Newsletter: Claims of a White House cover-up

President Trump
President Trump in August.
(Associated Press)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Claims of a White House Cover-Up

The House Democrats’ impeachment investigation, centered on President Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to help him against political rival Joe Biden, has gained strength after a whistleblower’s extraordinary complaint became public. The nine-page, partially redacted document (read it here) details a string of allegations that Trump was hijacking U.S. foreign policy for personal gain and a claim that White House officials tried to “lock down” records of the president’s actions.


The news prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say it was an attempted “cover-up” — and drew furious reaction from Trump. Speaking at a private event, the president likened the whistleblower and White House aides who helped him or her as “almost a spy” and suggested it was treason, alluding to execution. (Listen to his remarks here.) By contrast, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire told Congress the whistleblower “did the right thing” and “followed the law every step of the way.”

Joseph Maguire
Joseph Maguire, acting director of national intelligence, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

More About the Scandal

— Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and one of Trump’s favorite targets, now finds himself as the face of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Timeline: the main events that led up to the impeachment inquiry and what has happened since the announcement.

News analysis: The Ukraine saga reveals how Trump has been aided and shielded by loyalists.

The EPA’s 1-2 Punch

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has warned California officials that the state is “failing” to meet federal water quality standards and threatened possible enforcement action if the state does not improve the way it deals with lead, arsenic and human waste in its water. Sound familiar? This week, the EPA threatened to cut federal transportation funding from the state as punishment for not submitting timely plans for controlling air pollution. The notices come after Trump had lashed out at California cities’ approach to the homelessness crisis.

Another Showdown With the Sheriff

The ongoing conflict between Los Angeles County’s most powerful elected officials has ramped up dramatically: Members of the Board of Supervisors are looking to curtail Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s spending authority amid concerns over his department’s ballooning budget shortfall. The board could force Villanueva into a spending “mitigation plan” to reduce a $63-million deficit, a fiscal excess largely fueled by deputy overtime. Look for a supervisors vote next week.

California, Here We Go?

A new poll of California’s registered voters finds that a little more than half have considered leaving the state. For the younger set, the biggest factor cited is the high cost of housing. For Republicans and conservative voters: taxes and the state’s liberal political climate.

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On this day in 1964, the Warren Commission found that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone when he assassinated President Kennedy in Dallas the year prior. The Times reported in the next day’s paper: “The seven-member panel concluded unanimously that Oswald, the murdered 24-year-old Marxist, planned and executed the ‘cruel and shocking’ slaying of Mr. Kennedy without assistance from any individual or group.” A separate story that day noted that the commission had found Oswald “profoundly alienated from the world in which he lived.”


— Health officials have abruptly halted all elective surgeries at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center after the discovery of mold contamination in a room used to sterilize surgical equipment.

Stewart and Lynda Resnick, founders of one of the nation’s biggest farm empires, have donated $750 million to Caltech for research into climate change and sustainability. One reason: “My grandkids … they would yell at me all the time, ‘How can you help with this? What are you doing about it?’ ”

— L.A. County transportation officials unanimously approved $4.4 million in funding for a high-speed internet system in the South Bay, over the objections of critics who said it should not qualify for transportation funding.

— The parents of Noah Cuatro, a 4-year-old Palmdale boy who was known to social workers and died under suspicious circumstances, have been arrested.


— Here’s what to do in L.A. and Orange County, including “Little Shop of Horrors,” a ukelele festival and an inventive staging of “Moby Dick.”

— Two recipes you should make for Rosh Hashana: a smoky eggplant galette and a vibrant apple-pomegranate slaw that more than live up to the title of their author’s cookbook.

— L.A. may be gray, but in the Sierra, fall colors are starting to emerge. Here are seven spots to discover your inner leaf peeper.

— Why not go Saturday? National parks and forests, plus some regional and state parks, will be free for National Public Lands Day.

— For something more Halloweeny than outdoorsy, try a haunted hotel and a creepy, castle-like former reform school that’s now a real-life haunted house.


Billy Joel‘s earworm “We Didn’t Start the Fire” turns 30 years old today. We checked in on the 59 people it references. All but five are dead.

— Film critic Kenneth Turan calls “Judy” one of Renee Zellweger’s best performances ever.

“Law & Order” finally has a podcast.

Patti Smith‘s new book, “Year of the Monkey,” is a deft and enigmatic narrative, less conventional memoir than impressionistic poetry, David L. Ulin writes in our review.


— The Trump administration plans to slash the number of refugees the U.S. will accept to 18,000 for next year. By comparison, in his last year in office, President Obama set the cap at 110,000.

— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on the hunt for a coalition partner to form a government. His odds don’t look great.

— As their election nears, Afghans say their country is being run by an insulated elite that enjoys protections they lack.

General Motors now says striking workers will get company-paid health insurance, nine days after telling the union the coverage would be cut off.


WeWork‘s Adam Neumann is out. So is Juul‘s Kevin Burns. Is this the twilight of the big-shot CEO?

Lionsgate has named Jeffrey Hirsch to lead its pay-TV network Starz.

— L.A. start-up Canoo is betting on a subscription service for electric vehicles, starting with a bulbous, breadbox-shaped van that can seat seven people — and still fit in a compact parking space.


Santa Anita opens its fall racing schedule today under intense scrutiny.

Melvin Gordon is officially back with the Chargers.

— Don’t expect Joe Kelly to pitch again for the Dodgers before Sunday. He says his “body’s not where I want it to be.”

— Here’s who Angels fans should root for in the postseason.


— Keeping L.A.'s streets clean shouldn’t mean banishing homeless encampments, The Times’ editorial board writes. It should mean treating homeless people humanely, giving them storage facilities, trash cans and mobile bathrooms.

— Trump’s impeachment trauma is well-deserved, columnist Robin Abcarian writes, calling his behavior “Nixon-level lawlessness.”


— The threat of impeachment is deepening Fox News’ identity crisis, and with its leadership riven, one man ultimately must referee. (Vanity Fair)

— If the Trump whistleblower’s identity is revealed, we might all regret it, given the history of retaliation such people face, writes the author of a book on whistleblowers. (Politico Magazine)

— The story of the first labradoodle and its creator’s lament: “I opened a Pandora’s box and released a Frankenstein’s monster.” (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)


One home is Eames-inspired. Another is surrounded by vines and bedecked with a crystal chandelier. A third is papered with $7.50-a-square-foot botanical block-print wallpaper, the better to camouflage the poop on the walls. Wait, what? These homes may be extravagant, but they’re not for human living. They’re fancy chicken coops.

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