Newsletter: Essential Politics: California’s list of no-shows has grown for Trump’s big day


California has the largest delegation of any state on Capitol Hill. But how many of them will show up for Friday’s inauguration of the 45th president of the United States?

Good morning from the state capital. I’m Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers, and we’re now two days away from President-elect Donald Trump taking the oath of office.

This is the final lap in one of the most unusual presidential transitions in American history. For a number of California Democrats, there’s no less opposition to Trump than before. More than one-quarter of the state’s delegation will skip Friday’s festivities, the latest being Rep. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), who said Tuesday he’ll spend the day praying for the country.

Of course, not all Californians share those concerns.



Count Stephen Miller among those who are eager for the Trump era to begin. Lisa Mascaro takes a look at how Miller, the skinny-suited man now at the president-elect’s side as a speechwriter, made the long journey from the liberal stylings of his hometown, Santa Monica.

Or as some from his high school saw him, “the student body’s best-known and least-liked conservative activist.”



The man who will be president on Friday spent the first part of the week trying to squash the weekend political narrative of attacking a civil rights leader, by showing up for the cameras Monday with Martin Luther King III.

Meantime, he’s lost one of his early picks for a national security job — Monica Crowley, who declined an administration post after a blistering few days of accusations over plagiarism in several of her writings.

And then there’s the unfinished business from the campaign, at least in the eyes of a former contestant on Trump’s TV show. Summer Zervos filed a defamation lawsuit on Tuesday against the president-elect, accusing him of “false, disparaging statements” about her and others.


Tuesday’s decision by President Obama to lessen the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army private convicted of leaking classified documents, made national headlines.

Manning could now be released in May, and the decision drew a quick rebuke from congressional Republicans.



We also learned on Tuesday where the aircraft otherwise known as Air Force One (but not this time) will be taking the president and first lady after they bid their goodbyes to the White House.

The Obamas are headed to Palm Springs, but we don’t know for how long. Locals have long buzzed about perhaps an eventual setting down of some roots by the soon-to-be former first family, but for now it’s back to Washington as Sasha Obama finishes up high school.


Two important stories to take note of as the nation prepares for some kind of repeal of Obamacare by the new Republican leadership on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The biggest may be the report released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which concluded as many as 18 million Americans would lose healthcare coverage without the provisions of the 2010 law. Others would see big jumps in their monthly premiums.

The man in the center of the spotlight for what would come in the wake of a repeal of Obamacare is Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s pick for Health and Human Services secretary. Noam N. Levey takes a closer look this morning at how Price has spent his career fighting to limit the healthcare safety net, even as more than a million people in his home state of Georgia were locked out of health protections.


Brittny Mejia takes an interesting look at a group of California voters who bucked the conventional wisdom: Latinos for Trump.


“I just think we need to bring this country to what it used to be,” Ana Corona said, “and I seriously believe that Trump is going to do it.”

A reminder that we’re tracking all of the big news in these final 48 hours before the inauguration on our Trail Guide news feed.


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is throwing his weight behind Tom Perez, President Obama’s labor secretary, in the mosh pit competition to be the next Democratic National Committee chair.

Garcetti’s endorsement could carry some weight in the race — as a DNC member, he actually gets to vote on who the next chair will be. Democrats are in the midst of their first competitive race for party leader in more than a decade.


Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget team offered a mea culpa to state lawmakers on Tuesday, offering a few new details on an accounting error of almost $1.5 billion in the Medi-Cal program that provides healthcare for low-income Californians.

The mistake (actually two mistakes, as it turns out) plays a role in the solutions Brown rolled out last week to head off a projected $1.6 billion budget deficit, and is one of the more unusual items in recent memory when it comes to how state government spends taxpayer dollars.


— Trump’s choice for Interior secretary said Tuesday that he opposes the sale of public land.

— Has the family of the nominee for Education secretary donated $200 million to Republican efforts? Maybe, she said on Tuesday.

— The president-elect is proposing to build a huge system of school vouchers, but Californians have voted down similar initiatives twice.

— There’s more than just the CIA and FBI: 17 agencies make up the U.S. intelligence community.

— It’s long past time California lawmakers take a crack at reform of the criminal bail system, writes George Skelton.

— State lawmakers want to make it easier for marijuana shops, expected to flourish in the wake of Proposition 64, to pay their taxes in cash.

— A former aide to Costa Mesa Rep. Dana Rohrabacher pleaded guilty to charges related to embezzling $300,000 from the congressman’s campaign committee.

— What are the most important issues to voters in the race to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra? A new poll suggests they care most about immigration, healthcare and opposing Trump.

— While Becerra faces a state Senate hearing on his confirmation as California’s attorney general later this morning, a 17th (yes, 17th!) candidate, Robert Lee Ahn, has joined the race to replace him.


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