More developments in the Russia investigation, as President Trump unleashes another tweet storm.
Another Former Trump Aide Will Plead Guilty
Donald Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Richard Gates will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against onetime campaign manager Paul Manafort. Gates’ testimony would place a “cherry on top” of the case against Manafort if it goes to trial, a person familiar with the pending guilty plea said. The same person said he did not believe Gates has information to offer special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team that would “turn the screws on Trump.”
The President Has Russia on His Mind
Further developments in Mueller’s investigation, including the indictment of Russians for 2016 election meddling, are complicating President Trump’s efforts to spin the Russia debate. In 15 tweets over 19 hours this weekend, the president claimed, “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” blamed President Obama for doing “nothing” against it and took a swipe at his own national security advisor, H.R. McMaster. He also tried to conflate the Mueller probe with the FBI’s failure to act on warnings about the Florida school gunman: “They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign — there is no collusion.”
Parkland Students ‘Call BS’
That Trump tweet about the FBI, along with his tweet asking “why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation” during their brief control of the House and Senate during the Obama administration, drew the anger of a group of students who escaped the deadly Florida school shooting. “You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said one. The students are vowing to fight for tighter gun control laws and are calling for anti-gun-violence demonstrations on March 24. “They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun,” said another student, speaking at a rally in Florida. “We call BS.” The White House says the president will hold a “listening session” with unspecified students on Wednesday.
When Seeing Is Believing
As the Marvel superhero movie “Black Panther” opened last week, it was heralded as a cultural milestone with its nearly all-black cast and contingent of strong women. Now it’s a box-office hit, with projections showing it could end up among the top five opening weekends of all time. Enthusiastic moviegoers, some clad in dashikis, are hoping this will put to rest Hollywood’s long-standing belief that black-led movies don’t make big money. Still, some Twitter trolls have tried to stoke racial tensions by posting false claims that white people have been attacked by black people at screenings.
When Seeing Is Not Believing
Speaking of fake social media posts…. Imagine watching yourself online saying or doing things you’d never say. For some celebrities, that’s already a reality in the world of “deep fake” porn. Soon, technology will allow virtually anyone to take one photo of a person and generate lifelike video from it. Some start-up companies believe that, with enough time, separating video reality fact from fiction will be nearly impossible — unless artificial intelligence is used to unravel it.
A Sister’s Determination Lifts Her Brother’s Olympic Spirit
Nearly three years ago, Christy Wise, a veteran Air Force captain, lost much of her right leg because of a paddleboarding accident. Her brother, David, a gold medal-winning halfpipe skier, would learn from her example, as she not only went through a grueling rehabilitation but also started a foundation with her sister, Jessica, to help amputees in Haiti buy or repair prosthetic limbs. As David competes in the Pyeongchang Olympics, his family is cheering him on.
More From the Olympics
-- A post-Olympic letdown four years ago nearly drove Nick Goepper to take his own life. After a silver at Pyeongchang, he believes he is ready to deal with what comes next.
-- The U.S. women's hockey team defeated Finland to advance to the gold medal game.
-- Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are leading in ice dancing, but Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are within striking distance, despite a wardrobe malfunction.
-- A look at the border separating North and South Korea, inside the broader buffer area known as the demilitarized zone.
-- Roy Choi’s mom, “Mommy Choi,” teaches us how to make tteokbokki (spicy Korean rice cakes).
-- The state is bracing for below-freezing temperatures, wind and some light snow this Presidents Day after several weeks of unseasonably warm weather.
-- The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to declare the city a recreational marijuana sanctuary, a move that may be the first of its kind.
-- Northern California wildfire victims are learning the hard way that “your insurance company is not your friend.”
-- Seventy-six years ago today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. USC is holding its first history course on the incarceration of about 120,000 people of Japanese descent.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Weinstein Co. President David Glasser was seen as the “third brother” to Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Now that he’s been fired, will the company be able to move on?
-- Across the pond, the British Academy Film Awards showed solidarity with the Time’s Up movement, and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" took the top prize.
-- Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and the sci-fi sisterhood behind the film “Annihilation.”
-- Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen is back at Walt Disney Concert Hall for concerts. Cue the fog machine and mermaids.
Berry Gordy founded Motown, but its “King” is Smokey Robinson. He was the Motor City record label’s vice president, chief songwriter and the frontman of the Miracles. In his autobiography, Gordy wrote of Robinson: “He reminded me of me — so excited and passionate about his music.” Today, Robinson turns 78.
-- Shhh! The back story of EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s highly secret, on-and-off, official non-visit to Israel.
-- The Trump administration is once again calling for the complete elimination of a heating assistance program that helps keep the homes of low-income families warm.
-- Officials say an Iranian passenger plane crashed in the mountains of southern Iran, killing all 65 people on board.
-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in deeper peril as more officials are arrested on corruption charges.
-- Russia’s shadowy world of military contractors: Are they independent mercenaries or working for the Kremlin?
-- What is the VIX? Here’s a primer on Wall Street’s “fear gauge.”
-- A crash-filled thriller at the Daytona 500 was a blast from NASCAR’s past and, some might say, a victory for its future.
-- Laura Ingraham said LeBron James should “Shut up and dribble.” The Cavaliers star, who was in L.A. for the NBA All-Star Game, isn’t having it.
-- Don’t blame the 2nd Amendment for the lax gun control laws in the U.S. Blame our politics.
-- When you hear someone criticize “political correctness,” try this: Substitute the word “conscience.”
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- “Donald Trump, a Playboy model, and a system for concealing infidelity.” (The New Yorker)
-- In honor of Presidents Day, here’s how some chief executives spent their birthdays, including a toga party. (Washington Post)
-- Inside the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where words celebrate rural life. (Pacific Standard)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
Jim Bridwell was a hard-partying hippie who scaled some of the toughest peaks in Yosemite National Park as part of an outlaw group of climbers. He also helped establish the first formal Yosemite search-and-rescue team and invented climbing gear. Last week, at age 73, he died of liver and kidney failure from hepatitis C that he may have contracted in the 1980s when he got a tattoo from a headhunting tribe in Borneo, his wife said.