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Today: Demand and Reply

Today: Demand and Reply
President Trump previously warned that he may try to exert more influence at the Justice Department, and he appeared ready to follow through on that threat this week. (Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

President Trump demands an investigation into the investigators, and the Department of Justice replies. Is an even bigger confrontation coming?

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Demand and Reply

After eight tweets Sunday slamming the Russia investigation and the FBI, President Trump used his ninth to “hereby demand … that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!” The Justice Department responded quickly, saying its inspector general would expand its review into whether there was any impropriety. Will that be enough to avert a bigger showdown? Trump supporters have been pushing for more information about a confidential intelligence source, while Trump critics are calling the president’s demand an abuse of power.

Hold That Trade War!

For the time being, it appears the Trump administration is backing away from big tariffs on Chinese goods. “We’re putting the trade war on hold,” is how Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin put it. In return, Beijing has promised to delay its counter-tariffs and increase purchases of American products — by how much, though, is a topic of debate. Experts doubt it would do much to make a meaningful dent in the trade deficit.

More Politics

-- The Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigration is already flooding the federal courts with scores of cases, especially in southern Texas.

-- Trump endorsed Republican John Cox for California governor. It could help Cox consolidate the GOP vote in the June primary and increase his chances to win a spot on the November ballot.

-- Rep. Tony Cárdenas of California is denying allegations in a lawsuit that he molested a teenager in 2007, and unlike with some other recent accusations concerning politicians, there’s been mostly silence.

Shooting’s Aftermath: Leave the Guns Out of It

It’s become an all-too-familiar scenario: A gunman at a school last week killed 10 people and wounded 13. A community began to bury the dead and search for answers about the motivation. Thoughts and prayers were offered. But this time, in the Texas town of Santa Fe, there was no outcry against firearms, unlike in Parkland, Fla. “It’s not the guns; it’s the people,” said one Santa Fe High junior.

An Art Scene and Its Struggle to Be Seen

Nigeria’s art traditions go back thousands of years, but for decades, contemporary artists there have felt more appreciated abroad than at home. Now, as the economy has grown in Nigeria, the demand for art is growing, along with the number of galleries and auction houses. More artists are making a living at home and taking on themes such as corruption, national politics and gender relations.

Visitors look at works on display at Art X Lagos, an international art fair that took over the Lagos Civic Center in November 2017.
Visitors look at works on display at Art X Lagos, an international art fair that took over the Lagos Civic Center in November 2017. (Siobhan O'Grady / For The Times)

OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

-- Scandals at USC have focused scrutiny on the university’s leadership and culture.

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-- Stalls, stops and breakdowns: L.A.’s push for electric buses has been beset by problems.

-- A royal wedding for the 21st century: Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle amid calls for social justice.

-- Are Dodgers fans ready to throw in the towel? Columnist Steve Lopez found many who still bleed Dodger blue.

-- In a rare interview, the pseudonymous Elena Ferrante describes the writing process behind the Neapolitan novels.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Six TV masters discuss the creative process of making a show — whether it’s being unafraid to push boundaries or knowing when it’s time to pull the plug.

-- “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” J.B. Smoove shares the secret ingredient in Larry David’s lemonade and much more.

CALIFORNIA

-- Backlash to the backlash: The state Senate and more than 20 cities and counties have come out in support of the state’s “sanctuary” law, which limits law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration agencies.

-- Officals say the nonprofit organization that operates L.A. County’s social services hotline inadvertently exposed personal information that was stored online.

-- The L.A. City Council approved a plan for putting a 1,153-room hotel complex across from the Convention Center with a big taxpayer subsidy. It would replace parking lots and a Hooters.

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-- Baxter Street in Echo Park, one of the steepest roads in Los Angeles, is about to get a makeover.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Did you see “Deadpool 2”? The film’s creative team discussed three of its biggest secrets and surprises. If you don’t want to read any spoilers, do yourself a favor and don’t click on this.

-- At the Cannes Film Festival, “Shoplifters” from Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or. Film critic Justin Chang says it’s a triumph no one saw coming.

-- That amazing cellist at the royal wedding? Sheku Kanneh-Mason was originally supposed to play with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in Glendale this weekend. Oh well.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Patricia Morison, who died Sunday at age 103, got her start in show business when she was cast in the 1933 Broadway comedy “Growing Pains.” “I was so bad in it, they fired me in rehearsals,” Morison once told The Times. “I cried so hard they gave me a walk-on.” She would go on to a career that lasted more than eight decades, punctuated by her role in the 1948 Broadway musical “Kiss Me, Kate.”

NATION-WORLD

-- Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has become more hazardous, sending rivers of molten rock pouring into the ocean and launching lava skyward. One man was injured when lava hit him in the leg.

-- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro won reelection in a vote marred by an opposition boycott and a victory that critics viewed as illegitimate.

-- Pope Francis has reportedly told a gay man that “God made you that way and loves you as you are,” apparently pushing the pontiff's acceptance of homosexuality to a new level.

-- Germany’s military is ailing, with broken fighter jets, grounded helicopters and idled tanks aplenty. Chancellor Angela Merkel would like to spend more, but for many Germans, it’s of little concern.

-- President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan is vowing to increase security as people on the island worry about the growing military and diplomatic strength of mainland China.

BUSINESS

-- Now that the Supreme Court has cleared the way for legalized sports gambling, Californians can bet it will take months, if not years, of haggling before residents can wager a dime on any game.

-- The California economy added 39,300 net new jobs last month, as the unemployment rate fell to a record low of 4.2%, according to data from the state Employment Development Department.

SPORTS

-- Do you believe in miracles? The first-year Vegas Golden Knights will play for the Stanley Cup, another remarkable achievement for a group that was thrown together just last summer.

-- Rookie two-way star Shohei Ohtani snapped the Angels out of their slump with a victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.

OPINION

-- Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican from Northern California, writes that it’s time to force a vote on DACA.

-- Counting calories won’t reduce obesity. So why are we requiring restaurants to post that information?

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- A look at Neil Cavuto, a frequent Trump critic who hosts 17 hours of live television on Fox News and Fox Business Network a week despite some growing physical limitations. (NPR)

-- An experimental Ebola vaccine is being deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Scientific American)

-- How a Cap’n Crunch toy whistle from the 1960s was once used to hack phone lines. (Atlas Obscura)

ONLY IN L.A.

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