A strange confrontation in the Oval Office. The threat of a shutdown. Is this a preview of next year’s divided government?
The Donald, Chuck and Nancy Show
For more than 15 minutes with the cameras rolling, President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held a sparring session in the Oval Office on Tuesday, as Vice President Mike Pence watched in silence (and inadvertently became a Twitter meme). The main event: a dispute over Trump’s much-touted wall for the southern border. Democrats have offered $1.6 billion for border security in general, but Trump is demanding $5 billion for a wall — the one he said Mexico would pay for. And if he doesn’t get it? Trump said he’d be “proud” to shut down the government on Dec. 21. Afterward, Pelosi conferred with Democrats behind closed doors and offered a take that would make Sigmund Freud proud: Trump’s obsession with the wall is “like a manhood thing for him,” she said, “as if manhood could ever be associated with him.”
Could Ignorance Be Legal Bliss for Individual-1?
Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced today after pleading guilty to violating campaign finance laws by arranging hush money for two women who said they had slept with Trump. Will prosecutors eventually go after Trump, a.k.a. Individual-1, who is alleged to have directed Cohen? If they do, legal experts say they’ll have to prove Trump “knowingly and willfully” committed violations. In this case, ignorance of the law is a defense.
-- Trump said he would intervene in the case of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou if it would help win a trade deal with China. She was released on bail, and now China has detained a former Canadian diplomat.
-- The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection went before Congress to defend his agents for using tear gas against migrants last month, but lawmakers pressed him about women and children forced to flee clouds of the noxious gas.
-- A federal judge in L.A. ordered porn actress Stormy Daniels to pay Trump nearly $293,000 for his attorneys’ fees and $1,000 in sanctions after her defamation suit against him was dismissed.
A Trove of Photos Raises Questions
In a storage unit linked to former USC gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall, Los Angeles police say they found a collection of homemade pornography and a smaller set of photos of unclothed women in what appeared to be a medical exam room. Officials say the images have become part of the investigation into whether Tyndall sexually abused hundreds of students. Tyndall denied the allegations through his lawyer, Leonard Levine, who said in a statement, “Dr. Tyndall is adamant that he has never sold, traded or shared any images of patients he examined while conducting medical examinations at USC.”
The Rare Case Against a Sheriff’s Deputy
For 18 years, no law enforcement officer in Los Angeles County has been charged in an on-duty shooting. Now, L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Liu is facing a charge of voluntary manslaughter and a special allegation of intentionally discharging a firearm causing death to the victim, after an incident at a Norwalk gas station in 2016. Liu has pleaded not guilty.
‘We Miss You in a Hundred Thousand Ways’
Over the years, columnist Chris Erskine’s family has grown up in the pages of the Los Angeles Times as he’s chronicled life as a father and husband. In March, he lost his oldest son, Christopher, to a car accident. Less than two weeks ago, his wife, Catherine — better known to readers as “Posh” — died of cancer. “Please don’t come at us with grieving eyes,” he writes. “Come at us with your hugs and your casseroles, your stories and your smiles.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On this date in 1925, San Luis Obispo made perhaps its greatest contribution to travel history when the Milestone Mo-Tel opened. It is said to be the world’s first motel. As the story goes, it was originally supposed to be called the Milestone Motor Hotel, but workers couldn’t fit all three words on the sign. A few years later the name was changed to the Motel Inn.
-- After nearly 20 years of planning, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved the 19,000-home Tejon Ranch development. It’s been the centerpiece of the debate over how the state should develop in an era of worsening wildfires and urban sprawl.
-- Authorities have yet to determine an official cause of the Camp fire, but at least 20 lawsuits have been filed against Pacific Gas & Electric, accusing the utility of allowing its equipment to spark the blaze that killed 86 people.
-- The state Democratic Party fired seven top staffers as part of the continuing fallout over misconduct allegations surrounding former party Chairman Eric Bauman.
-- L.A. officials have raised speed limits on more than 100 miles of streets, saying the increases are the best way crack down on speeding. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- Should you see “Aquaman” next week? Critic Kenneth Turan says the film turns out to be, almost despite itself, an engaging undersea extravaganza starring Jason Momoa and a surprising mix of big names.
-- The Library of Congress’ National Film Registry has added 25 movies, including Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” and Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”
-- Regina King has been a Hollywood fixture for more than 30 years, but she’s finding her greatest acclaim now with award-winning TV roles and her turn in the film “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
-- A new study says films starring women earn more money than male-led movies.
-- Key European leaders have rebuffed appeals by British Prime Minister Theresa May to renegotiate terms for Britain’s intended departure from the 28-nation bloc. Further complicating the matter, Conservative lawmakers in Britain on Wednesday triggered a no-confidence vote in May that will see her removed as party and government leader if she loses.
-- In the trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, jurors finally heard from him … via excerpts of Sean Penn’s Rolling Stone interview.
-- A Charlottesville jury recommended life plus 419 years in prison for the man convicted of driving into counter-protesters and killing a woman at a white nationalist rally.
-- India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly looks vulnerable after some setbacks in state elections.
-- Your aging brain: Is it “use it or lose it”?
-- For those who can’t stand selling a house, Zillow will start buying directly from homeowners in Riverside and San Bernardino counties early next year. It’s one of a handful of “i-buyers” trying to give a new twist to real estate.
-- In an appearance on Capitol Hill, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said his company’s search engine has no bias against conservatives — and no current plans for a censored version in China.
-- Will the next big NBA free agent headed for L.A. wind up with the Clippers? Columnist Bill Plaschke says owner Steve Ballmer has all the pieces in place to add more.
-- The Dodgers are hoping for a revival from former rookie of the year Cody Bellinger. He’s meeting with the team’s hitting coaches this week.
-- L.A.’s convention center is too small, too old and too ugly. AEG has a plan to fix it, but there’s a catch.
-- Legislators who push for gun laws are targeted with intimidation campaigns. Assemblyman Marc Levine says it happened to him.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- “The guardians and the war on truth”: Murdered and imprisoned journalists are Time magazine’s person of the year. (Time)
-- The lie of the year? The smear campaign against the students who survived the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. (Politifact)
-- Take it from the language columnist at the Economist: English changes all the time, so don’t worry about the decline of a word like “whom.” (Aeon)
ONLY IN L.A.
Would you like some hot chicken with your hot wax? A pop-up restaurant serving Nashville-inspired hot chicken on a Hawaiian roll debuted last week at — where else? — a car wash in Northridge. If eating that sandwich gets really messy, there’s always the express wash.