Newsletter: How the FBI’s Kavanaugh investigation was limited
New questions surround an FBI investigation that was part of Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation.
How the FBI’s Kavanaugh Investigation Was Limited
As Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh prepares for his second year on the Supreme Court, new reporting has detailed how the limits ordered by the White House and Senate Republicans last year constrained the FBI investigation into allegations of past sexual misconduct. The FBI was informed of allegations that Kavanaugh, while drunk during his freshman year at Yale, exposed himself to two heavily intoxicated female classmates on separate occasions. The bureau did not interview more than a dozen people who said they could provide information about the incidents. Only one of the accounts was made public at the time of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Some Democratic presidential contenders are now demanding Kavanaugh’s impeachment. Meanwhile, President Trump has been on a Twitter tear, calling on the Justice Department to “come to [Kavanaugh’s] rescue” and accusing critics of trying to deter the justice from rulings favorable to the administration.
— Analysts worry that the fires raging in Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing plant could portend a larger, regionwide conflagration between Iran and Saudi Arabia. On Sunday night, Trump tweeted, “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the [Saudi] Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” Global oil prices surged the most on record.
— The acting director of national intelligence is refusing to comply with a subpoena to turn over a whistleblower complaint , setting up a legal showdown this week between the Trump administration and a House committee.
— Visiting a black church bombed by the Ku Klux Klan in the civil rights era, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the country hasn’t “relegated racism and white supremacy to the pages of history.”
Dying on the Roadways
After more than 30 years of declining pedestrian deaths on U.S. roadways, the number has been rising since 2010. The death count for 2018 alone is projected to reach 6,000 people, with lower-income, minority communities being affected disproportionately. Meanwhile, Europe and Japan have seen fewer fatalities. Why? A definitive answer has been hard to come by, but there are some clues.
‘The Soloist,’ Revisited
Nearly 15 years ago, Nathaniel Anthony Ayers became one of the faces of homelessness through Steve Lopez’s columns, his book and a movie. Today, Ayers lives in a locked mental rehab facility. It’s not the outcome Lopez had envisioned. But, Lopez writes, it shows how there are no easy fixes for the homelessness crisis — and the urgency with which we must find answers.
Our Warming Planet
“The world is drifting steadily toward a climate catastrophe.” So begins a three-part series on climate change from the Los Angeles Times editorial board (which operates separately from the newsroom). The first installment lays out the scope of the problem, the second addresses the responsibility of developed countries, and the third focuses on what needs to happen next.
OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND
— More Americans are prepared for a recession, thanks to painful lessons of the last one.
— The story of Pepe Aguilar and his family’s rodeo revue, which has entertained Mexican American audiences in Southern California for nearly 60 years.
— E. Dotson Wilson, the California Assembly’s keeper of rules and rituals, has called it a career — and what a career it was.
— Chris Erskine’s column, The Middle Ages, has returned: In a year of trauma, finally some laughter and tears of joy.
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FROM THE ARCHIVES
On this date in 1990, The Times published an open letter from Frank Sinatra to George Michael, who had been quoted in the paper talking about the crushing weight of fame: “Come on, George. Loosen up. Swing, man. Dust off those gossamer wings and fly yourself to the moon of your choice and be grateful to carry the baggage we’ve all had to carry since those lean nights of sleeping on buses and helping the driver unload the instruments.” Read all about it here.
— The mishandling of land deals as part of the bullet train project has led to construction delays, cost increases, litigation and the launch of a federal audit.
— Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to veto a bill passed by California lawmakers that would have allowed the state to keep strict Obama-era endangered species protections and water pumping restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. His reasoning? “Senate Bill 1 does not ... provide the state with any new authority to push back.”
— A new report about the death of Noah Cuatro, a 4-year-old Palmdale boy, has absolved the Department of Children and Family Services of responsibility in the case.
— Pomona police say a 22-year-old Sylmar man arrested on suspicion of making false claims about a possible active shooter at the Los Angeles County Fair did so because he was hoping to avoid going to the fair with his parents.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— Ric Ocasek, frontman for the Cars rock band, has been found dead in his Manhattan apartment. He was 75.
— The video for the ’80s pop song “Take on Me” from a-ha is nearing 1 billion YouTube views, and the tune has been a cash cow for its creators. The story of its origin is as tricky as its multi-octave chorus.
— The critically eviscerated Holocaust comedy “Jojo Rabbit” took the People’s Choice prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, putting another twist into an Oscar season with few early front-runners.
— With Los Angeles Opera’s general director, Plácido Domingo, being investigated amid accusations of sexual impropriety, the company opened its season with a “La Bohème” that points the way forward.
— New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns connected to vaping, especially among young people.
— “We live like animals”: Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah’s outspokenness has made him the target of death threats and created headaches for authorities in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
— A solid gold toilet that was part of an art exhibit was stolen from the home in England where British wartime leader Winston Churchill was born.
— More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers walked off General Motors factory floors or set up picket lines early Monday as contract talks with the company deteriorated into a strike.
— Purdue Pharma, the company that made billions selling the prescription painkiller OxyContin, has filed for bankruptcy.
— The Kona coffee you buy from some big national retailers? A lawsuit alleges it might be fake.
— If you’re looking for a safe retirement investment, there’s a hidden risk to be aware of.
— The L.A. Sparks eliminated the Seattle Storm with a dominant first-round WNBA playoff victory. Up next: the Connecticut Sun.
— The Rams and Chargers’ future home in Inglewood now has a name: SoFi Stadium.
— Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants her Republican colleagues to take note: It’s time to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines right now.
— The science behind how Trump turns our unfounded fears into a potent political weapon.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— An excerpt from the book “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber” about the meltdown of former CEO Travis Kalanick. (Vanity Fair)
— Chess may look sedentary, but it turns out to be a way to lose weight — if you’re a grandmaster, at least. (ESPN)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
If you’ve been to North Beach in San Francisco, you’ll remember it has no beach — there hasn’t been one since the late 19th century — that it’s the West Coast’s most-storied Little Italy, and that it was once home to the Beat Generation. Of course, time marches on, and North Beach is changing. But the Beat goes on.
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