 or 2028? Let the Guessing Games Begin

Olympic officials have decided to award L.A. and Paris the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games, as long as the cities can agree on who will go second. Veteran Olympics watchers say that, if you had to make a bet on it, Los Angeles is more likely to accept 2028, as long as it can get some financial considerations for waiting. Those would be all the more significant, given concerns about the massive cost of staging the Games.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Los Angeles’ new congressman, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, is sworn in and takes the floor.

-- Automotive writer Charles Fleming reviews the Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring 5 passenger SUV.

-- Highlights from the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor press tour promoting their upcoming fight.

CALIFORNIA

-- An appeals court ruled that the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department can’t give prosecutors a list of deputies who’ve lied, stolen, falsified reports and committed other types of “moral” misconduct.

-- An L.A. County grand jury says police chases are causing unnecessary bystander injuries and deaths.

-- Beyond the triumphant rhetoric, Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap and trade plan is stirring up dissatisfaction among progressives and conservatives alike.

-- Sledgehammer attacks on a streetside Buddha statue have stunned the L.A. neighborhood of Palms.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Hollywood’s summer box-office lesson this year is that the disconnect between critics and audiences is largely gone.

-- “I’m Sorry” is another TV series in which a person of comedy plays a character with a similar or the same name, doing the job she does in life. Should you watch?

-- “Gangnam Style’s” reign as the most-viewed YouTube video has ended. The new record-holder? “See You Again” from Wiz Khalifa.

-- After 27 years, Kermit the Frog is getting a new voice.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Louis B. Mayer was born on this date in Minsk in 1884, before he and his family moved to Rhode Island. Though he was raised in poverty, he would go on to create “the Tiffany of the studios” with “more stars than there are in heaven.”

NATION-WORLD

-- In a potential breakthrough, the U.S. announced it had signed an agreement with Qatar to fight terrorism and eliminate money for terror groups.

-- Seattle is sticking it to the rich with a tax on the wealthy, in a state that doesn’t have an income tax.

-- Nevada has a drug problem: Shops are running out of marijuana.

-- India’s Supreme Court has temporarily lifted a government ban on selling cattle for slaughter.

BUSINESS

-- The Trump administration has delayed the rollout of an immigration rule that would have granted entry for 30 months to foreigner entrepreneurs seeking to build and grow their businesses in the U.S.

-- Get ready to hear a lot about net neutrality if you use Amazon, Google, Netflix and hundreds of other websites today.

SPORTS

-- Columnist Bill Plaschke says that when it comes to the Dodgers’ TV blackout, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is the latest to swing and miss.

-- Venus Williams is on her way to the semifinals at Wimbledon.

OPINION

-- If it wasn’t clear already, Donald Trump Jr.’s email release proves the Russia investigation is no “witch hunt.”

-- Moby, the musician and vegan restaurateur, says Sacramento shouldn’t be trying to get you to eat more beef.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Trump’s advisors recruited two businessmen to develop proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan. (New York Times)

-- A study says a sixth “mass extinction” in Earth’s history is underway. (The Guardian)

-- What is trinitite? Radioactive fallout, essentially, with a “pretty name.” (Atlas Obscura)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Bakersfield already has a street named after Merle Haggard, who popularized the “Bakersfield sound” in country music. Now the House of Representatives has voted to name a post office in his hometown after the late singer. Given that Haggard was inspired by watching Johnny Cash perform at San Quentin, though, some wonder if a more fitting memorial would be a prison.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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