Newsletter: Today: Our President and Crackpot Ideas

Part 5 of our editorial board’s series delves into Trump’s “misinformation of the creepiest kind.” 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.


Our President and Crackpot Ideas


In Donald Trump’s world, Barack Obama’s birth certificate was a fraud, Ted Cruz’s father was involved with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, and thousands in New Jersey cheered on the 9/11 attacks. Part 5 of The Times Editorial Board’s series on the Trump presidency examines his penchant for embracing “unproven, conspiratorial and even racist theories” and the implications of that when a real crisis hits: “He is allowing the credibility of his unimaginably powerful office to be exploited and wasted on crackpot ideas.”

More Politics

-- Did Susan Rice act inappropriately when she “unmasked” names in intelligence reports?

-- Democrats are set to mount a filibuster of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court today. Will the Republicans’ expected use of the “nuclear option” break the Senate?

-- Trump removed his controversial chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, from the powerful National Security Council in a staff reshuffle.

-- Trump’s promise of a “big beautiful wall” along the border with Mexico will not actually stretch across the entire border, the secretary of Homeland Security says.

The Icebergs and the Exxon Valdez

When the oil tanker Exxon Valdez veered to avoid icebergs shed from the deteriorating Columbia Glacier in 1989, an inexperienced third mate was at the helm. The ship ran aground, resulting in a tragic spill. But what caused the dangerous situation in the first place? Though an Exxon Mobil spokesman says there is no “causal link between the Valdez oil spill and climate change,” a collaboration between Columbia University and the Los Angeles Times looks at what many scientists now call one of the earliest and most devastating examples of the risks posed by a changing climate.

Tugboats pull the crippled tanker Exxon Valdez toward Naked Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska, in this April 5, 1989, photo.
(Rob Stapleton / AP)

Crossing ‘Many, Many Lines’ in Syria. Any Red?

International outrage is growing over an apparent chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens, many of them children. President Trump said the incident “crosses many, many lines” and it had “changed very much” his attitude toward Syrian President Bashar Assad. But Trump was unclear about what actions he might take, saying he would not telegraph any possible plans. Russia’s support of Assad makes military retaliation problematic and U.N. maneuvers tense.

China’s President Comes to Mar-a-Lago, While North Korea Looms

Yet another thorny diplomatic crisis is facing Trump: North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles. Sanctions and U.N. resolutions haven’t stopped the program, and the president’s tough talk has some experts on edge that a ruinous war could be triggered. When Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to Mar-a-Lago today to start two days of meetings with Trump, North Korea will be one of the big topics, along with trade. What won’t be a priority? Human rights, apparently.

$50 Million for the American Dream, but Was It a Scam?

Drive around the San Gabriel Valley, and you’ll see the signs in Chinese recruiting high-end investors who want to get temporary residence in the U.S. via an EB-5 visa. This week, federal agents raided homes and an office that they say are linked to an alleged multimillion-dollar immigration and finance scam involving the EB-5 program. Here’s what the investigators found.


-- Gov. Jerry Brown’s sales pitch for a $52-billion tax plan for transportation: “You want to have a screwed-up state with a bunch of potholes? Go ahead, but that’s insane.”

-- Will L.A.’s skid row get its own neighborhood council? It’s a key question for an area that’s reached a tipping point.

-- A Bay Area woman accused of killing the father of her two children is planning to offer nearly $70 million in property to make bail and get out of custody.

-- “It’s a girl!” Meet P-54, L.A.’s newest mountain lion kitten.


-- Classical music critic Mark Swed says you may not know Lou Harrison’s work, but you should.

-- “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” one of the most influential rock albums of all time, is getting a 50th anniversary reissue.

-- It was bound to happen: Spanish-language network Azteca America is making a show about a controversial president and a wall.

-- Barry Manilow says he feared “disappointing” fans if he came out as gay, but the Fanilows are pleased.


The TCM Classic Film Festival opens tonight in Hollywood. Over four days, it will feature comedy films, a new restoration of the 1967 Academy Award best picture winner, “In the Heat of the Night,” and a tribute to the channel’s longtime host and Hollywood mainstay Robert Osborne, who died one month ago at age 84.


-- Iraqi officials say they have removed nearly 300 bodies from the site of an apparent airstrike in west Mosul. It’s one of the deadliest incidents in decades of modern warfare.

-- LGBTQ people are now protected under the Civil Rights Act, but some aren’t OK with that.

-- A wrongful-death lawsuit in Seattle alleges the Army knew some soldiers posed a threat to society but did nothing to stop them from killing two people.

-- Actress Kate del Castillo has been afraid to return to her native Mexico since meeting with drug kingpin and then-fugitive Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

-- Is this the original Brexit? Scientists say England and France were once connected by a ridge of land, until powerful waterfalls from a lake demolished their connection.


-- President Trump expressed support for Bill O’Reilly as advertisers continued to flee over revelations that the Fox News star settled claims of sexual harassment.

-- Are you stressed out? Some businesses want to bust that anxiety.


-- At the Masters, the odds-on favorite, Dustin Johnson, took a serious fall on a staircase.

-- The competition between Los Angeles and Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics is heating up: They’re in a tête-à-tête over Facebook fans.


-- L.A. voters didn’t just turn their backs on Berniecrat progressivism, they went positively Clintonesque.

-- A Los Angeles attorney gives up his car on a dare and finds the joys of not driving.


-- Conspiracy theorists think the government killed this aspiring, dystopian filmmaker. But what really happened? (The New Yorker)

-- “I think most of the impact I have, over time most people will not actually know about”: the transcript of Ivanka Trump’s interview with CBS.

-- After some high school journalists dug into the background of their new principal, she resigned. (Kansas City Star)


The blue sign on the edge of Malibu along Pacific Coast Highway read, “OFFICIAL SANCTUARY CITY.” No wonder, since the City Council made that declaration last month. But read the sign’s fine print: “‘Cheap Nannies and Gardeners Make Malibu Great!’ (Boyle Heights Not So Much).” Now, the sign has been taken down and authorities are investigating the political prank.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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