Newsletter: The impeachment inquiry begins

With the House opening an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, a fierce battle starts.


The Impeachment Inquiry Begins


Now that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced the House is opening an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, the stage has been set for a monumental clash just one year away from the 2020 election. The historic move came after Trump acknowledged he had held up aid to Ukraine shortly before a phone call in July with that country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. During the call, he urged Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. Trump has said that his actions were appropriate and that there was no link. Pelosi called the matter “a betrayal” and said, “No one is above the law.” The inquiry is expected to move quickly, and this week’s developments could foreshadow that pace: Today, Trump has vowed to release a transcript of the July call and is still scheduled to meet with Zelensky at the United Nations. Tomorrow, the acting director of national intelligence has been told to appear before Congress with the whistleblower complaint he’s refused to hand over. Meanwhile, an administration official said a declassified version of the complaint could be provided as early as this week. And it’s possible the whistleblower could soon speak with members of Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

More About the Impeachment Inquiry

-- Leading Democratic presidential candidates were nearly unanimous in backing the proceedings. One of Trump’s Republican challengers, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, accused Trump of treason. But how Joe Biden is responding is being closed watched as an indicator of whether he can take on Trump.

-- Why now? How House Democrats who represent swing congressional districts shifted to favor starting impeachment proceedings.

-- Impeachment 101: How could Congress remove Trump from office?

The Warren Surge Continues

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has jumped to a significant lead in the Democratic presidential race in California, solidifying her position as a front-runner for the party’s nomination, according to the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, conducted for The Times. She’s the first choice of 29% of likely Democratic primary voters in the state, up from 18% in June — while her two closest rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden (20%) and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (19%), have remained stuck in place. And it isn’t the only poll to show Warren is gaining ground nationally and in key states.

Rapid DNA Tests? Hold On There

For decades, scientists have used ever-improving DNA forensics to help solve crimes and detect suspects in cold cases such as the Golden State Killer. But it has never been quick work: Laboratory analyses of genetic evidence can take weeks, even months. That could all change, if private companies succeed in widely marketing a device called Rapid DNA. But the technology is already setting off alarm bells with privacy advocates and some forensic scientists. Here’s why.

Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness

Research by UCLA scientists already has shown that mindfulness and kindness actually alter the behavior of genes. Now the university is poised to advance that science with today’s launch of the world’s first interdisciplinary research institute on kindness, which will explore, for instance, how and why being nice to others reduces depression and the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Its ultimate goal: to promote a more humane world.

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— State health officials are warning people to stop vaping immediately. In recent months, hundreds of people have been hospitalized across the nation with serious lung conditions that are suspected to be linked to vaping. In California, there have been two deaths.

— The L.A. businessman who faked his son’s water polo career to get him into USC was sentenced to four months in prison in the college admissions scandal. Devin Sloane had commissioned the elaborate staging and doctoring of photos of his son in a pool.

— Four fish-killing natural gas plants were supposed to be shut down, but now regulators may throw them a lifeline.

— The EPA is threatening to cut the state’s federal transportation funding as punishment for not submitting timely pollution-control plans.

— A man who says he escaped Democratic donor Ed Buck’s house after being drugged is struggling to put his life back together.


— “Fleabag” creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge signed a TV content deal with Amazon Studios, two days after her show won four Emmys.

Plácido Domingo is withdrawing from all future performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York following sexual harassment accusations. He is still under investigation by the L.A. Opera, where he is director.

— You may not have noticed in your post-Emmys haze, but a new fall TV season kicked off Monday. Our critic stayed up late to report back on four new network series.

Demi Moore delves into her sexual assault, her sobriety and her marriage to Ashton Kutcher and drops several bombshells in a new book.


— Britain’s Supreme Court dealt Prime Minister Boris Johnson a staggering blow Tuesday, unanimously ruling that he acted unlawfully in suspending Parliament earlier during a crucial countdown to Brexit.

— In a subdued speech, Trump used his third address to the United Nations General Assembly to urge world leaders to strengthen their borders and focus on nationalism.

China is celebrating the 70th anniversary next week of the founding of the People’s Republic of China with its biggest military parade, the better to project not only its might as a rising military power but also Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power within the Communist Party.


Off-label uses of niche drugs are leading to shortages — making them victims of their own success, and leaving hospitals to make tough choices about which patients can get them.

— Aviation regulators misled Congress about a whistleblower’s claim that many inspectors performing safety assessments on the now-grounded Boeing 737 Max airplane weren’t properly qualified, a government watchdog agency found.

WeWork‘s Adam Neumann has stepped down as chief executive after a plan to take the office-sharing company public hit a wall. Times deputy business editor Jeff Bercovici says the company’s biggest problem is it had too much money.


USC and UCLA are struggling to attract the region’s top football prospects.

LaMelo Ball is just 18, and he’s got a job Down Under right now. But Lonzo Ball‘s kid brother is slowly but surely climbing his way to becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft.

Albert Pujols’ 2,000th RBI ball has finally found a landing place — Cooperstown. A Detroit law student who retrieved it in the stands after the historic homer has donated it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his late infant son’s memory.

— For as viral as that video of a local hero taking a dig at Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor went, the former USC player kept it classy in his response.


— Trump’s insistence that critics of his migrant family separation policy are themselves “cruel and evil” is simply Orwellian, Scott Martelle writes.

— Columnist Robin Abcarian says Chanel Miller‘s memoir should be required reading for every cop, judge and prosecutor in America.


— New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger writes that the Trump administration was prepared to allow one of the paper’s journalists to be arrested in Egypt. Irish officials ultimately helped. (New York Times)

— Forty years ago, a U.S. satellite detected the telltale signs of a nuclear explosion. An analysis of the evidence today points to a clandestine test. (Foreign Policy)

— A new survey of 1,000 global CEOs looks at their positions on climate change and inequality. (Harvard Business Review)


“The nearest thing Los Angeles has ever had to a writer’s restaurant is Musso & Frank, where the likes of Bertolt Brecht, Thomas Mann and John O’Hara were fed and fostered by Mr. Musso and chef Jean Rue. Today elegant food is still served.” That’s how longtime food writer Lois Dwan described the Hollywood institution 50 years ago. On Friday, the restaurant turns 100. To celebrate, have a Martini (there are plenty of places in L.A.) and take a stroll through memory lane.

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