President Trump says he’s innocent but has the right to pardon himself in a bold assertion of executive power.
Pardon Me, Myself and I
Today is Day 501 of the Trump presidency. Though the White House has been touting the slogan “500 Days of American Greatness,” the president himself provided a major distraction from that message with some widely disputed claims on Twitter: that he has “the absolute right to PARDON myself” and that the appointment of the special counsel in the Russia investigation as “UNCONSTITUTIONAL!” Many legal experts would disagree or, at the very least, think the political consequences would be harsh.
-- Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III have alleged former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort made several attempts to tamper with witnesses in his ongoing criminal case.
-- Testimony and an email show Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt had a top aide seek a used mattress from the Trump International Hotel and perform other personal chores for him.
-- Trump called off a visit by the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House today, citing the dispute over whether NFL players must stand during the playing of the national anthem.
-- Former President Bill Clinton said he would not handle the Monica Lewinsky scandal any differently today, and that he never privately apologized to the former White House intern.
Having Some Cake, Eating It Too
The Supreme Court upheld gay rights and religious freedom with a decision in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The ruling was narrowly written and focused on how the baker was treated by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, determining that he encountered hostility and bias. The court’s opinion also emphasized the importance of equal rights for gays and lesbians.
The LAPD’s Numbers Guy
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has made his pick for the next chief of the Los Angeles Police Department: Michel Moore, a 36-year LAPD veteran known for his mastery of subjects including crime statistics and budgets. But before Moore can take the reins from Charlie Beck, who retires later this month, the City Council must confirm him.
Help From Within
In 2014, Judy Perkins had run out of treatment options for advanced-stage breast cancer. Then she tried a new form of immunotherapy. “I was just like, ‘Yeah, whatever. It probably won’t work, but maybe they’ll learn something, and it’ll help the next generation,’ ” she says. Today, she is seemingly cancer-free, according to a report in the journal Nature Medicine. The labor-intensive treatment is giving new hope that people’s own immune cells can be used to conquer a range of cancers.
A Deadly Peace
In Colombia, more than five decades of civil war between the government and the rebel group known as FARC ended in late 2016 via a peace agreement. Since then, more than two dozen former guerrillas have been killed, all of them outside the reintegration camps where they went to disarm and receive vocational training and counseling. The slayings are straining a peace process that was already fragile.
-- The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, as told 50 years later.
-- On the wrestling show “Glow,” Betty Gilpin quickly learned there were no stunt doubles.
-- Today’s the big day: the primary election. Here’s everything you need to know. We’ll be covering the action live. And P.S.: Don’t forget to vote!
-- A handful of counties today are using a new election law that lets them trade polling places for all-mail balloting. More are expected to follow suit in 2020.
-- The L.A. Unified School District may face a financial crisis even with a giant surplus this year.
-- In Agua Dulce, a brush fire has forced the evacuations of some rural homes.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- What to make of Kanye West’s new album, “Ye”? Pop music critic Mikael Wood says it unintentionally illustrates the limits of alpha-male bravado.
-- AMC’s new dark comedy “Dietland” is the right show for the #MeToo moment, writes TV critic Lorraine Ali.
-- Director Woody Allen has also weighed in on #MeToo, saying he should be its “poster boy.”
-- In this Iranian art show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the past wrestles with the present.
The Cheech & Chong movie “Nice Dreams” wafted its way into theaters on this date in 1981. Since then, with recreational marijuana now legal in California and several other states, what a long, strange trip it has been. “Cheech & Chong represent the middle, the vast majority,” Cheech Marin said earlier this year. “We always represented the norm; you just haven’t realized it yet.”
-- With the U.S.-North Korea summit back on for June 12, China is controlling some of the key action and may help determine the outcome.
-- Authorities say a man who went on a killing rampage in Arizona over four days starting Thursday targeted people who were connected to his divorce.
-- With school out, student activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida are planning the next stage in their gun control campaign.
-- In Greece, the number of assaults by far-right and neo-Nazi groups against refugees and others has surged.
-- In Guatemala, rescuers dug through ash in a search for survivors of a volcanic eruption that killed dozens.
-- “Solo: A Star Wars Story” has fallen short of expectations at the box office, giving some analysts a bad feeling about Disney and the “Star Wars” franchise.
-- Can an interest rate be “unconscionably” high? The California Supreme Court will decide.
-- The Washington Capitals are one victory from winning the Stanley Cup after overpowering the Vegas Golden Knights, 6-2. The series shifts back to Las Vegas on Thursday.
-- Dwight Clark, the receiver with movie-star looks known for “The Catch” that would launch a San Francisco 49ers dynasty, has died at age 61.
-- Trump doesn’t think he’s above the law. He thinks he is the law.
-- The Supreme Court squandered an opportunity for lasting justice in the wedding cake case.
-- The Times Editorial Board’s recommendations for the California primary today.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Howard Schultz is stepping down as chairman of Starbucks. When asked if he’s considering running for president of the United States, he doesn’t deny it. (New York Times)
-- Remember the days when the phone rang and you rushed to pick it up? Not so much anymore. (The Atlantic)
-- The life of the mongoose includes group birthing sessions. (National Geographic)
ONLY IN L.A.
Man buns and chunky jewelry? Check. Retractable roof? Yes. Sea vegetables harvested by a surfer? But of course. Restaurant critic Jonathan Gold visited MTN (pronounced “mountain”), an izakaya on Abbot Kinney, and found its Venice vibe is as strong as it gets. Unless you go to its sister restaurant, Gjelina, a few steps south.
FOR THE RECORD
Yesterday’s newsletter said Greer Garson’s Oscar acceptance speech for “Mrs. Miniver” lasted nearly an hour. Garson’s speech is estimated to have been more than five minutes — the longest on record, but far shorter than the often-repeated “hour” myth.