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Newsletter: Today: The ‘Dear Jong’ Letter

Confused about what comes next after President Trump canceled his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un? You’re not alone.

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The ‘Dear Jong’ Letter

With a three-paragraph letter that began “Dear Mr. Chairman” — and whose unique style generated almost as much commentary as its substance — President Trump pulled out of his June 12 nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, leaving world leaders, the stock market and everyone else wondering: What’s next? “If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write,” Trump wrote. Hours later, Pyongyang said it was ready to meet with the U.S. “at any time.” But in trying to make sense of it all, former and current U.S. officials say the cancellation may have saved Trump from a meeting in which the goal of denuclearization appeared increasingly unlikely to be achieved and the risks of not being fully prepared seemed too high. Here are five takeaways from Trump’s decision.

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A copy of the letter President Trump sent to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un canceling their planned summit in Singapore.
(J. David Ake / Associated Press )

More Politics

-- The head of the national Border Patrol union called the deployment of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border “a colossal waste of resources.”

-- Congressional leaders met with Justice Department officials for unusual, classified briefings demanded by Republicans on the FBI’s use of a confidential informant early in the Russia investigation.

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-- Moderate Republicans are giving their colleagues until June 7 to find a legislative fix for the legal status of the “Dreamers.” If not, the lawmakers will try to force a vote.

A #MeToo Milestone

Harvey Weinstein has long denied any wrongdoing as a string of women have accused him of misconduct and prosecutors in New York and L.A. have been developing cases against him. On Friday, Weinstein turned himself in to face sexual assault allegations in New York. Prosecutors there prepared to file criminal charges against the disgraced former movie mogul.

USC’s Trustees Feel the Heat

USC’s Board of Trustees is coming under pressure to deliver a stronger response as the university faces a crisis over misconduct allegations against the campus’ longtime gynecologist. So far, the trustees have expressed sympathy for the women who have come forward and launched an independent investigation. But amid calls from faculty and alumni for USC President C.L. Max Nikias to step down, the board has publicly backed him.

An Early Test at the LAUSD

Austin Beutner became superintendent of the L.A. Unified School District less than two weeks ago, but already unions representing teachers and administrators have staged a protest and a job action. So much for the honeymoon. Their fear is that Beutner and the school board will emphasize charter schools, which are mostly nonunion, and that his private wealth and lack of experience won’t mix with public schools.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAY

After being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974, newspaper heiress Patty Hearst announced she had become a member of the radical group. She was eventually convicted of bank robbery charges. Back in 1976, Times photographer John Malmin took the image below through a chain-link fence as Hearst arrived at the Hall of Justice in L.A.

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May 28, 1976: Patty Hearst is escorted into the Hall of Justice.
(John Malmin / Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA )

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Trump’s comments on the canceled North Korea summit: “Nobody should be anxious. We have to get it right.”

-- For actress Constance Zimmer, getting vulnerable with her character on the show “UnReal” wasn’t easy.

CALIFORNIA

-- A majority of voters wants to repeal increases to the state’s gas tax and vehicle fees, according to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times statewide poll. It also found most voters back a potential 2020 ballot measure that would increase property taxes on businesses.

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-- The state Supreme Court ruled Facebook and other social media companies should turn over users’ public communications to criminal defendants in response to subpoenas.

-- Los Angeles County transportation officials have chosen two possible routes through downtown for a light-rail line to Artesia.

-- A doctor is selling 13-second recordings that he says can heal patients. The state medical board isn’t buying it.

YOUR WEEKEND

-- The PBS National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day and the 70th anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act.

-- Check out these Memorial Day weekend events around Southern California, including a color guard service on the battleship Iowa.

-- Today is National Wine Day, and we have 17 recipes that use wine and pair well with it too.

-- Considering a home makeover? These front doors have curb appeal and bold midcentury style.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Morgan Freeman has been accused of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment by eight women, and the actor has apologized “to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected.” Now, his Screen Actors Guild lifetime achievement award is under review.

-- The six-part Amazon miniseries “Picnic at Hanging Rock” comes out today and stars Natalie Dormer of “Game of Thrones” as the headmistress at a finishing school where students go missing.

-- Film critic Justin Chang says the punk-rock alien-invasion comedy “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” doesn’t have much to say.

NATION-WORLD

-- An international group of investigators has concluded that the missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine belonged to the Russian army. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations.

-- There is only one gun store in all of Mexico. So why is gun violence soaring? Much of it has to do with guns smuggled from the United States.

-- Escaping Venezuela: Migrants are pouring into Brazil by the thousands looking for work and a chance at a new life.

-- Ireland is voting on whether to lift its ban on abortion, and the fight has been bitter.

BUSINESS

-- Federal investigators say the automated emergency braking system on an Uber robot test car was turned off when the vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in March.

-- The FasTrak toll tracking software can issue you a citation by mistake, as consumer columnist David Lazarus found out firsthand.

SPORTS

-- The field for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 is filled with drivers with points to prove beyond showing they can win the race, such as the retiring Danica Patrick, three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and hometown favorite Ed Carpenter.

-- The Houston Rockets have taken a 3-2 lead in their NBA playoff series, but Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr says, “I feel great about where we are right now.”

OPINION

-- The North Korea summit has been canceled. Is anyone surprised, given what an unholy mess it was?

-- Gov. Jerry Brown’s wildfire plan will only make things worse, according to two environmental experts.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Jack Johnson, the black boxer whom Trump posthumously pardoned Thursday, loved opera and flaunted his wealth with sports cars and furs. (NPR)

-- In Europe and can’t read a website because it’s blocked? Data protection rules taking effect today may be to blame. (The Guardian)

-- Robots and the complicated future of elder care. (Ampersand)

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Walt Disney worked on the railroad briefly in 1916 as a teenager in the Midwest selling snacks, tobacco and periodicals. It’s said he came up with the idea for a cartoon mouse while on a train ride from New York to California. So of course locomotives have always played a part at Disneyland. But some of Disney’s old train cars have ended up in San Luis Obispo County, 250 miles from the theme park. Here’s how they blow off steam at the Santa Margarita Ranch.

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