Newsletter: Today: A Historic Fight Over ‘the Memo’
A classified four-page memo leads to a public split between the FBI and the White House — and that’s not all.
A Historic Fight Over ‘the Memo’
The FBI says it has “grave concerns” about the document’s accuracy. Rep. Adam B. Schiff claims Rep. Devin Nunes “secretly altered” it before sending it to the White House for review, while a Nunes spokesman claims they were “minor edits.” The fight over a memo about secret surveillance during the 2016 presidential campaign has grown all the more intense, while historians have scrambled to find a previous example of the FBI and a White House feuding so openly. The dispute is likely to fray President Trump’s relationship with FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, whom he appointed last year.
About That ‘Fair Compromise’
In his State of the Union address, Trump called it a “fair compromise”: a 12-year path to citizenship for 1.8 million “Dreamers,” along with billions of dollars for “a great wall on the southern border,” other border security measures and far-reaching limits on legal immigration. Democrats’ response: No thanks, especially after much of the speech focused on what Trump characterized as the dangers of immigration. Meaning, once again, the prospects of a Dreamer deal appear to have dimmed.
-- Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has resigned after reports that she traded in tobacco stocks.
-- The Justice Department has dropped all charges against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, in a decision that casts new doubt on the ability of prosecutors to win bribery cases.
-- Trump’s order to keep Guantanamo Bay open may be largely symbolic, but it renews the debate over the military prison.
San Francisco Legalizes It … Back to 1975
Under California’s new marijuana laws, it’s possible for those convicted of possession crimes in the past to have their records cleared by petitioning a court. Prosecutors in San Francisco are taking that a step further. Rather than requiring people to petition, they’ll retroactively apply the new laws to thousands of convictions stretching back to 1975. The idea is to remove barriers to employment and housing for those affected. Will other counties follow suit?
L.A.’s Long, Sad History With Homelessness
Homelessness in most of L.A. County has grown 75% in the last six years, but the crisis has been decades in the making. The latest installment in our “Without a Home” series looks at the history of efforts to “contain” homelessness to downtown L.A.’s skid row and how it spiraled from there. The story includes this stunning line: “If you took out Los Angeles, national homelessness would have dropped last year for the first time since the recession.”
Crazy Like a Fox?
Twenty-five years ago, the NFL helped make Fox a force in television. Now, it may help remake Rupert Murdoch’s media company. Fox will spend $3.3 billion for five years of “Thursday Night Football.” Why would it pay such a huge premium when NFL ratings have been in decline? It fits into a bold plan to create a smaller, scrappier operation at Fox while selling off many of its assets to Disney.
-- Did sheriff’s deputies dump a homeless man in San Pedro? This video prompted an L.A. City councilman to demand an investigation.
-- Now that California has legalized recreational marijuana, seed-to-sale tracking will become a vital component of regulating the industry.
-- White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly said a Pico Rivera teacher and councilman who disparaged members of the military “ought to go to hell.”
-- A man who once advised former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of four alleged “johns” arrested by police as part of a statewide human trafficking crackdown.
-- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Rich Llewellyn, who has served as an aide to both Garcetti and his father, to one of the most powerful positions at City Hall.
-- The moon put on a rare cosmic show. Check out these photos from around Southern California.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Late-night TV’s rapid-response strategy to Trump’s State of the Union speech became a cultural event in and of itself.
-- Scott Baio again denied allegations by his former “Charles in Charge” costar Nicole Eggert that he sexually abused her as a minor.
-- Elton John and the Grammy Awards producers kept the magic going long after the show ended by filming a tribute that will air later this year.
-- Did you see a woman singing while floating on a raft on Echo Park Lake while a Oaxacan brass band played on the shore? Here’s why.
“I have so many projects coming up, I haven’t time to think about kicking the bucket,” Buster Keaton said in 1965. “People are always telling me I’m immortal, and I just might prove them right!” But sadly, the comedian known as the Great Stone Face of silent-film fame died on this date in 1966 at the age of 70.
-- An Arizona man who sold hundreds of rounds of ammunition to Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock says he had no idea Paddock might be planning a mass shooting.
-- Could nuclear power make a comeback? An Oregon technology company is at the head of the pack of several startup companies designing the next generation of smaller reactors.
-- A high-profile Muslim academic has been taken into custody by French police investigating allegations of rape and sexual assault.
-- Germany’s first prominent #MeToo case involving claims of long-covered-up sexual abuse has come to light, involving one of the country’s most prolific film directors and screenwriters.
-- A new study reveals how many pounds you can lose in a year by standing for six hours a day instead of sitting.
-- Santa Barbara tourism officials are wrestling with how to promote the area after disaster. The first step will be to focus on day visitors from Los Angeles and Orange counties.
-- Mattel’s woes are expected to deepen when the toy maker reports its fourth-quarter 2017 results today, and the Toys R Us plan to close 182 stores won’t help.
-- French authorities called off a two-day search and rescue operation for the chief executive of the surfwear company Quiksilver after his motorboat washed up empty on a beach.
-- The Lakers lost to the Orlando Magic by a score of 127-105, but it was Brook Lopez who looked as if he hit the breaking point.
-- Where will the rematch between boxers Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin be held? It’s a bout between T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and Madison Square Garden in New York.
-- Democrats probably can’t trust Trump’s calls for bipartisanship, but they can try to force his hand.
-- Charlie Beck’s replacement as LAPD chief should let cops be cops, rather than making officers provide social services for the homeless.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Facebook prominently surfaced several conspiracy theories about a train crash involving congressional Republicans, alleging a “false flag” attack or one by Hillary Clinton. (Daily Beast)
-- Is Los Angeles really lacking “strong institutions to bind it together”? (New York Times)
-- It’s been nine decades since talkies came along, but silent-film music is alive and well. (Atlas Obscura)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
Thousands of fans of Midcentury Modern architecture will flock to Palm Springs later this month for the annual Modernism Week, but the California desert has long attracted dreamers of all stripes. Witness the rainbow-colored man-made Salvation Mountain; the Integratron, where you can get a sound bath; the concrete dinosaurs of Cabazon; and the Shields Date Garden, which offers a slide show on the “romance and sex life of the date.”