Newsletter: Today: Minding Trump’s Business

Trump Tower in Manhattan has been the focal point of President Trump’s sprawling business interests.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Prosecutors are beginning to lower the veil of secrecy surrounding the Trump Organization.


Minding Trump’s Business

Whether as a private citizen or the president of the United States, Donald Trump has never let the innermost workings of his business be known. But this week, with onetime confidant Michael Cohen’s plea agreement, it’s become clear the Trump Organization’s finances are under the scrutiny of federal prosecutors. Not only that, the squeeze is on some of Trump’s friends, like National Enquirer chief David Pecker, who was reportedly granted immunity to provide evidence in the Cohen case. Pecker’s company is also said to have kept a safe containing documents on damaging stories it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Trump.


More Politics

-- Trump plunged back into his criticism of Atty Gen. Jeff Sessions, who quickly hit back, declaring that he and his department “will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”

-- No tax break for you? The Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department moved to block efforts by lawmakers in California and other Democratic-controlled states to help residents avoid a new limit on state and local tax deductions.

-- Trump embraced a longtime white-nationalist talking point when he tweeted about alleged “large scale killing” of white farmers in South Africa, drawing praise from white nationalists and protests from anti-racism groups in the U.S.


Our New Man in Pyongyang

Remember when Trump said North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat”? Though there have been no tests since his summit with Kim Jong Un, a growing body of evidence suggests the leader has not shut down North Korea’s nuclear activities. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo says he’s returning to Pyongyang next week, this time with new U.S. special representative Stephen Biegun, who will take over day-to-day negotiations.

California’s Last Straw? Not Exactly

California could become the first state to restrict the distribution of plastic straws at full-service restaurants if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill passed Thursday. While many Republicans have decried it as yet another “nanny state” action, some environmentalists say it doesn’t go far enough. The bill would not ban plastic straws outright; instead, restaurant patrons would get plastic straws only by request. It also excludes fast-food joints, a huge source of the straws.

An Oasis in the Food Desert No More

Watts has long been at the center of a “food desert.” So when the restaurant Locol opened in early 2016, the idea was to bring affordable and healthful food from a pair of celebrity chefs to an underserved area. Yet while many people wanted the experiment to succeed, the support was more in theory than in practice. Now, Locol has closed its restaurant locations to focus on catering.

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We carry around voice-recognition technology in our pocket today, but back in the 1970s, the computers needed to answer simple questions looked a lot like a console stereo system. This week in 1976, a Logicon Corp. engineer put his computer through its paces, asking if it knew any songs. “After a momentary pause, the machine obliged with ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ ”

Aug. 23, 1976: Mike Grady, an engineer with Logicon Corp., adjusts the controls of a computer that understands human speech and responds with spoken words generated from 60 sounds.
(Bill Varie / Los Angeles Times Archives / UCLA)


-- Richard Kraft has collected Disneyland memorabilia for more than 25 years. Now, he is auctioning it all off.


-- With Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter pleading not guilty to charges of fraudulent campaign spending, the spotlight has turned to Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Palestinian Mexican American who spent part of his childhood in the Gaza Strip. He also loves Christian rock.

-- The deadly and destructive wildfires this summer have also taken a toll on taxpayers and the state’s tourism industry.

-- An appeals court has ruled that a long-stalled Target shopping center in Hollywood can proceed.


-- Jeff Bridges said he was “kinda shocked” after reading an L.A. Times article about a property tax break he and two siblings get for a Malibu beach home.


-- The inexpensive all-you-can-eat Las Vegas buffet lives on … about a mile away from the Strip.

-- L.A. Fleet Week begins in San Pedro next Friday. Check out these tips for a weekend escape.

-- Is your desk a mess? Here’s how to organize it, finally.

-- Hypertufa gardening pots are great for plants and Instagram-friendly.


-- “Black Panther” is on the hunt for a best picture Oscar, and Disney says it isn’t changing its awards strategy with the addition of a “popular film” prize.

-- Christopher Nolan used architecture to alienating effect in “The Dark Knight.” It’s back in theaters for a 10th-anniversary screening.

-- John Cho endures every father’s worst nightmare in “Searching,” which film critic Justin Chang calls an innovative mystery-thriller.


-- Honolulu is bracing for Hurricane Lane by opening emergency shelters, closing beaches and parks and canceling school. Meanwhile, the Big Island of Hawaii has already seen 20 inches of rain in some parts.

A car is submerged on a street in Hilo, Hawaii. As much as 20 inches of rain fell on the Big Island as Hurricane Lane churned offshore.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

-- Australia’s ruling party has chosen Treasurer Scott Morrison to become the next prime minister, replacing Malcolm Turnbull.

-- The Mormon Church has ramped up its opposition to an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Utah.

-- Islamic State has released audio it claims to be of leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi. If true, it would contradict rumors that he’s dead.


-- Newport Beach start-up Titan HST is finding success with an app to keep people connected during emergencies.

-- The Pentagon is eager to get a hypersonic missile. But in weapons work, moving forward with a project more quickly isn’t always better.


-- Two years after suffering a concussion in the first game of the Green Bay Packers’ 2016 season, cornerback Sam Shields is trying to make the L.A. Rams’ roster.

-- The Dodgers are hoping to snap out of their funk as a crucial stretch approaches.


-- Two authors of a book about Vice President Mike Pence make the case that he’s a sycophant because he believes that God has a plan for him.

-- California is seriously limiting the renewable energy that its military bases can produce.


-- The “Echo Chamber”: How a conspiracy-filled document in the Trump White House accused former Obama officials of undermining them. (The New Yorker)

-- A juror in the Paul Manafort trial speaks about how close he came to being convicted on all 18 counts (and says she’s a Trump supporter). (Fox News)

-- During mandatory military service, South Korean soldiers have developed elaborate skin-care routines. (Wall Street Journal)


Legendary Long Beach rapper Snoop Dogg has a cookbook coming out in October with recipes such as baked mac and cheese, chicken and waffles, baby back ribs, chicken Caesar salad and even lobster thermidor. Though there is a section called “munchies,” anything pot-infused is off the menu. The title? “From Crook to Cook.”

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