Newsletter: Today: Washington’s Suspicious Minds

President Trump’s response to the special counsel’s report was another example of his ability to spin a narrative that paints him as both winner and victim.
(Eric Baradat / AFP/Getty Images)

After the special counsel’s probe, both parties are calling for further inquiries. Democrats want to examine obstruction. Republicans want to investigate the investigators.


Washington’s Suspicious Minds

Winner and victim. That’s how President Trump is portraying himself after the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and Atty. Gen. William Barr’s summary stating Mueller did not establish a conspiracy between Russia and Trump or his campaign. Trump and his GOP allies are now looking to turn the tables, calling for investigations into what they claim was political bias behind Mueller’s probe. After months of calling the inquiry a “witch hunt,” Trump said Mueller acted “honorably,” then accused unnamed people involved in the probe of being “evil” and said they should now be “looked at.” Democrats, meanwhile, still want to investigate whether Trump obstructed justice — a question left explicitly unanswered by Mueller — without appearing overly focused on impeachment. As for Russia’s reaction? Gleeful, even though the investigation led to charges against 25 Russians.


More Politics

-- Faced with losing their federal funding, American universities are responding to U.S. security warnings about the Chinese telecom firm Huawei by beginning to cut ties with the company.

-- Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, reversing more than half a century of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Avenatti’s Double Trouble


Trump supporters found themselves cheering on another news development, as attorney and vocal Trump critic Michael Avenatti found himself in legal hot water yet again, this time on two coasts. On Monday morning, Avenatti tweeted that he would uncover a huge scandal involving Nike and college basketball; less than an hour later, federal prosecutors in New York announced he had been arrested on suspicion of trying to extort millions from the sports-gear giant. In Santa Ana, prosecutors filed separate charges accusing him of embezzlement and bank fraud. Avenatti has denied wrongdoing. If convicted, he could face decades in prison.

Crime and Punishment and Parole

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has championed a progressive stance on criminal justice reform and ordered a moratorium on the death penalty. But when it comes to parole interventions, it’s a been a different story. Since taking office in January, documents show, Newsom has attempted to stop serious offenders from receiving parole in 33 cases — a rate far higher than that of his predecessor, Jerry Brown. Newsom also has stopped 46 paroles for murderers. But what it all signals isn’t clear.

Powering Up

Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and even Big Bird took the stage at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday to unveil Apple TV+, an ad-free streaming service featuring original series that will launch in the fall — even though the company declined to reveal pricing and offered little footage of its upcoming shows. Chief Executive Tim Cook also unveiled a credit card, a video game subscription service, and Apple News+, a Netflix-style news service that will include journalism from the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and hundreds of magazines at $9.99 a month.

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On this date in 1973, Times photographer Boris Yaro took this photo of a discarded Christmas tree, which some youngsters had decorated with cans, cartons and plastic, at the beach in Marina del Rey. Yaro said he had just received a new Nikon 300-millimeter lens and was shooting “summer-like” photos to “rub in the noses of the folks back East.”


March 26, 1973: Near the surf, a discarded Christmas tree gets new life with litter as decoration in Marina del Rey.
(Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA)


-- Authorities say the second man found dead in Democratic donor Ed Buck’s West Hollywood home died of a methamphetamine overdose.

-- If you’re sick of those long paper receipts, state lawmakers may have just the ticket: They are considering a bill to ban them.

-- Killing off rent-stabilized apartments to make way for tourist hotels? The struggle for the soul of Venice Beach rages on, as columnist Robin Abcarian reports.

-- It’s the end of an era at the San Diego Zoo: The last two giant pandas there, Bai Yun and her son, Xiao Liwu, will soon leave for China.


-- Writer-director Jordan Peele talked with us about the ending of “Us.” Spoiler alert: Don’t click here if you haven’t seen the movie.


-- “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963-1983,” a large traveling exhibition at the Broad in downtown L.A., captures the political and philosophical dimensions of the struggle for civil rights.

-- Dr. Dre is feeling the heat after writing, “My daughter got accepted into USC all on her own. No jail time!!!!” Dre did, after all, donate $70 million to USC with Jimmy Iovine to found an academy.


-- The community of Parkland, Fla., is focusing attention on its suicide prevention programs after two survivors of the high school massacre there killed themselves in a week. Meanwhile, police in Connecticut say the father of one of the 20 children slain in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was found dead in an apparent suicide.

-- Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas have moved to the edge of another war after a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip demolished a family home in a town north of Tel Aviv and Israel retaliated with a bombardment of its own.

-- British lawmakers seized a measure of control over the stalled Brexit process from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, setting up a series of votes that could dramatically change things.

-- Global energy experts released grim findings, saying that not only are planet-warming carbon-dioxide emissions still increasing, but there also are higher emissions from coal-fired power plants than ever before.


-- California is moving to codify a sweeping court decision curbing employers’ use of independent contractors. The new law is unlikely to exempt Uber, Lyft and other app-based technology companies.

-- Federal judges in California are cracking down on warped incentives in class-action lawsuits, exerting tighter oversight of settlements that provide hefty fees for plaintiff lawyers but no meaningful benefit for those harmed.


-- UC Irvine men’s basketball coach Russell Turner has apologized for calling the Oregon Ducks’ Louis King “Queen” in an attempt to distract the freshman forward.

-- Columnist Arash Markazi has some advice for the Lakers’ Lonzo Ball: #DumptheAntics about Big Baller Brand merchandise.


-- To make Californians safer from wildfires, it’s OK to bend the rules.

-- Trump’s executive order on college free speech is unconstitutional, write Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley Law School, and Howard Gillman, the chancellor of UC Irvine. They also wrote the book “Free Speech on Campus.”


-- NASA has canceled the first all-female spacewalk over a lack of properly fitting spacesuits. (New York Times)

-- What to do with leftover movie set furniture? In Massachusetts, it’s going to people trying to rebuild their lives. (WGBH)

-- Photo essay on the lifeguards of Lagos, Nigeria: “The happiness is rescuing people so they do not die.” (BBC)


Another month, another hefty price cut for Charlie Sheen’s Sherman Oaks estate. After avoiding foreclosure on the Mediterranean mansion this year, the actor has trimmed the price to $7.99 million. What does that get you? An 8,600-square-foot house, a half-acre grounds, two swimming pools, a spa, pitcher’s mound, pavilion, secret humidor and hidden theater, and that’s just for starters. Get a look for free right here.

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