Newsletter: Essential Politics: Trump’s ‘bump stock’ moment


There’s been a recurring narrative in some political circles that perhaps President Trump could have his own “Nixon goes to China” moment on the rising epidemic of gun violence — the thought being that someone with his bona fides among gun-rights groups could actually change the conversation.

The past 24 hours suggest there might be some truth to the idea.


On Tuesday, Trump ordered Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to craft regulations to ban the “bump stock,” a rapid-fire device used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre.


Aides to the president also say he now favors efforts to improve the federal background check system.

But Trump’s foray into policy talks is being met with skepticism based on his track record in office, his fluid stances on gun control and his close relationship with the National Rifle Assn.

And Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged him to instead back her bill banning bump stocks.

Tuesday’s announcement on the proposed bump stock ban came on the heels of a new poll showing more than 6 in 10 Americans fault Congress and Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings. But there’s less consensus on which path forward lawmakers should take.


California’s own reaction to gun violence cleared the nation’s highest legal hurdle on Tuesday. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of Silvester v. Becerra, challenging the state’s 10-day waiting period for buying a new gun.


That means the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling will stand, one in which the judges said they agreed with the state’s argument that “waiting 10 days may deter subsequent purchasers from buying new weapons that would be better suited for a heinous use.”


-- Rep. Adam Schiff said he expects to reach agreement in the next day or two with Justice Department officials on public release of a Democratic memo about surveillance and the Russia investigation.

-- A lawyer linked to two of President Trump’s former campaign aides ensnared in the continuing Russia inquiry has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

-- Awkward: Trump endorses Mitt Romney in the U.S. Senate race in Utah, even after all that acrimony of days gone by.

-- The Trump administration took new steps Tuesday to loosen health insurance rules, moving to allow the sale of more short-term health plans that do not need to offer consumers a full range of health protections.



As Tuesday’s series of small quakes reported in the Bay Area made clear, temblors are never far from the mind in California. But they seem to be in the nation’s capital.

The president’s new budget proposal again zeroes out funding for the earthquake early warning program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey. The plan requests from Congress about $13 million less for the federal government’s earthquake hazards program, including $10.2 million for the earthquake early warning program.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the USGS, said in its budget justification that the reduction in the earthquake hazards program was proposed to “address higher priorities.”


Leaders of the California Senate released summary findings Tuesday from the investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia). The investigators wrote that it was “more likely than not” that Mendoza had acted inappropriately with former female staffers and one lobbyist. The Democratic lawmaker sharply criticized the report on Tuesday night.

Senators will be privately briefed on Wednesday about proposed actions, and we could see a floor vote on Mendoza’s fate as early as Thursday.


Meanwhile, the effect of investigations into Mendoza and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) has been felt especially hard in a swath of southeastern Los Angeles County, where the districts of the two lawmakers overlap. In all, some 440,000 Californians now find themselves without any representation in Sacramento.


Team Politics will be covering the San Diego debate Thursday nightbetween the Democrats running for governor, and then the party’s state convention that begins Friday. Don’t miss that coverage in the moment on our Essential Politics news feed and all weekend. We’ll have complete coverage in Monday’s newsletter.


-- After staying mum for a week after filing to run for California governor, former Hillary Clinton aide Amanda Renteria confirmed Tuesday she is launching a “grassroots” campaign, saying she will offer a “new voice” to voters who have soured on big-money politics.

-- Five Democrats running for Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat squared off for a debate Tuesday night.


-- A new study from UC Berkeley and Columbia University researchers blames local governments for delays in approving housing, not a key state environmental law.

-- The Los Angeles Fire Department has experienced a series of “divisive” workplace incidents in recent months, including at least one debate between firefighters over protests by NFL players, according to a letter to the agency’s employees.

-- Emily’s List is making some new endorsements in California.

-- The mayor of El Cajon is running for Congress against Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter.

-- Trump’s Agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, talked water, immigration, taxes, trade and regulation during a two-day working tour of California.


Essential Politics is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


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