Newsletter: Trump’s tweets, Mueller’s testimony dominate the nation’s political conversation

Essential Politics

Surely someone by week’s end will have laid out a careful contrasting study of the two men who will dominate political headlines in the days to come, offering a clear look at the vastly different personalities of President Trump and Robert S. Mueller III.

One is impulsive, the other cautious. One rarely passes up the chance to say more than he’s asked, the other goes out of his way to avoid saying anything more than he absolutely has to.

This week, their comments about each other will be one of America’s most talked-about stories.


Mueller, the special counsel whose lengthy report failed to either exonerate or indict Trump in the Russian election meddling investigation, is slated to appear Wednesday for three hours in the House Judiciary Committee and then for two hours in the House Intelligence Committee.

A number of Democrats hope the testimony is widely watched by Americans and that it lays the groundwork for impeachment proceedings.


Or as columnist Doyle McManus laid it out recently: “They hope to maneuver Mueller into boiling down his report to an easily digestible video clip that voters will remember.”

And for those seeking a crash course in what Mueller’s report found, there’s always the summer’s hottest craze: a live performance.


The president continued his criticism of four Democratic women in the House on Sunday, who he wrote on Twitter are not “capable of loving our Country.”

“They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said,” he added.


-- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is shifting America’s human rights focus abroad to the mistreatment of Christians, rather than LGBTQ and women’s rights.

-- China is tracking gamers and punishing young players for “excessive” playtime — with the help of American companies.

-- The Trump administration has intensified its crackdown on China over trade, technology and security — and now it has spread to America’s vaunted universities, turning the University of California into an especially big target.


While California lawmakers have found themselves stymied in recent weeks over efforts to enact a sweeping plan to address the state’s housing crisis, their colleagues to the north have celebrated a key breakthrough on their own housing woes.

Oregon officials passed a first-in-the-nation cap on rent increases and, in an effort to spur new homebuilding, became the only state to eliminate single-family-only zoning in many of its residential neighborhoods.

“In Portland, we’re just trying not to become San Francisco,” said Tina Kotek, the speaker of Oregon’s House of Representatives.


California authorities have tripled the number of raids on unlicensed cannabis shops in the last year and seized $30 million in pot products, but the legal industry’s leaders say enforcement is still inadequate to break the dominance of the black market.

In 2018, the first year of licensing, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control worked with local law enforcement to serve six search warrants on unlicensed pot shops and seized some 1,594 pounds of cannabis worth $13.5 million.

But industry officials say there are still thousands of illegal cannabis growers and sellers in California, a black market some predicted would be curbed when California voters approved Proposition 64 in 2016.


-- The California Supreme Court has refused an appeal by Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s administration disputing lower court rulings that the state mistakenly used money paid by large banks and lenders as part of a nationwide legal agreement in 2012 to pay off housing bonds.

-- Some of Newsom’s supporters are baffled by his decision to block two Bay Area cities from raising local taxes above state limits, exemptions he said were unneeded. One city wants a tax hike to help pay for child care services.

-- Though it’s unclear whether they’ll prevail, immigrant parents are prepared to argue in court that the separations and the silence around the fate of their children in 2018 were part of a systemic campaign of psychological intimidation by the Trump administration to frighten others away from entering America.

-- California will spend $340 million paying off doctors’ debts. In exchange, doctors must pledge that at least 30% of their caseloads will be devoted to Medi-Cal patients for five years.


Essential Politics is written by Sacramento bureau chief John Myers on Mondays and Washington bureau chief David Lauter on Fridays.

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