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The constellation of personalities orbiting Donald Trump is unlike any known to previous presidents.

Jimmy Carter had Billy, his colorful, beer-loving brother. Bill Clinton had Roger, a sibling who chased fame as an aspiring actor and rock musician.

But the habitues of Trump’s overlapping legal and political worlds are of a whole other order. A porn star. A pair of Playboy Playmates. A lawyer and fixer with a New York swagger and wiseguy vernacular suggesting he’s seen a few too many Martin Scorsese films.


President Trump has agreed to give up his right to pursue millions of dollars in damages against Stormy Daniels in a move to kill litigation over an illegal payoff to the adult-film star.

Edmund F. Biro working at his home in Chatsworth.
Edmund F. Biro working at his home in Chatsworth. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Edmund F. Biro still remembers how good his life was before the financial crisis that nearly destroyed the economy 10 years ago.

The software engineer was earning about $85,000 a year doing consulting work. He, his fiancee and her teenage son lived in a three-bedroom Chatsworth condo that had jumped to about $500,000 in value. And, just in case of emergencies, his bank had set him up with a home equity line of credit.

“As far as I was concerned, things were going really well,” he said, “except I wasn’t aware of all the things that could go wrong.”

  • Midterm Election
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A day after delivering a long and scathing speech targeting his successor, former President Obama switched into campaign mode Saturday morning, rallying an army of die-hard Democratic activists who gathered to hear him speak in Orange County.

“We have the chance to flip the House of Representatives and make sure that we have checks and balances in Washington,” Obama said, as roars of applause filled a small room packed with hundreds of supporters and House campaign volunteers. “I cannot tell you, across the country, you can feel the energy, you can feel people saying, ‘Enough is enough!’”

As he did Friday at the University of Illinois, Obama warned against politicians who seek to exploit fear in times of uncertainty to maintain power.

  • Midterm Election

When we're not stepping up, other voices fill the void. The good news is that in two months, we have the chance to restore some sanity to our policies.

  • Midterm Election
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

A couple of pro-Donald Trump protesters armed with bullhorns showed up outside the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday morning, but it didn’t seem to dampen spirits of Democratic activists gathered to hear former President Obama speak.

They attempted to drown out the other side’s comments with chants of “Take it back!” as they waited in a snaking line to enter the convention hall.

Inside, the celebratory mood continued as hundreds of fans gathered to wait for the former president’s speech. After a series of speakers, including a former and current Republican who say they’ve become disenchanted with the GOP and are now committed to electing Democrats to the House, the crowd started chanting again to pass the time.

(Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney of President Trump, has asked porn actress Stormy Daniels to return the $130,000 payoff she received in exchange for keeping quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.

A lawyer for Cohen and Essential Consultants LLC, the shell company that he used to pay Daniels, demanded the money in a letter Friday to her attorney, Michael Avenatti.

The lawyer, Brent Blakely, said Cohen would agree to void the nondisclosure agreement that he and Daniels signed just before the November 2016 presidential election.

  • Midterm Election
Obama supporters Lee Rice and Rossean Hunter came to hear former President Obama's speech.
Obama supporters Lee Rice and Rossean Hunter came to hear former President Obama's speech. (Christine Mai-Duc)

Among the hundreds of Democratic hopefuls who came to hear former President Obama give his first speech after lashing out at President Trump on Friday was a Trump supporter who came with bullhorns to protest.

"This is Orange County, this isn't Rainbow County!" he shouted.

Obama supporters, who came out for the rally in support of California’s Democratic congressional candidates tried to drown him out, yelling, "Take it back!"