Newsletter: Today: In the Trump Era, Republicans 4, Democrats 0

Republican candidate Karen Handel thanks supporters ahead of her win in Georgia's 6th District race against Democrat Jon Ossoff.
(Curtis Compton / Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

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.


In Georgia, Torrential Rains and a GOP Win

The most expensive congressional race in American history came to an end Tuesday with Republican Karen Handel defeating Democrat Jon Ossoff. Handel fills a seat vacated by fellow Georgia Republican Tom Price, now President Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services. And as if there wasn’t enough drama already, torrential rains pounded the district and threatened turnout as voters tried to get to the polls. Ahead of election day, donors nationwide — many of them Californians — poured money into the campaign. Those backing Ossoff hoped a Democratic victory in Georgia’s traditionally Republican 6th district would signal that Democrats are poised to retake the House of Representatives in 2018. They didn’t get the upset, which they’d thought would serve as a major check on the Trump administration. In South Carolina, Republican Ralph Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell to give the GOP a 4-0 record against the Democrats in special elections during the Trump presidency.

The End of Obamacare as We Know It?

At long last, Americans are expected to get their first look at Senate Republicans’ vision for the future of the nation’s healthcare system. GOP leaders say they plan to unveil the plan Thursday. Republicans have been deliberating over an Obamacare replacement bill in near-total secrecy. That’s leftDemocrats and many others wondering: Will it result in more uninsured Americans? The version passed by the House was forecast to leave 23 million more people uninsured. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says they’ll “make every effort to pass a bill that dramatically changes the current healthcare law.” There won’t be much time for debate.. GOP lawmakers are hoping to pass the bill before the July 4th recess.


More Politics

-- In the Senate, a high-stakes game awaits. Republicans only have a 52-seat majority in the Senate. With zero Democrats on board with their plans, that means the GOP can’t lose more than two senators and still pass a bill. (Vice President Mike Pence serves as a tie-breaking vote.) All eyes will fall on senators from the GOP’s hardline and moderate wings to see if they can agree on issues including whether to preserve the Medicaid expansions made possible by Obamacare.

-- President Trump’s son-in-law and key adviser Jared Kushner is headed to the Middle East in a bid to revive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s an ambitious task for the young real estate magnate and newly minted envoy. The challenge? Resolving one of the world’s most intractable diplomatic conflicts. But Palestinian officials are voicing doubt about the seriousness of the effort after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted approvingly about Israeli jackhammers breaking ground on the first new settlement in the West Bank since the mid-1990s.

Hot, Hot, Hot

Imagine being a septic worker in Death Valley, which had the highest temperature in the U.S. on Tuesday — 127 degrees. Or working the tarmac at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport, where it hit 119 degrees. It was too hot there even for jets, causing dozens of flights to be delayed or canceled. The heat wave cooking the Southwest this week — and keeping millions of Americans indoors with the air-conditioning cranked up — is causing some real trouble. California electricity officials asked consumers to scale back their power usage over the next two days or risk outages. Two firefighters have suffered heat-related injuries while battling a 850-acre wildfire in the San Bernardino Mountains near Highway 18, officials said. Times reporter Louis Sahagun headed to Death Valley, where he found out what happens when a local restaurant’s air conditioner suddenly fails. Forecaster warn Wednesday is expected to be nearly as hot.

A Newly Mapped Fault Line and the Big One

Los Angeles lives in fear of the Big One. Now scientists with the California Geological Survey have newly mapped part of an earthquake fault line in northeastern Los Angeles that they say could someday cause major damage to the heart of the metro area and the San Gabriel Valley. The Raymond fault caused the magnitude-4.9 Pasadena earthquake in 1988, and researchers say it’s capable of causing a much more serious magnitude-7 earthquake.


--In Northern California this summer, there’s big fun and a lot of water at these seven destinations.

--More than 500 surfers paddled out to form a record-breaking circle Tuesday near the Huntington Beach Pier.


--Pamela Adlon of “Better Things” has a surprising choice when asked about a classic show she would love to have been on.


-- Remember those stolen police cars? The Los Angeles Police Department has now arrested a total of seven cadets. The group of teenagers allegedly stole police cars to go joyriding and possibly also to pose as real officers.

-- More mixed signals. The man who led President Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency said California should not be allowed to set its own standards for greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle tailpipes. During a recent Capitol Hill hearing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said it wasn’t currently under review — although he had earlier suggested that the Trump administration could try to revoke California’s Clean Air Act waiver.

-- A bodyguard for a popular alt-right personality was stabbed multiple times in Santa Monica on Saturday night. His supporters raised fears that it was an anti-white hate crime, but police said the attack stemmed from a dispute in a parking garage.

-- More than 9,000 workers at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power would receive six raises within five years under a proposed salary agreement endorsed Tuesday by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s appointees and backed by the DWP’s largest employee union.


-- Production will resume on the reality show “Bachelor in Paradise” after Warner Bros. announced that it had found no evidence of sexual misconduct by a cast member, following a complaint by one of the show’s producers. The show is set to air this summer on ABC.

-- Three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis, the 60-year-old English star of films including “Lincoln” and “There Will Be Blood,” is retiring from acting after his final film, “Phantom Thread,” comes out on Christmas.

--Ava DuVernay has doubled down on hiring only female directors for the second season of “Queen Sugar,” the Louisiana-set TV series she created for OWN. “It was like, oh wait, these women haven’t directed television but they want to,” said DuVernay, who directed “Selma.” “We should really take this as far as we can.”

--Prodigy, one half of the revered hip-hop group Mobb Deep, died Tuesday. He was 42. He had performed in Las Vegas over the weekend and was hospitalized for complications caused by sickle cell disease, his publicist said.


Jane Russell’s provocative performance in the 1943 film “The Outlaw,” and the studio publicity shots posing her in a low-cut blouse, marked a turning point in movie sexuality. She was born Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell on this date in 1921 and died Feb. 28, 2011.


-- Soldiers in Brussels foiled a terror attack when they fatally shot a suspect who brought an explosive device to a busy train station Tuesday night, officials said. No one else was injured.

-- In Portugal, at least 64 people were killed by a wildfire that burned many people alive in their cars as they tried to escape. Environmentalists say they’ve identified a major factor that made the fire worse: non-native eucalyptus trees, which have become a profitable cash crop in Portugal, and whose sap and bark are flammable.

-- The U.S. flew two B1-B supersonic bombers over the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday in a show of force against North Korea. The move comes one day after the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who had returned to the U.S. in a coma after North Korea released him from captivity.

-- Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, placing him firmly as first in line to the throne.

-- Bill Cosby faces a retrial after a Montgomery County, Pa., jury deadlocked over whether to convict him for sexual assault. But experts say the prosecution faces an uphill climb.


--Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned under pressure from investors unhappy about his management style.

-- Is Barbie ready for a Ken with a dad bod or a man bun? Mattel has started rolling out a new line of male dolls that now include “slim” and “broad” body types, plus a wider array of hair and skin-tone options.


-- Former NFL star and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp says he will donate his brain for concussion research, adding, “I just can’t remember like I used to, and it’s from the banging we did as football players.”

-- Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has gone halfway through the season without walking any batters. Can he go all the way?

-- The Lakers have traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in this year’s draft.


-- Columnist Michael Hiltzik sends his best wishes to the still-hospitalized House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was critically wounded in a shooting last week. However, Hiltzik adds, Scalise’s situation highlights two major public policy issues: “There are too many guns in the hands of too many unsuitable owners; and healthcare is still treated in the United States as a privilege, not a right.”

-- Every day, three or four children under age 17 die and an additional 16 are hospitalized from gunfire, yet Congress “doesn’t treat gun violence as a threat to public health, which is outrageous,” Scott Martelle writes.


-- Monday was “Juneteenth,” a holiday that marks the hard-fought end of slavery in America. “It is the observance of a victory delayed, of foot-dragging and desperate resistance by white supremacy against the tide of human rights, and of a legal freedom trampled by the might of state violence,” Vann R. Newkirk II writes in The Atlantic.

-- Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, who is no fan of popular conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, thinks NBC’s Megyn Kelly made the right call in interviewing Jones: “People need to understand how acts like his work and why.”

-- It’s been a busy first five months for the Trump administration. How well do you remember them? Try this BuzzFeed quiz: “Can You Remember Which One Of These Trump Scandals Happened First?


How much snow did California get over the winter? People are skiing in bikini tops during a heat wave in June.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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