President Trump is back in Washington, where things are anything but quiet. 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.
D.C. Forecast: Hot, Muggy and a Russia Storm
Washington is usually in the summer doldrums in mid-July, but these are not normal times. President Trump's poll numbers hit a historic low in the latest polling. A vote to overhaul Obamacare is on hold until Sen. John McCain recovers from surgery to remove a blood clot. But what's really taking the oxygen out of D.C.'s air-conditioned rooms is the continuing drama over Russian interference in the election. As more information about a June 2016 meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. comes out, the president has continued to attack the "fake news media" while top Democrats are now saying the disclosures could be a turning point.
-- What's the silver lining for Trump in the poll numbers? He has largely kept support within his own party.
-- Darrell Issa was President Obama's toughest critic, but he's suddenly sounding like a moderate.
-- Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic gold medalist, reality show star and transgender activist, is weighing a run for the U.S. Senate representing California.
The Double Life of a USC Med School Dean
In USC's lecture halls, labs and executive offices, Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito was a towering figure. The Keck School of Medicine dean was a renowned eye surgeon whose skill in the operating room was matched by a gift for attracting money and talent to the school. But there was another side to Puliafito, who resigned as dean last year. During his tenure, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Times investigation has found. Photos and videos captured some of their exploits.
For the 'Dreamers' and Those Who Oppose Them, It's a Nightmare
Nearly six months into Trump's presidency, the so-called Dreamers — those who have been given temporary immigration relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — don't know what to think. As a candidate, Trump vowed to end it. As president, he's said the Dreamers "shouldn't be very worried." And as the back-and-forth has continued, they aren't the only ones unnerved by the lack of clarity: Anti-illegal immigration activists want the president to make good on his campaign promise.
Hey, Snowflake: Do You Like the GOP Healthcare Plan?
As Sen. McCain recuperates, Arizona's junior senator, Jeff Flake, is caught in a political vise surrounding the GOP healthcare bill. Whichever way he decides, a great number of people back home will be unhappy, and he just so happens to be up for reelection next year. This is perhaps best illustrated in the town where his mother lives — Snowflake. (Yes, it's really called that. If for no other reason, read the story to find out why.)
Hollywood Bids Farewell to Two Legends
One was a veteran actor of film and TV who won an Oscar playing Bela Lugosi of Count Dracula fame. The other was the father of the modern zombie movie and creator of the "Night of the Living Dead" franchise. With the deaths of Martin Landau at age 89 and George Romero at 77, Hollywood lost two men who found ways to transcend their respective crafts.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- Somewhere in California, one child's medical expenses totaled $21 million in 2014. It's just one example of how a tiny number of patients pose a huge challenge for Medi-Cal.
-- An L.A. County sheriff's deputy made at least six large drug busts along a stretch of the 5 Freeway; now his credibility is being questioned in court.
-- A new generation of huge rockets made by space start-ups, aerospace giants and the space agencies of the United States, Russia and China will soon take to the skies.
-- "I watched her die": The last push for Mosul, from those who lived through the ferocious battle.
-- Authenticity in casting: From "colorblind" to "color conscious," the new rules are anything but black and white.
-- Record snowmelt has triggered flooding in the Sierra Nevada, and controlling it isn't easy.
-- Get a first look at Disney's new "Star Wars land" … well, a model of it anyway.
-- Alfred Angelo bridal stores closed without warning, leaving many brides without wedding gowns or bridesmaids' dresses.
-- The city of Anaheim has responded to complaints about the growing homeless population around Disneyland by removing bus benches.
-- A former Compton official and his wife have pleaded guilty in a $3.7-million embezzlement scheme.
-- Maryam Mirzakhani, a Stanford University professor who was the first and only woman to win the Fields Medal in mathematics, has died at age 40.
-- Here's what to watch for in the vote to extend California's cap-and-trade program.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Winter is here: "Game of Thrones" began its seventh season and, as TV critic Lorraine Ali writes, it looks as if the narratives of the show's female characters will take center stage.
-- Meanwhile, the new Doctor Who will be played by Jodie Whittaker, the first woman in the role.
-- What can you really learn from Steve Martin, James Patterson and Jane Goodall in an online workshop?
-- Disney has unveiled some sneak previews of "A Wrinkle in Time," "Mary Poppins Returns," a live-action version of "The Lion King" and more.
Though he never said, "You dirty rat," James Cagney played big-city tough guys in many of his films. His only Oscar? For playing a song-and-dance man in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." He was born on this date in 1899, and although he was praised as one of the greats of his generation, he preferred a simple life.
-- At least nine people died after a flash flood in Arizona tore through a group of family members cooling off in a creek.
-- Thirty people were shot, three fatally, during an 18-hour period from Saturday to Sunday in Chicago.
-- British police have charged a teenager with a spate of London acid attacks, as authorities consider whether tougher sentences would stop such assaults.
-- Wastewater on a stick: the popsicles from Taiwan that you really, really don't want to eat.
-- Cleveland, once called "the mistake on the lake," is on the cusp of cool.
-- Not just the "Amazon showroom": how Best Buy rebounded to avoid becoming another retail casualty.
-- Yes, you could lose your property to squatters.
-- After nearly a decade with the Sparks, Candace Parker is a joy to behold on the basketball court, columnist Bill Plaschke writes.
-- Why did Donald Trump Jr.'s emails surface? Because special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is already changing Washington's lying ways.
-- Republicans are playing politics with the gas tax again. No wonder they have no power in California.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Made in China, Indonesia and Bangladesh: inside Ivanka Trump's fashion brand. (Washington Post)
-- A brief history of the term "nothing burger." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
-- Ann Coulter wasn't too happy about being moved on her Delta flight. (MarketWatch)
ONLY IN L.A.
Tim Damon employs two full-time welders and fabricators and has a garage full of supercharged Porsches. Can you guess what he does for a living? If you said, "Shoot car commercials," then start your engines. Here's a look behind the scenes at how his Gardena-based company sells the need for speed.
Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.