Newsletter: The quest for Trump’s tax returns

President Trump
(AFP / Getty Images )

Can California succeed where others have failed in bringing President Trump’s tax returns to light?


The Quest for Trump’s Tax Returns

House Democrats have sued to obtain them. The Treasury Department has vowed to keep them secret. New York state has enacted legislation to access them. Will California SB 27, a.k.a. the Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act, pry them free? The law that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Tuesday doesn’t mention President Trump by name, but it’s clear who inspired it. Effective immediately, it requires all presidential candidates to submit five years of income tax filings before they can land a spot on the primary ballot. For 2020, that means a late November deadline. Unprecedented? Yes. But it also seems an unlikely maneuver to get Trump to open up, and it will surely inspire a fierce court battle. But if it holds up, it could lead other states to follow in California’s footsteps.

Go Big or Go Home?

Buckle up: Tonight will mark Round 2 of the Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit, which will feature a rematch of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris of California. During last night’s Round 1, Democrats showed sharp differences over single-payer healthcare, immigration and climate policy, with a group of lesser-known candidates trying to attack progressive standard-bearers Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The basic idea: Whether to pick a presidential nominee who calls for big, ambitious policies or one with a more centrist, pragmatic approach. Here’s what to expect tonight. (And for a closer look at Marianne Williamson, the self-help author candidate, see today’s Essential California newsletter.)


Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar, left, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke take the stage Tuesday night at Detroit's Fox Theatre.
Democratic presidential candidates, from left, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas take the stage Tuesday night at Detroit’s Fox Theatre.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

More Politics

-- North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast early Wednesday, its second test in less than a week, increasing tensions as U.S. officials continued to project optimism for a breakthrough in stalled nuclear talks.

-- The American Civil Liberties Union says the Trump administration has separated 911 migrant children from their parents at the border since a San Diego federal judge last summer ordered an end to the systematic practice.

-- Trump has accused China of wanting to stall trade negotiations through the 2020 election in hopes of being able to negotiate “with a stiff, somebody that doesn’t know what they’re doing like Obama and Biden, like all the presidents before.”

-- Senate Republicans have raised doubts about sexual assault allegations against Air Force Gen. John Hyten, Trump’s nominee to serve as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggesting the matter is unlikely to derail his confirmation.

Tracking a Gunman’s Virtual Footprints

In the aftermath of mass shootings that continue to claim lives in the U.S., the most frequent question is: Why? The answer often lies in the “digital footprint” left by the attacker — part of the signs that point to motive. In the case of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, a law enforcement source says authorities searching the gunman’s Nevada home have found extremist materials. But the source did not provide details about the materials found or whether they provided clues as to a motive.

92 Pounds, Eight Limbs

At 14 years and 92 pounds, he looks more like a lollipop when wearing a helmet. But in the boxing ring, Pheeranut Saleephol is known as Sua Yim Yak — the tiger that doesn’t smile. Partly under the tutelage of his landlord turned adoptive father, himself a former fighter, the driven young Thai boxer is punching, kicking and elbowing his way into the upper echelons of a sport known as the “art of eight limbs.” Muay Thai, the national sport of Thailand, is now a global fitness craze. And in Bangkok, it’s spawning dreams for thousands of child fighters like Pheeranut, who keeps his earnings in a popcorn tub in the closet. He wants to buy his family a house and a puppy.

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-- The L.A. County Board of Supervisors has ordered an audit of the county’s massive employee pension fund, increasing scrutiny of its trustees’ spending on travel.

-- Sleeping overnight in cars, vans and RVs will be prohibited again in many parts of Los Angeles, after the City Council voted to reinstate rules that limit where people can live in their vehicles.

-- Officials say the Tucker fire in Modoc County is the largest wildfire on national forest lands in California so far this year.


-- Bruce Lee’s family calls a scene depicting the martial artist in the film “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” a mockery. Is it insult or homage?

-- With Hulu’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” based on the 1994 Richard Curtis film, series creator Mindy Kaling wants you to know she’s more than a rom-com “obsessive.”

-- As chief content officer of the upcoming streaming service HBO Max, Kevin Reilly has one of the best jobs in entertainment or, perhaps, one of the worst.

-- Hollywood’s two biggest public relations agencies — Rogers & Cowan and PMK-BNC — are combining forces, in the latest example of consolidation to hit the entertainment industry.


-- Authorities in northern Mississippi say a gunman fatally shot two people and wounded a police officer before he was shot and arrested Tuesday at a Walmart.

-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will not block a proposed copper and gold mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay despite objections by critics who contend that it would imperil a fishery and harm wetlands and streams.

-- Hong Kong police have announced that 44 out of 49 arrested protesters from clashes with police Sunday would be charged with rioting, an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

-- Lebanon has a reputation for tolerance. But music festival organizers had to pull the plug on an indie rock band whose frontman is openly gay and whose songs often feature taboo-laced lyrics.


-- Low mortgage rates and thriving employment should be the recipe for a strong housing market. Instead, they’re deepening America’s affordability crisis.

-- Another tax cut? A group of Republican senators wants one for capital gains. Columnist Michael Hiltzik calls the idea “a quintessential handout to the rich.”


-- A third thoroughbred racehorse has died during training at Del Mar, which opened its summer meet less than two weeks ago.

-- Want to see the Dodgers win the World Series? Columnist Bill Plaschke says they must trade the prospects it’ll take to win.


-- How much responsibility do scooter companies have for the bad behavior of their users? A lot.

-- In the Trump era, Americans can’t agree on the past, much less the future.


-- Trump has repeatedly claimed he’s “the least racist person.” His history suggests otherwise. (Vox)

-- Chinese President Xi Jinping’s cousin has drawn the scrutiny of Australian authorities as part of wide-ranging probes of organized crime, money laundering and alleged Chinese influence-peddling. (Wall Street Journal)

-- How did the presidential campaign get to be so long? (The Conversation)


If you like your ice cream with big triple scoops of pure nostalgia, a blast of liquid nitrogen or a splash of snark (i.e. the truck where social media influencers don’t get freebies; they’re asked to pay double), then the L.A. area has just the place for you. In our ice cream and gelato guide, you’ll learn about some hidden gems and a few old standbys that can’t be licked. (Or can they?)

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