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Today: Too Toxic for the EPA?

Today: Too Toxic for the EPA?
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was once a Trump favorite, but questions about his ethics and spending may force him out.

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Too Toxic for the EPA?

To some, Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is a model Trump administration official: an affirmed climate change skeptic, determined to dismantle Obama-era rules. To others, he's a poster boy for the "swamp": first-class plane tickets at taxpayer expense, a $50-a-night housing deal from a lobbyist's wife, that $43,000 phone booth, and big government paychecks for his friends against the White House's wishes. Pruitt says the stories are all part of a conspiracy against him and Trump's policies. Yet even Fox News pointedly questioned him on air. Can Pruitt save his job at the EPA?

More Politics

-- President Trump ordered his administration to consider imposing tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports. The idea didn't go over well with Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who wrote: "If he's even half-serious, this is nuts." It went over even worse with China, which warned it would fight back "at any cost."

-- Trump told a West Virginia audience the conspiracy theory that "millions and millions of people" had voted illegally in California was "not a conspiracy theory, folks."

-- And Trump broke his silence on Stormy Daniels, saying he did not know his personal lawyer had made a $130,000 payment to the porn actress days before the 2016 presidential election. Her lawyer's response: "The strength of our case just went up exponentially."

Afraid to Go to the Doctor

Trump's aggressive moves against illegal immigration are having a side effect: Healthcare providers in California say immigrants, even those here legally, are canceling medical appointments or waiting to the last minute to get treatment out of fear. The president's latest rhetoric won't calm their nerves. While his administration says arrests at the border with Mexico surged last month, Trump has returned to graphic imagery to make the case for deploying National Guard troops. He also suggested some numbers: 2,000 to 4,000 troops. (By comparison, President Obama deployed 1,200 to the border and President George W. Bush deployed 6,000.) It's prompted Mexico's president to respond with a speech calling for national unity. At home, it's complicated the election strategies for both parties.

Mario Chavez of St John's Well Child & Family Center briefs workers on how to respond if federal immigration agents visit their clinics. They have practiced linking arms to block entry.
Mario Chavez of St John's Well Child & Family Center briefs workers on how to respond if federal immigration agents visit their clinics. They have practiced linking arms to block entry. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Man Without a Country

Imagine being born and growing up in a country, only to be deported to another "homeland" you've never known. Twenty-two-year-old Rehmat was born and raised in Pakistan, just as his father was. Yet under Pakistani law, neither is considered a citizen because of their Afghan heritage. So when Rehmat fled to Turkey and was subsequently deported, he was sent to Afghanistan. It wasn't long before a terrorist attack nearby stirred his desire to flee. His plight is not so different from those of millions of other Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

Getting the Shakes

Did you feel it? A magnitude 5.3 earthquake centered near the Channel Islands was the strongest to hit Southern California in years but caused no major damage. It did rattle nerves and inspire many panicked tweets, including those of a bald eagle and chicks in their nest. (See the video.) More important, it served as another successful test of the state's fledgling earthquake early-warning system and a reminder of how to prepare for the Big One. Don't wait; do it now.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY

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The year was 1977. Jimmy Carter was the new president of the United States; disco was king; and Tommy Lasorda was starting his first full season as manager of the Dodgers. Before the team went on its winning ways, the starting lineup posed for this photo. Get a closer look here.

April 6, 1977: The Dodgers starting lineup in their street clothes.
April 6, 1977: The Dodgers starting lineup in their street clothes. (Mark Malone / Los Angeles Times)

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Shut up and spread the word: Film critic Justin Chang says "A Quiet Place" is a thrillingly intelligent monster movie.

-- Golfer Tony Finau hit a hole-in-one at the Masters Par-3 tournament. His exuberant celebration dislocated his ankle.

CALIFORNIA

-- The state's voter registration card is getting a makeover, inspired in part by confusion over how to become an "independent" voter. A 2016 Times investigation highlighted the problem.

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-- Prosecutors say members of a Latino street gang have admitted to carrying out a racially motivated firebombing attack in 2014 on black families in a Los Angeles housing project.

-- A man detonated two small explosive devices at a Sam's Club in Ontario, authorities say. The blasts triggered an evacuation, but no one was injured.

-- Yosemite Valley lodgings, campgrounds and roads will close at 5 p.m. today as a heavy storm is expected to hit Northern California. It will bring some rain in Southern California too.

YOUR WEEKEND

-- A few more words on Alzheimer's prevention: Tap water? Caviar? Twinkies?

-- If you're headed to the Coachella music festival this month, here's what is on the menu.

-- Staying at home? Try one of our doughnut recipes, including the Bauernkrapfen.

-- A klutz's guide to a weekend at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, a.k.a. what to do when you twist your ankle (Tony Finau, take note) and can't hike.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- What makes "Roseanne" work for a wide array of viewers? TV critic Robert Lloyd argues that it's because you can't boil the characters down to stereotypes.

-- "Chappaquiddick" explores the infamous scandal involving Ted Kennedy, but film critic Kenneth Turan says it has a hard time overcoming a pair of built-in frustrations.

-- Disney's California Adventure expansion will feature Marvel superheroes. Just don't call it "Marvel Land."

NATION-WORLD

-- Once called "the most popular politician on Earth" by President Obama, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva now finds himself in a decidedly different position: heading to jail.

-- Salman Khan, one of Bollywood's biggest stars, was this week convicted of poaching two rare deer 20 years ago and sentenced to five years in prison.

-- Surprise! Scientists have found signs of new brain cells in adults as old as 79.

BUSINESS

-- Sinclair Broadcast Group, apparently one of Trump's favorite media organizations, is seeing a growing backlash over its "must-run" conservative content on local TV stations.

-- The owners of the Wells Fargo Center feel the downtown L.A. office complex is too 1980s, so they've embarked on a $60-million project to totally redo its atrium.

SPORTS

-- Tiger Woods, playing in his first Masters in three years, managed to stay within seven shots of leader Jordan Spieth. Will the old magic come back?

-- Yikes: Conor McGregor stormed a UFC media day event in Brooklyn, slamming a metal barrier toward a van. He later turned himself in to police, who said no formal charges had been filed.

OPINION

-- Facebook is finally promising to improve privacy for users. The Times Editorial Board says it's time for Congress to step up too.

-- A trade war with China does not have a "pot of gold" at the end of it, as White House chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow would have you believe.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- A multimedia look at four days in 1968 that rocked Washington, D.C., and changed the city for decades. (Washington Post)

-- The ISIS files: Thousands of documents show how Islamic State terrorists stayed in power by running a government. (New York Times)

-- These days, you'll find lemons instead of limes at your favorite taco truck. Here's why. (L.A. Taco)

ONLY IN L.A.

After a good workout, would you (a) get an IV vitamin drip stuck in your arm, (b) entomb yourself in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, or (c) step naked into a giant can cooled to minus-292 degrees Fahrenheit? All of the above? Welcome to the world of L.A. fitness remedies. Many exercise fanatics swear by them, but others say you'd be better off with an ice pack and a Gatorade.

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