Newsletter: Today: The U.S., Not Russia, Was Listening. An Attack Upon Westminster.

Neil Gorsuch, Davin Nunes
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes speaks with reporters outside the White House.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

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.


The U.S., Not Russia, Was Listening

One day soon, we can only hope, it will be clear who on the Trump team talked to whom, and who was listening in. This week it’s a big, increasingly political mess. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said that U.S. agencies had inadvertently intercepted communications involving the Trump transition team last year — and briefed Trump about it before telling his fellow committee members. That touched off a verbal brawl between Nunes and the committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff. And it made Trump feel “somewhat” vindicated about his wiretapping claim. Here are all the details.


Down to the Wire: Will the Freedom Caucus Capitulate?

Will they or won’t they? With a vote on the GOP healthcare plan scheduled for tonight, President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan are trying to squeak it through the House — and they’re facing the biggest test of their relationship yet. It won’t help that nearly every major organization representing patients and doctors opposes the legislation. Democrats, of course, are speaking out too, including California Gov. Jerry Brown. His advisors say that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act would blow a $6-billion hole in the state budget within three years. And that’s not all, as this graphic shows.


More Politics


-- Awkward: On the final day of Neil Gorsuch’s testimony before the Senate, the Supreme Court unanimously overruled the foundation of one of his opinions in a case involving the rights of children with disabilities.

-- Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Vladimir Putin a decade ago, according to the Associated Press.

-- The head of the Federal Election Commission wants Trump to produce the evidence that would back up the president’s claims of massive voter fraud.

An Attack Upon Westminster

The assault struck at the heart of London: on Westminster Bridge, where a car plowed into pedestrians, and at Parliament, where the assailant fatally stabbed a police officer outside before authorities shot and killed him. British officials said the assailant was British-born and previously investigated by MI5. Prime Minister Theresa May pledged that London would go about business as usual today after “a sick and depraved terrorist attack” that left four dead in total and dozens hospitalized, and has resulted in eight arrests. It came on the first anniversary of twin bombings in Brussels.

For Immigrants, Forewarned Is Forearmed

Remain calm. Talk to a lawyer now. Know your rights. That’s the message immigrant advocates are trying to convey to those living in the U.S. illegally, and they’re using an array of methods to get the word out — whether it’s setting up hotlines, holding televised town hall meetings or showing a video that explains what to do when ICE comes calling.

The Feds’ Gambit to Convict Baca


When former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was on trial the first time, a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of acquitting him. In the retrial, a second jury needed less than two days to convict Baca of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal officials. What changed? It can all be traced to a risky but calculated move by an assistant U.S. attorney — one that could be a central point of attack in Baca’s appeal.


-- Southern California’s defense industry could get a major windfall under Trump’s proposed budget, but it would cost the state billions by cutting back other federal support.

-- The California State University Board of Trustees has voted to increase tuition as a way to fill a looming gap in state funding.

-- Can a plan for a $250-million entertainment complex next to the Queen Mary help pay for $289 million in repairs to the ship?

-- An unknown number of voters who received Korean-language voting materials in the 34th Congressional District race may have received incorrectly printed sample ballots.


-- For writer-director Jordan Peele, the most gratifying thing about the success of “Get Out” has been watching the film spark cathartic conversations about race.


-- The creators of the Fox series “Shots Fired” want to put a human face on the volatile issue of police shootings.

-- As the podcast “Missing Richard Simmons” wraps up, its creator has a theory about what happened to the fitness guru.

-- Wyclef Jean on being mistakenly detained by sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles: “How can citizens trust the police?”

-- Got writer’s block? Lin-Manuel Miranda has a playlist for you.


Chuck Barris, who died this week at age 87, produced TV programs like “The Dating Game,” “The Newlywed Game” and “The $1.98 Beauty Show,” but he was most visible as host of “The Gong Show.” And then there was that time he claimed to be a CIA assassin.


-- Doctors have tied a superbug outbreak at a foreign health facility to a medical scope that Olympus modified last year in an attempt to reduce its risk of spreading bacteria among patients.

-- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered a glimpse of a new strategy for fighting Islamic State but provided few details.

-- It wasn’t always this way, but Taiwan loves dogs so much that it has become one of the few places in the world to ban the practice of euthanizing strays.

-- A new look at the fossil record means the dinosaur family tree may need to be radically rewritten.


-- Companies including AT&T and Verizon are reportedly pulling ads from Google and YouTube in response to a scandal over extremist videos.

-- An executive at Sears and Kmart’s parent company said it remains a viable business even though it has warned of “substantial doubt” about keeping its doors open.

-- The global movie box office hit a record $38.6 billion last year, but growth in China slowed down.


-- The U.S. routed Puerto Rico for its first World Baseball Classic championship at Dodger Stadium.

-- The International Olympic Committee, L.A. and Paris are involved in a high-stakes game of chicken over the Games.


-- Is it “reasonable” for law enforcement to enter a man’s home unannounced and shoot him? The Supreme Court is about to tell us.

-- If we’re going to rule out negotiations with North Korea, we have to be ready for war.


-- The poem “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802” by William Wordsworth. (Poetry Foundation)

-- Scientists just completed a lengthy restoration of the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem but say more work must be done to prevent the site’s collapse. (National Geographic)

-- Everything you wanted to know about the NBA’s obsession with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (ESPN the Magazine)


The letters on the front of basketball player Lonzo Ball’s jersey read, “UCLA.” During a practice session at Pauley Pavilion earlier this week, the letters on his socks read, “BBB.” They stand for Big Baller Brand, the apparel company run by his Chino Hills family. His outspoken father, LaVar Ball, says this is the start of a billion-dollar empire. But what about NCAA bylaw

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends.