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Congress is scrambling to fund much of the federal government before the fiscal year ends, anxious to avoid an unpopular government shutdown or a bitter battle over President Trump’s demands for a border wall less than two months before the midterm elections.

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

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.

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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.

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  • 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.