Newsletter: That quid pro quo

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland arrives at a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Oct. 17. The transcript of his deposition was released Tuesday.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland arrives at a closed session before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees on Oct. 17. The transcript of his deposition, and a subsequent revision statement, was released Tuesday.
(Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA/Shutterstock)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


That Quid Pro Quo

Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union and a key defender of President Trump in the impeachment inquiry, has revised his statement to House impeachment investigators. Documents show that Sondland said that other witnesses had “refreshed my recollection” and that he now remembers telling a Ukrainian official that nearly $400 million in American aid would probably not be released unless the country publicly committed to conducting investigations that Trump wanted.


His new account undercuts White House officials who have repeatedly pointed to Sondland’s testimony that he did not believe there was quid pro quo. And as one of the few impeachment witnesses so far who had direct access to Trump, Sondland cannot be dismissed as a so-called Never Trumper.

During his original Oct. 17 deposition, Sondland also testified that demands from Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, “kept getting more insidious.”

More Politics

Democrats have won full control of the Virginia Legislature for the first time in more than two decades, while the race for governor in deeply Republican Kentucky was too close to call despite a last-minute boost from Trump.

Juli Briskman, the woman who lost her job after displaying her middle finger at Trump’s motorcade, has won a seat on a county board of supervisors in Virginia.

— A number of California municipalities held elections on Tuesday. Here are the latest results for L.A. County and California Assembly District 1.


Mormons With a Past in Mexico

Trump has called for a “war” against Mexico’s increasingly powerful criminal groups after nine U.S. citizens were killed Monday when their vehicles were ambushed by gunmen in northern Mexico. The six women and three children who died included descendants of a fundamentalist Mormon community that has lived in Mexico for decades. Some of the victims shared the last name LeBaron. Here’s a closer look at the LeBaron family’s history. A suspect has been arrested and is under investigation for possible connections with the deaths.

Big Changes on USC’s Board

After a series of scandals over the last few years, USC trustees have approved far-reaching changes to their governing board. Among the plans are to dramatically reduce the board’s size, impose term and age limits, diversify membership and limit the ability of the university president and board chair to handpick members of the powerful executive committee. Will the reforms be enough? Read on.

Dancing to Deal With the Grief

Thursday will mark the first anniversary of the Borderline Bar & Grill massacre, the shooting that killed 12 people at the Thousand Oaks club. Since then, the city has assigned a police officer to each victim’s family to make sure no need goes unmet and hosted memorials. One of the most poignant tributes has come in the form of a line dancing club, founded by one of the victims and now carried forward by survivors.


The Mess at LAX

Getting to and from Los Angeles International Airport has never been easy, and its new LAXit system for Uber, Lyft and taxis has brought even more turmoil — so much so that airport officials have announced that they will expand a new pickup area starting today. For some businesses, the chaos is creating burdens. For others, it presents opportunity.

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


On this date in 1974, Jerry Brown would give a victory speech after having defeated Republican Houston Flournoy by about 175,000 votes out of 6 million cast for his first go-around as governor of California.

“Brown served notice he would take a hard line on spending proposals,” The Times reported. “ ‘People want a new spirit,’ he told newsmen, ‘but they don’t want to pay more taxes to achieve it.’‘’

Nov. 6, 1974: Gov.-elect Jerry Brown talks with reporters at his campaign headquarters in Los Angeles shortly before giving his victory speech.
(Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times)


— The DMV suffered what it called a data breach that let federal agencies, including immigration authorities, improperly access the Social Security information of 3,200 drivers.


— Expect California’s fire season to last through December, with the rainy season starting late, a new report suggests.

— A grand jury has handed down a 16-charge indictment for a man accused of killing a father in last year’s Malibu campground shooting and of other attacks in the area dating back to 2016.

— An AIDS foundation that has fought with L.A. over real estate development and slammed its handling of homelessness is now suing the city, saying it was improperly turned down for funding to house homeless people.


— The internet clamor over Keanu Reeves’ LACMA appearance with longtime collaborator Alexandra Grant neglected one small thing: They’ve been holding hands for years.

— Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” isn’t just a nearly flawless elegy for a beautifully flawed couple, our critic Justin Chang writes. It’s also one of the year’s best movies about acting.


ABC News denies that it killed reporting on Jeffrey Epstein.

Lupita Nyong’o talked with us about how ballet helped her unlock the mysteries of her double characters in Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us.”


— An anti-Semite and white supremacist was arrested in Colorado and accused of plotting to bomb a synagogue.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said she has Chinese President Xi Jinping’s backing in her handling of months-long anti-government protests. Beijing has been signaling it might tighten its grip on the semiautonomous territory.

— Meanwhile, Beijing has a condition for Trump in agreeing to an interim trade deal: Drop the tariffs. Whether he’ll oblige is another matter.



— Two rival experts agree: Our 401(k)s haven’t helped us save enough for retirement.

— The self-driving Uber test car that hit and killed a woman in Arizona last year wasn’t programmed to recognize pedestrians, documents show.


LeBron James led the Lakers with his third triple-double in a row in a victory over the Chicago Bulls, in which Lakers’ reserves also played a big role.

— This offseason, the Dodgers should focus on truths, not beliefs, columnist Bill Plaschke writes.

— Chairman Dean Spanos says there’s no truth to a report that the Chargers are considering a move to London: “We’re not going anywhere.”



— Yes, “OK boomer” stings, but take it from (boomer) critic Mary McNamara: “This is exactly how it’s supposed to work. Social progression is fueled in large part by generational tension.”

— Trump is officially pulling the U.S. out of the Paris accord. Now Republicans need a playbook for curbing climate change, writes law professor Jonathan H. Adler.


— “The porch pirate of Potrero Hill can’t believe it came to this.” (The Atlantic)

— Why do so many purebred pets in China end up homeless? (RadiiChina)



Tear it down. That’s the fate L.A. city prosecutors want for a boondoggle of an unfinished Bel-Air megamansion that for years has been at the center of criminal charges, court battles and an FBI investigation. Until recently, the city had been working to bring it in line with codes with the help of developer Mohamed Hadid — better known for his stint on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and his supermodel daughters Gigi and Bella — but that changed last week when a structural engineer found that structures supporting it were deficient.

Hadid pleaded no contest two years ago to criminal charges tied to the behemoth building, which the city said was far bigger than allowed and had bedrooms, decks and an IMAX theater that were never approved. But prosecutors’ new push is welcome news to neighbors suing to try to get it torn down, saying it puts them at risk downhill. “You still have this horrendous thing hanging over the hillside,” one said in 2017. His nickname for it: the Starship Enterprise.

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at