Today: Trump's Mixed Signals on the Khashoggi Case
Oct 19, 2018 | 5:00 AM
President Trump said those responsible for a Saudi journalist’s killing would suffer “very severe” consequences, but he continued to avoid publicly pinpointing blame.
Trump’s Mixed Signals on the Khashoggi Case
After days of wavering over the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump has acknowledged the missing U.S.-based Saudi journalist is probably dead. That, combined with Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin pulling out of a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia, marks a significant shift in the Trump administration’s stance, which has included a spirited defense of U.S.-Saudi ties. Trump has emphasized the kingdom’s value as a purchaser of American goods over human rights concerns, which has created controversy — compounded by the fact Trump is also using wildly inflated numbers.
Trying to Take It Down a Notch
While Trump and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo have been dealing with the Saudi Arabia crisis, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis has been looking to lower tensions with China. At Beijing’s request, Mattis met with his Chinese counterpart in Singapore, after several incidents and months of quarrels have soured U.S.-China relations. Americans officials say the 90-minute meeting could be a prelude to Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping getting together at the end of November.
Trying to Take It Up a Notch
With a caravan of Central American immigrants heading toward the United States (and perhaps not coincidentally, the midterm election coming up), Trump has threatened to send troops to close the southern U.S. border and scrap the newly minted United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. While Mexican authorities have sent federal forces to their border with Guatemala in anticipation of the caravan, they say the travelers will be treated like anybody else seeking to enter the country.
-- Republican lawmakers and candidates across the country are suddenly telling voters they’ll protect preexisting conditions rules, brushing aside the fact that many voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act dozens of times and that GOP leaders pledge to resume that fight in 2019.
-- Trump, as he continued equating Democrats to a “mob” in the run-up to next month's midterm election, used a rally to praise Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte for body-slamming a reporter last year.
-- The Trump administration’s plan to speed construction of the first phase of southern border wall is being challenged in court by a coalition of environmental groups.
House the Homeless (Just Not Here?)
L.A. officials hope to build 15 temporary homeless shelters by the middle of next year, one in each council district. But finding a place to put them has been difficult. The latest flashpoint: Venice. This week, Mayor Eric Garcetti listened for four hours as residents booed, catcalled and criticized the city’s plans to build a 154-bed homeless shelter on an abandoned Metropolitan Transportation Authority yard in the heart of the seaside community.
It’s a South Bay tradition that goes back to 1952: Every year, a large orange storage tank at a refinery in Wilmington gets a Halloween makeover as Smilin’ Jack. As this story from the archives explains, the smile is 73 feet wide and the eyes are 18 feet tall.
-- A look back at LeBron James’ NBA debut in 2003, the most anticipated debut in league history (The Undefeated)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
It’s known as the “House of Tomorrow,” but it has an intriguing past: the Midcentury Modern-style home in Palm Springs where Elvis and Priscilla Presley decamped after their secretive wedding in 1967. The futuristic-looking property has returned to the market for $3.26 million, which includes a jukebox and some portraits of Elvis. But we won’t be cruel: You can take a look for free.