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Newsletter: Today: ‘Case Closed’? Not So Much

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Atty. Gen. William Barr, pictured here during a May 1 hearing, could become the second top law enforcement officer to be held in contempt by the House of Representatives.
(Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

The battle over the Mueller report and its aftermath has become ever more pitched.

TOP STORIES

‘Case Closed’? Not So Much

Tensions between the White House and Congress have boiled over after President Trump asserted executive privilege to block the release to lawmakers of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report — and a Democratic-led House committee voted to hold Atty. Gen. William Barr in contempt. Those disputes are almost certainly headed to court. Adding to the turmoil: The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. So much for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration this week that it was “case closed” and time to move on from the Russia investigation.

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Deal or No Deal: Trade War Edition

In more than a year of haggling, China has insisted it would never negotiate a trade deal with a gun to its head. But it looks as if that’s about to happen in Washington. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special economics envoy and personal confidant is set to arrive for talks today, just one day before Trump has threatened to slap big new tariffs on imports from China. Twice in the past, Trump has pulled back from similar threats. This time, the talks may lead to a long-promised deal — or an all-out trade war.

More Politics

-- Iran’s president said for the first time that his government will stop complying with parts of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal after the White House sent a Navy carrier task force to the region and tightened a chokehold on the country’s oil exports.

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-- Leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation hope that by allowing Border Patrol surveillance towers on the reservation, they’ll see fewer agents roaming their land and less talk of Trump’s wall. The Border Patrol has said that won’t be the case.

-- Joe Biden’s first visit to Los Angeles as a presidential candidate featured two things this city produces in abundance: campaign cash and tacos.

Policing Tool or Racial Profiling?

It’s called CalGang: a database of thousands of gang members in California and those in their orbits. Law enforcement officials call it an important tool that works well — and say that being on it doesn’t cause anyone harm, because it is so closely guarded. Critics call it a vehicle for racial profiling — and say it’s too easy to be added to it and too difficult to be removed. Now, the state attorney general is taking another look.

For more about the CalGang back story, check out today’s Essential California newsletter.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

Mudslinging in politics is nothing new. But on this date in 1954, members of the Young Republicans set out to clean up a billboard touting Mildred Younger for state Senate, near Figueroa Street and Sunset Boulevard, that had mud slung upon it.

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Hollywood Young Republicans clean Mildred Younger's billboard after vandals smeared it with mud.
(Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

-- Orange County prosecutors have released dramatic video showing two Anaheim police officers firing 76 shots at a man, who was fatally wounded, during a high-speed pursuit. One of the officers has been fired.

-- Authorities say more than 1,000 guns were seized after federal agents searched a home in Holmby Hills.

-- A source says actress Lori Loughlin feels wronged in the college admissions scandal and is looking to fight charges against her.

-- After relocating three heritage oak trees on protected land, a Santa Rosa couple is on the hook for nearly $600,000 to the Sonoma Land Trust.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

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-- Disneyland’s newest land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, will be available to reservation-holding visitors for a four-hour window. But getting parkgoers to leave may not be easy.

-- Amy Poehler is making her directing debut with “Wine Country.” Film critic Justin Chang describes it as “quaffable enough ... unwieldy but not unpleasant.”

-- With Netflix’s “Someone Great,” writer-director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson is laying the foundation for an entertainment empire.

-- No agent? No problem. Hollywood writers are finding ways to work around the agency feud.

NATION-WORLD

-- From Columbine to Aurora, the Denver area is often plagued by gun violence.

-- In a surprise, it appears Denver voters have passed an ordinance decriminalizing hallucinogenic magic mushrooms. The measure trailed significantly on election night but rallied as ballot counting continued Wednesday. If the unofficial vote tally holds up, it would be the first measure of its kind in the nation.

-- South Africa held an election that may challenge the long-ruling African National Congress.

-- In Singapore, a law targeting fake news online has been passed and awaits the president’s signature. Critics warn of a chilling effect.

-- North Korea fired an unidentified projectile from a missile base Thursday, its second launch in less than a week.

BUSINESS

-- As Uber prepares to go public, the number of U.S. drivers who have filed arbitration demands has swelled to more than 60,000, a figure that surprises experts. Those cases could cost at least $600 million to resolve.

-- A life insurer says you should stop spending money on such nonessentials as eating out and grooming. And, as columnist Michael Hiltzik points out, it says you should buy (spoiler alert!) life insurance instead.

SPORTS

-- After days of negotiating, the Lakers are moving on from Tyronn Lue and will continue their search for a coach, according to a person familiar with the team’s thinking and a person close to Lue.

-- Before his mother died, Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman promised her that he’d earn a college degree. This week, he’ll participate in USC’s commencement ceremony.

OPINION

-- Trump’s contempt for Congress is dangerous and self-serving.

-- Sen. Amy Klobuchar on how to protect U.S. elections from foreign interference.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Is there such a thing as a jail in the U.S. Capitol, and if so, where is it? (Roll Call)

-- The Mandarin Oriental’s new penthouse is London’s most expensive hotel suite. Is it worth it? (Financial Times)

-- Remembering the late Mike Boehm, a former L.A. Times arts reporter who covered the Orange County music scene in the ’80s and ’90s. (OC Weekly)

ONLY IN L.A.

PSA: Customs officers do not like it when you try to bring a duffel bag full of 40 vacuum-sealed, frozen piranhas into Los Angeles. Virgilio Martinez, chef-owner of Central restaurant in Peru, learned this lesson the hard way when he landed at LAX with the piranhas — a key ingredient for one of his dishes. So how did this fish tale turn out?

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