With three former Trump campaign aides having been criminally charged, the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election meddling has entered a new phase. Here’s what you need to know:
The October Indictment Surprise
Paul Manafort was the “international man of mystery” who once ran Donald Trump’s presidential campaign; Richard W. Gates III, his top deputy. George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy advisor who was a virtual unknown. Now, Manafort and Gates are under house arrest after pleading not guilty to charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in a multimillion-dollar financial scheme that prosecutors say ran from 2006 to 2017. Court papers show Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents and became a cooperating witness for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, over the summer. At least one prominent Democrat didn’t come away unscathed either: Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, stepped down from his firm amid revelations Manafort once solicited it to work on a Ukraine lobbying campaign.
Trump’s One-Two Counterpunch
If Monday’s announcement of indictments in the Russia investigation represented a one-two punch from Mueller, President Trump and his supporters have adopted their own one-two counterpunch. Trump’s first response on Twitter: “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????” Trump wrote. “… Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” So how will a deeply divided public react to this and the next steps in the investigation?
Manafort: Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams
Manafort helped run successful presidential campaigns for Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Trump. He served as a strategist and advocate for Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos and Zaire’s ruthless ruler Mobutu Sese Seko. He lobbied for and advised Kremlin-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. And he became very wealthy, so much so that prosecutors say he spent millions renovating a house and $520,400 in clothes from one Beverly Hills business alone. Where did he shop? No one on Rodeo Drive was saying, but former partner Roger Stone Jr. says Manafort does have “excellent taste when it came to suits and ties.”
More From the Russia Investigation
-- White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly brushed aside the charges but endorsed a new independent prosecutor to delve into a 2010 uranium company deal, and had some things to say about the Civil War and Rep. Frederica Wilson.
-- When he heard about the “dirt” on Clinton: A timeline of Papadopoulos and the Russia case.
Kevin Spacey’s Real-Life House of Cards
Hollywood is being rocked by yet another allegation of sexual misconduct by one of its most lauded figures: Just hours after a report in which actor Anthony Rapp alleged that Kevin Spacey had made a sexual advance toward him in 1986 when Rapp was 14 years old, Spacey issued a conditional apology and announced, “I choose now to live as a gay man.” For many, Spacey’s response brought further outrage. Meanwhile, Netflix says Spacey’s series “House of Cards” will end after the sixth season.
The Dodgers Have a Method Amid the Madness
It may not yet qualify as the best World Series ever, but as columnist Bill Plaschke writes, it’s been the craziest. Tonight, the Dodgers head into a must-win Game 6 at home, trailing three games to two — on Halloween, the freakiest night of the year. Will that cause Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to deviate from the game plan that guided the team through a remarkable regular season and playoff run? It’s highly unlikely. So what will happen tonight? The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig has a bold prediction: “It’s not going to finish Tuesday. There’s going to be a Game 7.”
-- White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the indictments have “nothing to do with the president or the president’s campaign.”
-- One family’s tale of life under Islamic State: “We were living in a big prison.”
-- A World Series treat for a Houston Astros fan who’s faced cancer and Hurricane Harvey.
-- Inflatable rubber dams and a water wheel are part of the latest plan to revitalize the L.A. River.
-- A Murrieta couple who grew closer after surviving the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 died weeks later in a car crash not far from their home, family members and authorities say.
-- Starting Friday, Orange County workers will actively enforce public hours along the Santa Ana River Trail, where a homeless encampment has grown.
-- Licensed pot sales will start soon in California, but high taxes on marijuana could mean the black market will thrive.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- A former producer on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” has filed a complaint against Warner Bros., the show’s production company and five producers, alleging she was sexually harassed.
-- Alec Baldwin breaks his silence about James Toback: “I never had one conversation with Jimmy about his sex life.”
-- The Producers Guild of America has banned Harvey Weinstein for life.
-- Corey Feldman says he’s “not playing around” about naming alleged pedophiles in Hollywood, as long as he gets $10 million to make a movie about it.
He was born Ehrich Weiss on March 24, 1874, in Budapest, Hungary. By 1899, the man known as Harry Houdini was the hottest attraction in vaudeville. Twenty years later, he’d go on to Hollywood, starring in pictures such as “The Master Mystery,” a 15-episode serial from 1919; “Terror Island” from 1920; and “The Man From Beyond” from 1922. He died on Halloween in 1926.
-- A federal court in Washington has blocked President Trump’s directive that prohibited transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, a significant setback to the White House.
-- A storm brought torrential rain and powerful wind gusts to large swaths of the Northeast, knocking out power to more than 1 million homes and prompting officials to close schools and roads.
-- The Israeli military blew up a tunnel from Gaza, killing eight militants, including an Islamic Jihad commander.
-- The Catalonia crisis is encouraging separatists elsewhere. Could it fracture Europe?
-- Paris’ falafel war is pitting neighbor against neighbor in the city’s changing Jewish quarter.
-- Trump is said to be leaning toward picking Federal Reserve official Jerome H. Powell, a Republican lawyer and former investment banker, to replace Janet L. Yellen as head of the central bank.
-- Savvy timing: A 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase in California will start Wednesday, the same day that gas stations’ switch to winter blends usually lowers prices by the same amount.
-- Open enrollment begins for Obamacare marketplaces this week amid widespread confusion and concerns that the Trump administration is trying to sabotage enrollment.
-- Rookie Lonzo Ball has no problem taking the blame for the Lakers’ early failures.
-- Columnist Sam Farmer says it’s time for the NFL division leaders to prove their worth.
-- Despite what you may have read on Trump’s Twitter feed, Manafort’s indictment is a big deal.
-- The scariest thing on this Halloween is the demise of fact-based reality: See the David Horsey cartoon.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- If there were more female world leaders, would there be less war? (Aeon)
-- The story behind the man at the World Series who ripped a home run ball away from a female Houston Astros fan and threw it back. (Houston Chronicle)
-- Ever dreamed of William Shatner stabbing you with a fireplace poker? Readers share their worst nightmares on this Halloween. (Atlas Obscura)
ONLY IN L.A.
Ontario California International Airport has unveiled a highflying ad campaign on the bottom of the plastic trays used at its TSA checkpoints. “CANNABIS IS LEGAL,” it reads, with the fine print: “Traveling with it is not. Leave it in California.” What’s going on here? Columnist Robin Abcarian smoked out the plot of how the ads got there.