Newsletter: Today: Trump Lashes Out at Mueller, McCabe and Comey
As President Trump denounces the special counsel’s investigation and former FBI officials, some Republicans are urging him to simmer down, but most have remained quiet.
Trump Lashes Out at Mueller, McCabe and Comey
President Trump has long cried “witch hunt!” in the investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, but on Sunday he stepped up his attacks against Robert S. Mueller III, mentioning the special counsel by name and describing his team as “hardened Democrats.” Is it a signal he may fire Mueller? Trump lawyer Ty Cobb issued a statement denying that, but Trump’s tweets prompted even some of the president’s Republican allies to warn him against such a move. Most in the GOP remained silent, just as they did after Trump cheered the firing of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Friday night, questioned reports that McCabe made contemporaneous notes about his encounters with the president, and took more swipes at former FBI Director James B. Comey.
-- Trump plans to push ahead with a call for the death penalty for some drug dealers as part of a larger initiative to fight opioid abuse, a White House official says. The president is expected to unveil some details today in New Hampshire, which has been hit hard by the opioid crisis (and is a key campaign state).
-- Antonio Villaraigosa has staked his candidacy for California governor on his roots, positioning himself as a voice for low-income families and people of color. His rivals say he has benefited from the largesse of companies and industries that prey upon some of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
-- Five things to know about the House races in California that might set up Democrats to reclaim control.
Like It or Not, They Know a Lot About You
Think about the last thing you liked, shared or commented upon on Facebook. Then think about how an advertiser, political organization or someone else could use that information. All that data is now at the center of a dispute involving one of Trump’s campaign consultants, Cambridge Analytica. Former employees are accusing the firm, owned by conservative billionaire Robert Mercer and previously headed by former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, of using ill-gotten data for millions of Facebook users.
Some in Oakland Wonder: Did the Mayor Have to Go There?
Is Libby Schaaf a left-wing heroine and face of the so-called resistance, or a law-breaking embodiment of Left Coast lunacy? “I would describe myself as a mayor,” says Schaaf, who drew condemnation from Trump and U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions for warning the residents of Oakland about an immigration sweep. But even some of those who oppose Trump’s immigration policies have criticized her, fearing that retribution is nigh.
Northern California’s Own Private Idaho
Their flag is green, with a pair of Xs called a “double-cross.” Their long-held dream is to become the state of Jefferson. But first, the residents of a sparsely populated region made up of 21 northern counties would need to break away from California — and as the decades have shown, turning this idea into reality isn’t easy. So who are they? “We’re not a bunch of dumb rednecks,” says one. The demographics show this would-be 51st state looks a lot like Idaho.
India Aims to Be a Solar Power
India has long been regarded as a laggard in the fight against climate change, but there are signs the tide may be turning. Though more than half its energy still comes from coal, the country is making a push to build more than a dozen massive solar power stations, including what would be the world’s biggest. So while Trump proclaims he’s pulling the U.S out of the Paris climate accord and is trying to revive “beautiful coal,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been touting solar energy at home and abroad. Yet a number of obstacles stand in the way.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- Out of control: Over 17 years, street racing in Los Angeles has killed at least 179 people.
-- The more than 60 deaths in fires and floods last year have exposed weaknesses in California’s emergency planning.
-- The other opioid crisis: Hospitals are running short of powerful painkillers.
-- In colonial San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, “Ramon and Esteban” weren’t the low-key photographers and real estate speculators they seemed to be. Here’s why they were arrested in Paris.
-- At the finish line: L.A. Marathon participants tell us why they ran.
-- Film critic Justin Chang says Alicia Vikander makes a persuasive Lara Croft in the new-and-somewhat-improved “Tomb Raider.”
-- The city of L.A. is cracking down on overnight RV parking after complaints of filth and blight. Now, the homeless are scrambling.
-- If L.A. County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey won’t charge the LAPD officer who shot Brendon Glenn after his own police chief called for his prosecution, some ask: When would she prosecute?
-- Watch out: The state’s free-for-all primary election rules could surprise everyone this year, yet again.
-- The perils and pleasures of edible cannabis: Columnist Robin Abcarian says the curious need to be very careful, as her neighbor found out.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Nick Robinson has been in big films before, but now he’s stepped into the spotlight as a teen coming out in “Love, Simon.”
-- You know the type: the long-suffering wife, a.k.a. the wife on the phone. It’s one of the many stereotyped women’s roles in the movies.
-- What to make of Taylor Mac’s 24-hour live show “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music”? The first chapter proved to be brash, profane, funny, infuriating and high flying.
“Do you expect me to talk?” Sean Connery as James Bond asks while lying on a table as a laser beam moves toward his crotch in the film “Goldfinger.” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die,” the archvillain replies. Three years ago, production designer Ken Adam revealed how that and other scenes were filmed. Connery’s first day of shooting on the film was on this date in 1964.
-- At least two people were injured in another explosion in Austin, Texas, on Sunday night. It comes after three package bombs detonated earlier this month in other parts of the city.
-- Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arrives today in Washington on a cross-country trip to court government officials, Silicon Valley techies, big-buck investors and one of his biggest fans: Trump.
-- Turkey says its military and Syrian allies have taken control of Afrin, Syria, routing a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia after a nearly two-month offensive.
-- “We are destined to be successful”: Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his (surprise! OK, not really) overwhelming election victory with a short speech.
-- Stung by accusations of “fake news,” the Vatican has released the complete letter by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis after it was criticized for selectively citing the letter and blurring a photo of it.
-- Airlines are proposing a long list of government rules to kill or revise as part of a Trump deregulation initiative, including one giving passengers the option of getting off a flight that is delayed too long.
-- Beyond the 401(k): Here are some tips for getting more retirement money into accounts with tax advantages.
-- His comeback from injury complete, Juan Martin del Potro defeated Roger Federer for the Indian Wells tennis title.
-- The Maryland Baltimore County Retrievers, who became a sensation by pulling off a stunning upset in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, fell to Kansas State, but there are plenty of other underdogs to cheer for.
-- L.A. doesn’t need an elected public defender. It does need the office to be audited, examined, shaken up and set right.
-- Making Los Angeles completely water self-sufficient won’t be easy or cheap. But it can be done.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- “It was hell on Earth for a long time while we were there, but I’d do it again”: Fifteen years after the start of the Iraq war, some veterans reflect on their service. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
-- “I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare … tool”: a profile of Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower in the Cambridge Analytica dust-up. (The Guardian)
-- Greeting card sentiments: “utterly empty yet full of meaning.” (Aeon)
ONLY IN L.A.
At the Los Angeles Marathon, Kenya’s Weldon Kirui won the men’s race and Ethiopia’s Sule Utura Gedo won the women’s division, but for some participants, it was less about speed and more about style. Such as this firefighter running in full gear, this person in an inflatable T. rex costume, and this tuba player who planned to stop every three miles for a tune.