Newsletter: Today: Fact-Checking Trump’s State of the Union

President Trump called for unity in his first State of the Union speech, adopting a tone far different from the one he’s relied on for most of his term so far.


Fact-Checking Trump’s State of the Union

“Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people.” That’s the sentiment President Trump expressed near the start of his 80-minute, roughly 5,200-word State of the Union address, the longest one in 18 years. By the end, he had touched on illegal immigration, the economy, a new infrastructure initiative, North Korea and a host of tragedies. Not all of it was accurate, as our fact checkers show, including a statement about the diversity visa lottery. So what will the overall takeaway of the night be? As Cathleen Decker writes in her analysis, Trump has called for unity before, only to resume his combative style. And “the night begged a question: Even if he wanted to, is it too late for Trump to broaden support beyond his base, to be a more engaged and inclusive president?” Read the full speech here or watch this seven-minute recap.


President Trump claps during the State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
(Win McNamee / Getty Images )

An Embrace Now, the Kiss of Death Later?

It’s an age-old question for politicians: Will what’s said in the primary come back to haunt you in the general election? This year, the hot-button issue is Trump. Look no further than Arizona, where one of the leading Republican candidates in the U.S. Senate race has gone from expressing distaste for Trump to embracing him, as she runs against two die-hard Trump loyalists. Come November, Democrats are hoping that the president’s unpopularity with voters overall will help them flip that Senate seat.

More Politics


-- House Speaker Paul D. Ryan defended special counsel Robert S. Mueller III even as he supported the release of a Republican memo about classified surveillance that could undermine the Russia investigation.

-- Senate Democrats expressed outrage at reports that the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service visited Washington recently despite being on a U.S. government blacklist.

-- Porn actress Stormy Daniels stopped just short of saying on television Tuesday night that she had sex with Trump in the early days of his marriage to Melania Trump.

This Execution Plan May Be Doomed From the Start

California has not executed a prisoner in more than a decade. This week, the state moved a step closer to resuming lethal injections, but there are still some big obstacles remaining. One of them: The drugs that could be used under the state’s revised method of execution are said to be extremely difficult to obtain.

A Costly Second Chance

Ron Beilke worked for seven days at the Central Basin Municipal Water District. The price tag: nearly $1.5 million in settlement costs, workers’ compensation and legal fees. Since then, some have questioned why the former Pico Rivera mayor, who had been convicted of political misconduct, got the job in the first place. He’s just one of several officials in southeast L.A. County who have been caught up in scandal yet get a second chance in government.

Alexa, Show Me My EOB Form


Can a corporate dream team revamp the healthcare industry? Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase say they are combining forces to find ways to provide their nearly 1 million employees with “simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.” Though whatever the trio is working on appears to be a ways down the road, the announcement sent healthcare-related stocks tumbling on speculation that it could be a game-changer.


-- Blast from the past: With Explorer 1, the U.S. entered the space race 60 years ago.

-- Ever seen a gingerbread pinecone dessert being made? Take a look inside Dominique Ansel’s new L.A. bakery.


-- A helicopter crashed into a Newport Beach home, killing three people and injuring two others.

-- A statewide human trafficking sting has resulted in the rescue of 56 people, including 11 girls, and the arrests of more than 500, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell says.

-- Authorities say a traffic stop on what appeared to be a brown UPS truck revealed 77 immigrants stuffed shoulder-to-shoulder inside its hot cargo area.


-- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is choosing between two close aides to oversee the city’s budget and negotiate employment contracts. Some question how extensive the search was.


-- Ousted PBS host Tavis Smiley is taking the issue of sexual misconduct on the road with a five-city tour of town halls called “The Conversation: Women, Men and the Workplace.”

-- Facing a growing backlash, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow regrets saying women in music should “step up” when he was asked about the dearth of female Grammy winners.

-- In the writers’ room of Netflix’s “One Day at a Time,” the scribes walked us through the creation of a pivotal episode.

-- Warrior, scientist, superspy, queen: How “Black Panther” brings strong, complex women to the Marvel universe.


When Samuel Goldwyn died on this date in 1974, he was the last survivor of a triumvirate that helped make L.A. the world’s film capital. Like many of those who founded Hollywood, Goldwyn was an unschooled immigrant who went from mundane work to creating a world of glamour.


-- Hawaii’s state emergency manager has resigned after officials said a recent false missile alarm was triggered by an employee who thought the state was really under attack.

-- Authorities were looking into an additional “person of interest” after the Las Vegas mass shooting, according to unsealed search warrants: an Arizona ammunition dealer.

-- Four months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is still struggling with a lack of electricity, food and water.

-- Russian President Vladimir Putin says a Trump administration list targeting Russia’s elite is an “unfriendly act.”

-- Brain scans have revealed that friends really are on the same wavelength.


-- California’s treasurer and attorney general will study whether the state should create its own publicly owned bank to serve the state’s now-legal cannabis industry.

-- Columnist Michael Hiltzik says Home Depot‘s bonuses underscore what workers get out of the corporate tax cut: peanuts.


-- The governor of Texas has ordered an investigation into whether disgraced doctor Larry Nassar might have committed some of his crimes at the famed Karolyi Ranch gymnastics training center.

-- Lakers center Brook Lopez opened up about his love of all things Disney and how he has a house on a Walt Disney World Resort property.


-- By vowing to “release the memo,” House Republicans are shamefully doing Trump’s dirty work.

-- We’ve weaponized immigration rhetoric, from chain migration to “Dreamers.”


-- Victor Cha, who had been under consideration to be Trump’s pick for ambassador to South Korea, writes that the answer to the North Korean problem is not a preventive military strike as some officials have suggested. (Washington Post)

-- Why Mueller will not indict Trump, and why Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein is the key player. (The Atlantic)

-- A freedom of information request leads to the revelation that a government official picked the name Ferry McFerryface for a ferry in Australia, even though he said the public had voted on it. (9News)


Sylvester Stallone, whose character in “Rocky” embodies the city of Philadelphia, won’t be going to the Super Bowl to watch the Eagles play the New England Patriots. He doesn’t want to jinx them, so instead he’ll be watching at his Beverly Hills home. But Stallone’s brother-in-law will see the game in person. After all, he’s L.A.-based sports surgeon Neal ElAttrache, who is among Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s closest friends.

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