Newsletter: Today: Trump’s Mixed Signals on the Khashoggi Case

President Trump talks to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews.
(Associated Press)

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.

More Politics

-- 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.


-- “The Great Buster: A Celebration” presents an authoritative look at silent film star Buster Keaton.


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.

Smilin' Jack
Oct. 23, 1986: A painter applies last-minute touches to 3.3-million-gallon storage tank at the Unocal (now Phillips 66) refinery in Wilmington. Thomas Kelsey


-- Cookbook of the week: “Cravings: Hungry for More” by Chrissy Teigen. It’s definitely not spa food.

-- Take a hike off Angeles Crest Highway to Mt. Waterman and vistas that rival the Sierra.

-- Before and after: A gloomy lawn becomes an enchanted garden that slashes the water bill.

-- Tax troubles may mean passport troubles. How a law can trip up your trip abroad.


-- An Orange County Sheriff’s Department dashcam video shows a deputy repeatedly punching a motorist in the face while arresting him for misdemeanor public intoxication.

-- The state will reconsider life sentences for up to 4,000 nonviolent third-strike criminals by allowing them to seek parole, according to court documents.

-- Proposition 10, an initiative that would expand rent control, has the support of 41% of likely voters, with 38% opposed and 21% undecided, according to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

-- A veteran Santa Monica teacher who described the childhood oddities of Trump aide Stephen Miller has returned to her classroom.


-- Actress Bella Thorne has four movies coming out this fall, 18 million followers on Instagram and 19 cats at home.

-- Jonah Hill’s directing debut, “Mid90s,” is a skater nostalgia trip that’s sweet but fuzzy-headed, film critic Justin Chang says.

-- The journey to re-“Imagine” John Lennon’s 1971 solo album.


-- The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

-- Officials say at least two senior Afghan officials were killed and two Americans injured when an Afghan security guard opened fire at the provincial governor’s compound in Kandahar province.

-- The U.S. will fold the operations of the Consulate General in Jerusalem into the new American Embassy in Israel, effectively shuttering its diplomatic representation to the Palestinian Authority there.

-- A study has found that the more equal women and men are, the less they want the same things.


-- Frustrated with insurance costs, some people are turning to healthcare sharing ministries, religious nonprofits in which members pay for one another’s healthcare needs.

-- Anaheim, the home of family-friendly Disneyland, now wants to draw adults to its new breweries.


-- The Lakers’ LeBron James era began last night, but with an unfortunately familiar result in Portland. This graphic breaks down the players starting the season.

-- As the Dodgers get set for Game 6 against the Brewers tonight, don’t forget how L.A.’s bullpen has outperformed Milwaukee’s celebrated group.


-- Of Pocahontas, racial slurs and the pointlessness of trying to “prove” anything to Trump.

-- A writer-comedian-restaurant worker has a message for Angelenos: You seriously need to learn how to behave when eating out.

-- Filling out your mail-in ballot? The Times’ endorsements for the Nov. 6 election.


-- Up close with Heidi Cruz, and what it’s been like since she married Ted. (The Atlantic)

-- “The crisis of intimacy in the age of digital connectivity.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

-- A look back at LeBron James’ NBA debut in 2003, the most anticipated debut in league history (The Undefeated)


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.

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