Newsletter: Today: The Russia Probe — Accusations, Deflections and Trump’s Tweets
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 Russia Probe: Accusations, Deflections and Trump’s Tweets
California Reps. Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes have held the top positions on the House Intelligence Committee for two years. Now, Schiff and other Democrats are calling on the Republican to remove himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Nunes admitted he had met with a source on the White House grounds before making a bombshell claim that officials in President Trump’s transition team had been the subjects of surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies. Nearly a week after Nunes’ announcement, Schiff says committee members haven’t seen the evidence. Meanwhile, the president tweeted, “Trump Russia story is a hoax.”
Is Kushner the White House’s Fixer?
After last week’s defeat on healthcare, the Trump administration tried turning the page: Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions gave a sharp warning to “sanctuary cites,” although the directive he cited dates back to the Obama administration. Seated at “the smallest desk I’ve ever seen,” Trump rescinded some Obama-era regulations on government contracting, public lands development and education. And the White House said Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will lead a new initiative to overhaul the federal bureaucracy based on ideas from the business world — the same day it also said Kushner has volunteered to go before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions about Russia.
-- State and local leaders in California struck a defiant tone in reaction to Sessions’ announcement.
-- The conservative House Freedom Caucus has reemerged as a challenge to Trump’s agenda and strategy.
-- Did Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin cross an ethical line in plugging “The Lego Batman Movie”? A senator wants to know.
At Least the EPA’s Lawyers Will Be Busy
President Trump today will order the Environmental Protection Agency to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, a far-reaching initiative former President Obama signed in 2015. The idea was to cut fossil fuel emissions at power plants, a cornerstone of meeting the goals of the Paris climate accord. The Clean Power Plan was already the subject of many lawsuits, and you can expect Trump’s action to generate even more billable hours.
Raider Nation, Meet Sin City
Not long ago, the idea of a professional sports franchise in Sin City was an automatic no-go. Too much sin, the thinking went, and not enough city. Now, Las Vegas is getting ready to welcome two teams, with a new NHL franchise in the Golden Knights and a new home for the peripatetic Oakland Raiders. Here’s why the NFL overwhelmingly approved the Raiders’ move.
After the Lakers Family Feud, Jeanie Buss Has the Ball
When Lakers majority owner Jerry Buss died in 2013, he gave daughter Jeanie control of the business side and son Jim the basketball operations. As the team’s fortunes flourished off the court but struggled on the hardwood, some fans wondered what would happen if Jeanie ran it all. Wonder no more, because after some legal formalities, the Lakers are now her show. Columnist Bill Plaschke hopes she’ll be “as bold and tough with the team as she was with her brothers.”
-- What does California need to meet its climate-change goals? For starters, denser housing and less driving, a report says.
-- Authorities say the Pomona home where an 8-year-old boy was fatally shot in a drive-by had been the target of three other shootings this year.
-- Thousands of customers across Southern California lost power as gusty winds damaged trees, downed power lines and fanned small fires.
-- Thanks to recent rains, a rare, endangered shrimp has been found in Costa Mesa.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- The latest from our look at the effects NEA funding has had on culture in L.A.: It helps the Autry Museum provide a rare platform for Native American playwrights.
-- How Andrew Lincoln realized even his character, Rick Grimes, is expendable on “The Walking Dead.”
-- At the California African American Museum, 100 drawings by Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle of 100 missing African American women simultaneously startle and beguile.
-- Jim Gianopulos now has one of the toughest assignments in Hollywood: trying to turn around the struggling Paramount Pictures.
She was a shy little girl from Chicago who went on to play Norma Desmond, who insisted, “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” On this week in either 1897 or 1899, Gloria Swanson was born. Read the 1983 L.A. Times obituary of “a one-woman constellation in the Hollywood skies.”
-- How unusual would it be for South Korea to arrest its deposed president? Not as unusual as you might think.
-- One day after organizing protests across Russia, opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
-- There’s a renewed push to take Sen. Patrick McCarran’s name off the Las Vegas airport and remove a statue of him from the U.S. Capitol.
-- Phoenix is growing rapidly, but future residents might want to be ready for summertime highs reaching 130 degrees before the end of the century.
-- Does breastfeeding make babies smarter? The jury’s out, but it’s still best for a variety of health reasons.
-- Don’t put this off: Four years after the federal government issued an airbag recall, several hundred thousand Southern Californians have yet to bring in their cars for a free fix.
-- Columnist David Lazarus looks at a study that found pay-TV companies and consumers are far apart on pricing when it comes to a la carte channels.
-- The Oregon Ducks’ secret weapon in getting to the Final Four? Practicing against their entire coaching staff.
-- Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu has earned a spot in the Dodgers’ rotation after two seasons on the shelf.
-- Here’s an idea: Fix the original mistake that distorted the health insurance system in America.
-- California was once a bastion of xenophobia and racism. If we can change, so can the rest of the country.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Did right-wing media help save Obamacare? (The Atlantic)
-- Some Silicon Valley companies are looking for ways to eliminate death, but should they? (The New Yorker)
-- When people attack museum masterpieces. (Salon)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
Most freeway commutes are full of woe. On Interstate 680 in the Bay Area, it was full of “whoa!” — when two horses broke loose and eventually made their way onto the freeway during morning rush hour. Watch them gallop along the center divider here, before they were safely corralled.
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