Newsletter: Going to the transcripts

Ousted diplomat
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
(Mikhail Palinchak / Associated Press)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Going to the Transcripts

House committees that have conducted the impeachment inquiry into President Trump behind closed doors for the last six weeks have released the first two transcripts of witness testimony, and more could be on the way today.


The two depositions released Monday — of Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and Michael McKinley, a former senior aide to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo — flesh out the concerns of U.S. diplomats about the White House’s back-channel pressure on Ukraine’s government.

Meanwhile, four other White House officials defied subpoenas and refused to appear on Monday, It’s also unclear whether John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security advisor until September, will testify on Thursday, as lawmakers have requested.

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

The Trump administration has given official notice that it will pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord and has accelerated the pace of its environmental rollbacks for the country’s coal-fired power plants. But experts say Trump has inadvertently catalyzed a flurry of climate action among cities, states, businesses and other organizations over the past two years that could still reduce carbon emissions to avoid the worst effects of global warming. How much? Read on.


More Politics

— Trump says he wants to keep Syria’s oil. There are some problems with that, including that there isn’t much oil to keep.

— A federal appeals court in New York has ruled that Trump’s tax returns can be turned over to state criminal investigators by his personal accountant, but the ruling is almost certain to be appealed.

E. Jean Carroll, an advice columnist who has accused Trump of raping her in a New York City department store dressing room in the 1990s, has sued, saying he defamed her by calling her a liar whom he had never even met.


The New Face of Election Interference

Election officials and social media firms already flummoxed by hackers, trolls and bots are bracing for a potentially more potent weapon of disinformation as the 2020 election approaches: “deep fakes,” the doctored videos that can be nearly impossible to detect as inauthentic.

Today, leaders in artificial intelligence plan to unveil a tool to push back — it includes scanning software that UC Berkeley has been developing in partnership with the U.S. military, which the industry will start providing to journalists and political operatives. But it’s only one part of a complex equation.

Leaving for Redder Pastures


A recent poll found that just over half of California’s registered voters have considered leaving the state, with Republicans and conservative voters nearly three times as likely as their Democratic or liberal counterparts to have seriously thought about it. Here are the stories of some who’ve actually made the leap.

A Post-Earthquake Preview

Last month’s massive planned power shut-offs in California didn’t just cause an array of problems and inconveniences. Significant interruptions of cellphone service meant that customers couldn’t receive evacuation alerts when they needed them. That’s raised questions about how prepared the state is for future electric shut-offs and other public safety emergencies, such as a major earthquake.

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On this date in 1932, officers of the Beverly Hills Police Department gathered for their semiannual inspection.

A brief story in the next morning’s Times explained that “uniformed officers of the Beverly Hills Police Department yesterday assembled the thirty beat men and radio patrolmen who safeguard the peace and order of the unique metropolis where a majority of the motion-picture celebrities reside.”


Nov. 5, 1932: Members of the Beverly Hills Police Department at Beverly Hills City Hall, during inspection.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)


— When L.A. officials decided to toss out millions of citations and warrants in early October, they hailed it as a boon for homeless people. But weeks after the announcement, it has become clear that the amnesty program is unlikely to lead to a total end to criminal consequences for low-level offenses by homeless people.

— In Long Beach, the mother of a toddler who was struck and killed while trick-or-treating on Halloween night has become the third member of her family to die after they were hit in a suspected DUI crash.


— After days of complaints over long lines and long waits, Los Angeles International Airport will significantly expand the new pickup lot for Uber, Lyft and taxis. How long have the waits been? See for yourself.

— Today is election day for many municipalities. San Francisco Mayor London Breed seems to be heading to an easy reelection, but there’s a long list of problems to solve.


— Director Kasi Lemmons and actress Cynthia Erivo discuss “Harriet,” a biopic about the runaway slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman. “It’s a freedom story.”


— The bestselling Philip Pullman fantasy trilogy “His Dark Materials” is getting a new lease on life with an HBO series.

— Nigeria’s first-ever submission for best international feature Oscar consideration, the comedy “Lionheart,” has been disqualified by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for having too much dialogue in English.

“BoJack Horseman” creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg has much to say about the current state of Hollywood.



Milwaukee police arrested a man suspected of throwing battery acid on a Latino man who says his attacker asked him, “Why did you come here and invade my country?”

James Stern, a black activist who took control of one of the nation’s largest neo-Nazi groups — and vowed to dismantle it — has died at 55.

— At least five U.S. citizens, including four children, who lived in the Mexican border state of Sonora have been killed in a shooting attack, relatives said.

Iran has broken further away from the collapsing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers by announcing it’s doubling the number of advanced centrifuges it operates, calling the decision a direct result of Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement.



— “It shouldn’t surprise anyone that businesses use ‘secret’ scores to grade consumers on a variety of factors, including creditworthiness and likelihood of declaring bankruptcy,” writes consumer columnist David Lazarus. “But the more insidious part of the equation is the largely unregulated industry of data brokers that make billions.”

— Saudi Arabia is pulling out all the stops to ensure the success of Aramco’s initial public offering after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman finally decided to offer shares in the world’s largest oil producer.



— As Anthony Davis returns to face the Bulls in his hometown of Chicago, he is playing for a title contender in the Lakers for the first time in his career.

— Former UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi wonders whether her viral moment could have been profitable under a new California law.


— Who is the whistleblower? It doesn’t matter!


— Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a lot more like Trump than you might think, writes columnist Jonah Goldberg.


— Are the Democratic presidential candidates “living in a fantasy world”? (New York Magazine)

— “I accidentally uncovered a nationwide scam on Airbnb.” (Vice)



Model, cookbook author and TV host Chrissy Teigen has a new website devoted to all the things she likes to cook and eat. Among its features is her list of where to eat in Los Angeles.

“I appreciate that the Chrissy Teigen food pyramid includes ‘fried chicken’ and ‘sushi,’ ” Times food writer Jenn Harris notes. “But I’ve got some issues with the rest of this list.”

The story did not go unnoticed. Teigen responded to her 11.9 million Twitter followers: “Anyhoo I’m not a food critic. I love food. I love to cook it. I don’t go out much. I love home. The list is an honest list places that we love when I DO get dressed, and doesn’t mean more!”


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