Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, often berated by President Trump and lambasted by others for upholding his administration’s policies, is on her way out.
The Nielsen Paradox Comes to an End
President Trump has long criticized Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, even as she defended his administration’s policy of separating thousands of migrant children from their families on the southern border and carried out the most sweeping changes to U.S. asylum policy in decades. That made her somewhat of a paradox in the revolving doors of the White House. But on Sunday, after a meeting at the White House, Trump tweeted that Nielsen, one of the few remaining women in his Cabinet, was leaving. Nielsen’s resignation letter soon followed. The departure comes just days after Trump blindsided Homeland Security officials by withdrawing the nomination of a career official to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, because Trump wants to go “in a tougher direction.” In the meantime, Trump tweeted that Kevin McAleenan, the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, would become acting secretary — but experts say that might not comply with the law.
-- Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, declared that congressional Democrats would “never” see the president’s tax returns in an apparent attempt to reject the House of Representatives’ oversight authority. The posturing parallels a growing confrontation over the contents of the Mueller report and other fights over investigations of Trump’s conduct.
-- Attorneys for the president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, are asking members of Congress to help keep him out of prison.
-- Who is Lucy Flores, who’s accused Joe Biden of planting a “big slow kiss” on the back of her head? She went from gangs and jail to law school and elected office.
Newsom Debuts on the World Stage
As the Trump administration continues to place its focus on the border with Mexico, Gov. Gavin Newsom is in El Salvador this week, he says, to “get a sense of things” on the ground in a country that is second only to China as a source of people seeking legal asylum in the U.S. “I do think it benefits the people of my state to have a deeper understanding and a different perspective than the one being pushed by the Trump administration,” Newsom said. At the same time, it affords Newsom a political opportunity to counter Trump’s immigration narrative to an international audience, and that could boost his national profile for future campaigns.
The $TslaQ Phenomenon
Few corporate leaders have developed as loyal a following as Elon Musk’s, thanks in part to his freewheeling Twitter feed. Few have attracted as many skeptics as Musk has too; of 173 million Tesla shares, about 17% are held by short sellers. The latter have found a way to connect via the Twitter hashtag $TslaQ — and the mostly anonymous posters don’t confine themselves to merely griping online. Contributors divide up research duties, such as using commercial databases to track Tesla-loaded ships or doing reconnaissance, sometimes from airplanes or drones.
PDA Capital of the World?
In Mexico City, spring fever is in the air. Seemingly everywhere, couples are canoodling and sometimes more. Why are there so many public displays of affection? As The Times’ Kate Linthicum reports, overcrowding, high rents and nosy relatives are among the reasons lovers head outdoors in search of a little privacy.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
-- The unprecedented death and destruction that wildfires have brought to California the last two years have demonstrated the sharp limitations firefighting aircraft have when battling extreme fire behavior.
-- Slain rapper Nipsey Hussle had a vision for South L.A. It all started with a trip to Eritrea.
-- In the college admissions scandal, some wealthy parents are cutting deals, while others fight on.
-- On New Orleans’ Royal Street, the music is sweet and the history is deep.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
On this date in 1949, 3-year-old Kathy Fiscus fell into an abandoned well in San Marino and was trapped 90 feet below ground in a pipe 14 inches wide. The ensuing rescue attempt gripped Southern California. As workers dug, calls offering advice and help flooded police stations, newspaper offices, radio and TV stations. The tragedy ushered in an era of live television coverage of news and would later lead to laws in California and other states requiring the sealing of abandoned wells.
-- Adelanto city officials are parting ways with the federal government and a private prison company, ending the high desert city’s role in overseeing the management of the state’s largest immigrant detention facility.
-- Trucks on the 210 Freeway keep crashing onto the tracks of the Metro Gold Line. Preventing further crashes could quickly become expensive.
-- Officials say a Hawthorne police officer was wounded in a wild shootout with a gunman near a shopping center in Manhattan Beach.
-- More and more people in California are representing themselves in court. In response, the courts have expanded self-help services.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- With the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” set to begin April 14, there’s a lot of catching up to do. Here are 10 things culture columnist Mary McNamara learned from rewatching the crucial first season.
-- What does that post-credits scene in “Shazam!” mean? Don’t click here unless you’ve seen the film.
-- “Joker,” “Knives Out” and three more movies we’re excited to see after CinemaCon, the big studio presentations that concluded last week in Las Vegas.
-- Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan is defending the revised design for a new museum, which calls for a smaller space at a cost of $650 million.
-- Authorities say Kimberly Sue Endicott, an aesthetician from Costa Mesa, and her driver, Congolese national Jean-Paul Mirenge Remezo, have been rescued after being kidnapped last week in a Uganda national park.
-- A top military official said the United States has temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya because of “security conditions on the ground.” A Libyan commander’s forces advanced toward the capital of Tripoli and clashed with rival militias.
-- Crunch time is again coming for British politicians and European Union leaders, who are scrambling to find a way to make Brexit work. Britain is set to leave the EU on Friday without an agreement in place unless a plan is reached or a further extension is granted.
-- A small U.S. Marine presence in Taiwan could ruffle Chinese feathers.
-- The Writers Guild of America and Hollywood talent agencies are trying to reach a deal before writers fire their agents en masse. On Saturday, the sides agreed to a one-week extension in talks to avert a disruption of TV and film production.
-- When student loan payments overwhelm, here’s a pathway out.
-- Mike Trout’s record homer streak continued, while the bullpen delivered in an Angels victory.
-- We need to protect California’s environmental legacy from Trump’s onslaughts.
-- Why Finland comes out on top on happiness and more.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Ray Dalio, the founder of the most successful hedge fund in the world, says capitalism needs to be reformed. (60 Minutes)
-- Lil Nas X’s country-trap hit “Old Town Road” and the history of black cowboys in America. (Rolling Stone)
-- The difficult art of translation: Authors and translators discuss their unique relationship. (The Guardian)
ONLY IN L.A.
When sports columnist Arash Markazi got the invite to try out the course at the Grand Prix of Long Beach by driving a hybrid supercar that has a top speed of 196 mph and goes 0 to 60 in three seconds, he was told to wear a racing suit. Instead, he got behind the wheel in a helmet — and a suit and tie. So how did he do before the real race happens this weekend? We’re relieved to report he and the car made it back in one piece.
FOR THE RECORD
An item in Friday’s newsletter about the Rodney King beating implied the Los Angeles riots started in April 1991. They began in April 1992.