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World & Nation

Newsletter: An act of defiance

The White House puts out its most defiant statement yet in the face of an impeachment inquiry.

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An Act of Defiance

Blocked testimony. A blistering letter. Mean tweets. President Trump and his administration are making it clear they won’t go along with the House impeachment inquiry.

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Hours after stopping a top diplomat from speaking before Congress, the White House issued a combative eight-page letter (read it here) that sets the stage for a direct constitutional clash between the two coequal branches of government. It could go to the Supreme Court.

The letter blasted the inquiry as “constitutionally illegitimate,” while Trump tweeted it was being run by a “kangaroo court.” Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff, whom GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz called “a malicious Captain Kangaroo,” says the White House is arguing that Trump is “above the law.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s response to Trump: “You will be held accountable.”

More Politics

— House Democrats are considering additional measures to protect the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint spurred the impeachment inquiry, according to the Washington Post. A remote location and obscuring the person’s face or voice are being looked at.

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— A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is urging Trump to warn the public about efforts by foreign governments to interfere in U.S. elections and take steps to thwart attempts by hostile nations to use social media to meddle in the 2020 presidential contest.

Turkey said it will go ahead with a military operation in northeastern Syria and won’t bow to threats over its Syria plans, an apparent reply to Trump’s warning to limit the scope of its expected assault.

— Sen. Dianne Feinstein has officially endorsed Joe Biden for president, snubbing her fellow Golden State senator, Kamala Harris.

An Early Supreme Court Surprise

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday on whether to make it illegal under federal law for companies and public agencies to fire employees solely because they are gay, lesbian or transgender. While the justices sounded closely split and a bit uncertain, the one with the likely deciding vote may come as a surprise: Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. Trump’s first appointee to the high court described the case as “really close.”

One Response to the Housing Crisis

Millions of Californians will for the first time have new safeguards against large rent increases starting Jan. 1 after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation capping annual rent hikes for the next decade. Under the new law, most increases will be limited to 5% plus inflation and tenants will receive protections against being evicted without cause. Here’s how it works.

Final LAX-it

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When Los Angeles International Airport announced it would stop curbside pickups by Uber, Lyft or taxi starting Oct. 29, some said it was about the only way to make LAX worse. Officials insist the move — which requires travelers to walk or take a shuttle to a waiting area — could halve the time it takes to leave the terminals. But whether it succeeds or fails could depend on lessons learned from a similar change in San Francisco. Curious how it will work? This shows you how to handle LAX-it. (Yes, the system is really called that.)

As Fate Would Have It

It’s been 31 years since the Dodgers won a World Series. Tonight, the hopes of this year’s team are on the line, as the decisive Game 5 of their National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals takes place. Before the first pitch, spend some time reading this story from author Gregory Orfalea about Rick Dempsey, a member of the Dodgers’ 1988 championship team, and Jim Loll, one of the greatest high school athletes you never heard of: “I was their classmate and, for a time, teammate. I knew them both — Rick and Jim — was awed by them both. I’d like to sing of the man who was unsung.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

On this day in 1973, Elvis and Priscilla Presley got divorced, agreeing to a $1.5-million settlement and ending a six-year marriage. Times photographer George Fry shot the exclusive images after getting a tip that the erstwhile couple was in Santa Monica court. He introduced himself, and they agreed to photos after the hearing. They emerged “smiling and smooching,” Fry said. ”They were still great friends.”

Oct. 9, 1973: Elvis and Priscilla Presley leave Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica after their divorce is granted by a judge.
Oct. 9, 1973: Elvis and Priscilla Presley leave Los Angeles County Superior Court in Santa Monica after their divorce is granted by a judge.
(George R. Fry / Los Angeles Times)
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CALIFORNIA

— In an unprecedented move, Pacific Gas & Electric said it will shut off power to about 800,000 customers across Northern California in an attempt to avoid wildfires caused by winds damaging power equipment. Southern California Edison announced it, too, was considering preventive power outages.

Los Angeles police officers search blacks and Latinos far more often than whites during traffic stops, even though whites are more likely to be found with illegal items, a Times analysis has found.

— A whistleblower lawsuit alleges the L.A. County assessor’s office has given favorable treatment to connected taxpayers, allowing them to pay lower property taxes for years and costing the county millions of dollars in lost revenue.

— A great white shark left behind two great big teeth after chomping into a scuba diver’s kayak off Catalina Island near Camp Emerald Bay. His fitness tracker memorialized the encounter: “My heart jumped at 4:30 exactly.”

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— It’s been 25 years since the film “Natural Born Killers” hit theaters. Director Oliver Stone and star Juliette Lewis recently discussed its legacy in the context of ultra-violence and media hysteria.

Netflix is facing the biggest challenge in its history. But is it worried about the streaming wars?

— There’s still plenty of room at the Hotel California: The Eagles will perform their definitive 1976 album in its entirety on their 2020 tour, which will conclude with two Los Angeles stops in April.

NATION-WORLD

Montgomery, Ala., a capital city once known as the cradle of the Confederacy and later the birthplace of the civil rights movement, has elected Steven Reed as its first African American mayor.

— Opponents of the Pebble Mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay have sued the Trump administration, saying officials broke the law when they reversed course and gave a green light to the proposed copper and gold mine.

— Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned that the Chinese military could step in if an uprising demanding democratic reforms that has rocked the city for months “becomes so bad,” but said the government still hopes to resolve the crisis itself.

BUSINESS

— The gamer known as Blitzchung was punished by Blizzard Entertainment over a Hong Kong protest. The incident shows China’s sway over U.S. companies.

— Consumer columnist David Lazarus reports on a man whose doctors ordered an emergency flight by air ambulance, but his insurer wouldn’t pay.

SPORTS

— The Lakers have arrived in Shanghai without much fanfare amid the NBA-China dispute.

Damian Lillard, a.k.a. Dame D.O.L.L.A., is trying to beat the rap against athlete rappers.

OPINION

— Trump’s Syria fiasco shows the president at his worst, The Times Editorial Board writes.

— Sen. Lindsey Graham is setting up his own Rudy Giuliani sideshow.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Tania Culver Humphrey says her father, Mercy Corps founder Ellsworth Culver, sexually abused her for years. Where was Mercy Corps? (The Oregonian)

— Trump’s tall tale about the military being out of ammunition shows how his stories evolve. (Vox)

ONLY IN L.A.

On Craigslist, you can find just about anything. Looking for a football coach from UCLA? “We are selling a used Chip Kelly in broken condition,” reads one ad inspired by the team’s woes. “This antique might still have some value as a fun Christmas present for your ailing, desperate, and gullible football program. It comes pre-loaded with 100 snarky quotes like ‘the wishbone was successful too’ and ‘we’re just trying to have a good Monday.’ “

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