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Today: Six Things to Know About That Secret Memo

Today: Six Things to Know About That Secret Memo
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare). (Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

As prosecutors seek an interview with President Trump, his Republican allies in Congress are trying to raise doubts about the inquiry.

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6 Things to Know About That Secret Memo

Rep. Devin Nunes’ secret memo. The text messages between FBI officials. The pressure on FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who stepped down from the job Monday. The “deep state” conspiracies discussed on Fox News. As the Russia investigation heats up, President Trump’s supporters have increasingly tried to raise public doubts. The latest step came Monday night, when Republicans voted to release a memo they insist shows improper surveillance of Trump’s campaign — and refused to authorize Democrats to release their own memo countering it. The White House could block the Nunes memo’s release, but Trump has already indicated his interest in making it public. Here are six things you need to know about it.

More Politics

-- In his first State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress and a national television audience tonight, Trump will try to bring his pitchman’s A-game.

-- Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer plans to start airing new ads for his Trump impeachment effort around the State of the Union speech.

-- U.S. regulators and the wireless industry are pushing back against a plan under discussion by the Trump administration to build a secure 5G networkpossibly with government control.

A Familiar Cycle of Violence in Afghanistan

Within 10 days, the terrorist attacks in Kabul have come one after the other: three major incidents, killing at least 136 people, even though the U.S. is sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan. The violence is following a familiar pattern, one seen in 2009 when the Taliban challenged President Obama’s resolve. This time, militants may be trying to send a message to Trump.

Is It January or July?

Sweater weather is gone in Southern California. In its place: record high temperatures, a small brush fire in Malibu (it was quickly extinguished), and no sign of rain anytime soon. Northern California has fared better than L.A., but the Sierra Nevada snowpack up north is only 30% of normal for this time of year. If things stay this way, some are bringing up the specter of the drought’s return.

Los Angeles County Firefighter Jake Whiteaker douses hot spots on a scorched hillside in Malibu.
Los Angeles County Firefighter Jake Whiteaker douses hot spots on a scorched hillside in Malibu. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Ratings Game Within the Game

The Super Bowl is the biggest thing going on TV, but in recent years, it’s gotten a little less big. This Sunday, the game will face its toughest test yet. Viewership of NFL games during the regular season dropped 10% amid fan anger over player protests during the national anthem, concerns about the effects of concussions, and our society’s ever-shortening attention span. That didn’t stop advertisers from spending big bucks on Super Bowl ads, but if the ratings drop more than 5% or so, it could mark a turning point.

The Blake Show Moves On

Over the summer, the Clippers gave injury-plagued power forward Blake Griffin a five-year, $171-million contract extension. Now, the face of the franchise is heading to Detroit. In exchange, the team gets three players, a pair of draft picks and some financial flexibility. Why the change of heart? “His dunks were breathtaking, but so were his debacles,” writes columnist Bill Plaschke. In short, the team decided, “he could never be The Guy.”

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MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- One block, 31 tents: L.A.’s homeless situation is no better after years of promises.

-- The songwriting and producing collective the Stereotypes on their creative process.

CALIFORNIA

-- Two administrators at the Los Angeles Unified School District have resigned amid allegations that they tolerated a climate of sexual harassment in the procurement division.

-- A woman who was pulled from a Metro subway train after she refused a policeman’s order to take her foot off a seat has filed a claim against the city of L.A., claiming she suffered an injury.

-- Pico Rivera Councilman and high school teacher Gregory Salcido is under investigation by the school board after the release of recordings in which he disparaged members of the military.

-- A blue moon, blood moon, supermoon and a full lunar eclipse will occur early Wednesday. If you’re feeling ambitious, Griffith Observatory will host a wee-hours watch party.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- #GrammysSoMale: The Grammys are being criticized for giving only a dozen or so awards to women or female-led acts out of 84 categories. Ratings for the show plummeted 27%, to 19.8 million viewers.

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-- The five-part docuseries “Citizen Rose,” premiering tonight, focuses on the plight and message of actress-turned-activist Rose McGowan.

-- A dramatic reading of the “All the President’s Men” screenplay at Los Angeles City Hall provided a timely commentary on attacks on the media today, writes theater critic Charles McNulty.

-- The Cleveland Indians are getting rid of the Chief Wahoo logo next year. An exhibition in Washington shows how American Indian images became potent, cartoonish advertising symbols.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

As the drummer in Genesis and the solo singer of hits such as “In the Air Tonight” and “Sussudio,” Phil Collins became a symbol of ’80s soft rock, for better and worse. Collins, who turns 67 today, told The Times in 2016 that learning the rapper Ice-T owned several of his albums was a revelation. “At that point, I thought, wow, considering I did become a whipping boy for the ’80s and ’90s — slightly more so in Europe — this was to me vindication that what I was doing actually was OK.”

NATION-WORLD

-- The Supreme Court signaled it may be open to blocking a state ruling on partisan gerrymandering at the behest of Pennsylvania’s Republican leaders.

-- In Mexico, a 17-year-old boy was detained by police and then vanished for five days. On Sunday, he was found, dazed and limping, miles away. His case has sparked a movement.

-- A woman who was arrested for protesting Iran’s mandatory headscarf law has reportedly been released, and copycat demonstrators are popping up across Tehran.

-- Human rights groups say Turkey is verging on a constitutional crisis because lower courts refuse to comply with a ruling by the country’s top court ordering the release of jailed journalists.

-- New research shows a fitful night’s sleep and a habit of daytime catnapping may be an early-warning sign of Alzheimer’s dementia.

BUSINESS

-- Let the lawsuits begin: California’s mudslide victims are being encouraged to argue that the damage to their homes was the result of wildfires, since most insurance policies cover fires but not floods.

-- Jim Kirk, the Los Angeles Times' newly installed editor in chief, sought to soothe a newsroom roiled by months of turmoil.

SPORTS

-- Congress followed up on the sex abuse scandal involving sports doctor Larry Nassar by passing legislation that requires governing bodies for amateur athletics to promptly report abuse claims to law enforcement.

-- Before his jet-set life, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady often spent summers at a family farm in Minnesota, where he'd milk cows, play ball and fish.

OPINION

-- California’s bullet train is running off track. A state audit could keep it from derailing.

-- Fifty years ago, the Tet Offensive showed U.S. adversaries that attacking American will is a winning move. Army Maj. ML Cavanaugh offers a strategy for moving forward.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- The Trump administration said it would not immediately impose additional sanctions on Russia, despite a new law designed to punish Moscow’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. (Reuters)

-- “The Untold Story of the Pentagon Papers Co-Conspirators.” (The New Yorker)

-- Tom Hanks is set to play Mr. Rogers on film. Here’s the classic 1998 profile that the movie will be loosely based on. (Esquire)

ONLY IN L.A.

Since opening in June 1923, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum has hosted two Olympics (with a third on the way), two Super Bowls (including the first), a World Series, a 50-car jump by Evel Knievel, a papal Mass and visits by three presidents. But it’s never had a corporate sponsor, until now — and quite a number of people aren’t happy about that.

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