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Newsletter: Today: The Deputy and the Drug Case

An L.A. County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with operating a large-scale drug trafficking operation in which he said that he had other law enforcement officers on his payroll, federal authorities allege.
An L.A. County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with operating a large-scale drug trafficking operation in which he said that he had other law enforcement officers on his payroll, federal authorities allege.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

An L.A. County sheriff’s deputy is accused of using his position to provide safe travels for narcotics.

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The Deputy and the Drug Case

“I make a lot of things go away.” Court records show Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Collins was recorded saying that and more to an undercover FBI agent. Now, Collins has been charged with operating a drug trafficking scheme, in which he boasted that he hired other law enforcement officers to provide security to dealers and could assault people for his clients. FBI agents arrested him and three other men in a sting on Tuesday. The investigation is continuing, though a U.S. attorney’s office spokesman says no other officers have been implicated so far.

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Bannon Builds That Stonewall

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian election interference hasn’t exactly been a model of bipartisanship, but Republicans and Democrats agree that they want answers from President Trump’s former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon. They didn’t get them Tuesday, despite 10 hours behind closed doors and a subpoena. Committee members say the White House directed Bannon to avoid answering questions, setting up a clash that could change the course of Congress’ investigations. Meanwhile, Bannon was reportedly subpoenaed to appear before the criminal grand jury working with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Trump’s Tango With the GOP Establishment

For all of Trump’s campaign bluster of “draining the swamp” and declaring himself free of the “shackles” of the Republican Party, the president has come to depend a lot on the GOP establishment during his first year in office. “The three areas where success has been achieved — on judicial nominations, on regulations and on tax policy — he’s right in the center of mainstream Republican politics, isn’t he?” said Tennessee GOP Sen. Bob Corker, who has been one of Trump’s fiercest critics. Here’s a closer look at how Trump has left much of his agenda to Congress, with a few notable exceptions.

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More Politics

-- The Trump administration says it will ask the Supreme Court to decide the fate of so-called Dreamers, but leave the immigration program in place until then.

-- “He’s fit for duty”: The White House physician says Trump could lose some weight, but he registered a perfect score on a cognitive screening test taken at the president’s request. Wondering what that test is? Take a look.

A section of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment that President Trump took.
(File )
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A House of Horrors in Plain Sight

The allegations that two parents held their 13 children as captives, with some shackled to their beds in their Perris house, have drawn worldwide attention. Those closest by — the neighbors — say they noticed some strange things, but “there was never anything to say, ‘Oh, my God. I should call somebody,’ ” as one man across the street from the Turpin home put it. Now, Riverside County adult and child protective service workers and medical professionals are assessing the siblings’ condition.

Aziz Ansari: Perpetrator or Victim?

“Why men get consent wrong.” “Guilty. Of not being a mind reader.” “A gift to anyone who wants to derail #MeToo.” The story on the website Babe about an anonymous woman’s date with comedian Aziz Ansari accusing him of unwanted sexual aggression has set off a fierce debate. As columnist Robin Abcarian writes, “A single complaint by a nameless accuser has tarnished the reputation of a man who should probably do a better job communicating with his sex partner. I’m frankly not sure that a public shaming is the best way to drive that lesson home.”

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Train Costs Rising With a Bullet

A consultant calls it the “worst-case scenario”: Building 119 miles of bullet train track in California’s Central Valley is now expected to cost $10.6 billion. For those keeping score, that’s $2.8 billion above its current budget, and much higher if you consider it was originally supposed to be about $6 billion. Though it’s been a favorite project of Gov. Jerry Brown, his successor is the one most likely to deal with the new reality. So far, the leading candidates have been quiet on the topic.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Why earthquakes can’t be predicted.

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-- Billionaire Thomas Tull and his wife, Alba, have listed their 33-plus-acre compound in Thousand Oaks for sale at $85 million.

CALIFORNIA

-- In Montecito, rain expected later this week could hamper efforts to remove tons of debris and mud and to reopen the 101 Freeway after last week’s deadly slides.

-- The parents of slain college student Blaze Bernstein say their son may have been the victim of a hate crime after new details emerged about his killing.

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-- Antonio Sabato Jr., the soap opera star and underwear model who’s a Trump supporter, is coming under fire from some conservatives over his past risqué film roles as he runs for Congress.

-- Maywood officials celebrated the opening of a recreational pot shop in the city as visions of tax dollars danced in their heads.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- You never know with the Sundance Film Festival, but we might be talking about a couple of these movies at next year’s Oscars. Columnist Glenn Whipp has the scoop.

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-- When actors need a special skill for a film, such as figure skating or sewing a gown, they call in these pros.

-- What’s new on TV? First, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” on FX is a painful and pointed look back at the fashion designer’s killing.

-- And the new Comedy Central series “Corporate,” which revisits cubicle culture, is clever but might not make you laugh.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

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When Betty White began cohosting a live TV variety program in 1949, the medium was so new, she said, viewers could either watch the show or a test pattern. White, who turns 96 today, discussed some of the secrets to her longevity last year. Among them: “Don’t focus everything on you. That wears out pretty fast. It’s not hard to find things you’re interested in. Enjoy them. Indulge them.”

NATION-WORLD

-- During a meeting on North Korea in Vancouver, Canada, representatives from the United States’ old allies in the Korean War looked for new solutions to today’s problem.

-- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the U.S. “stabbed us in the back” by making plans with Kurdish fighters who are viewed as terrorists by the Turks.

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-- Though the assailant is dead, attorneys for the Las Vegas police say there still could be criminal charges filed in relation to the mass shooting at a concert on the Las Vegas Strip that killed 58 others.

-- The Deep South is in a deep freeze again, as another cold winter storm hits the region.

BUSINESS

-- The Weinstein Co. saga continues: Sources say the Qatar-owned film company Miramax, founded by the Weinstein brothers, is making an offer for the struggling film studio, throwing a wrench in plans to sell to another group of investors.

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-- Independent contract workers, such as Uber or Lyft drivers and TaskRabbit freelance laborers, may see their taxes fall under the new tax law passed by Republicans.

SPORTS

-- That incident between several Houston players and the Clippers? The NBA is looking into the locker room where it happened.

-- U.S. ski team members are banged up but on the mend as the Winter Games approach.

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OPINION

-- Twenty-two attorneys general are suing to stop the repeal of net neutrality rules, but it’s up to Congress to save the internet as we know it.

-- Should we set up New Deal-style work camps for the needy? Columnist Gustavo Arellano looks back to the 1930s for an idea for today’s homeless.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

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-- Sen. John McCain pens an op-ed: “Mr. President, stop attacking the press.” (Washington Post)

-- Blimps, chess and chocolate chip cookies: Immigrants to the U.S. tell their stories. (Epic Magazine)

-- Humanity’s fascination with ruins is, well, ancient. (BBC)

ONLY IN L.A.

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Don’t sing “Danny Boy” just yet. It seems reports of the demise of Tom Bergin’s Public House have been greatly exaggerated. Despite an Instagram post announcing the restaurant’s closure, the 82-year-old Irish pub on Fairfax isn’t shutting for good. Instead, the owner says it will reduce its hours and close its kitchen, meaning that Tom Bergin’s will be a liquor-only bar. And yes, it will be on open on St. Patrick’s Day.

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