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Newsletter: Why so many roads still lead to Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump meet at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump meet at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

Why So Many Roads Still Lead to Russia

When the House Judiciary Committee began its historic session last night night to consider two articles of impeachment against President Trump, one issue went largely unspoken: Russia.

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Yet almost every aspect of the Ukraine scandal is tied to Moscow’s interference in U.S. politics, Trump’s scorched-earth battle for political survival, and his conspicuous solicitousness toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Indeed, the scheme at the center of the impeachment proceedings began as an attempt to defend the president against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.

More From Washington

— The Justice Department’s internal watchdog, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, went before a Senate committee to push back strongly at Trump and other critics who have rejected his conclusion that the FBI was justified in starting a counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 into whether the Trump campaign was cooperating with Russia.

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— Congress has reached a deal on a spending bill that would require the military to stop using toxic firefighting foam — but it also abandons an effort to enact tougher regulations on the chemicals in them, known as PFAS, which are contaminating Americans’ drinking water.

— A key House Democrat wants to shut down the Trump administration’s system to detect biological attacks, citing “serious concerns” about the technology’s failures and pointing to The Times’ investigation earlier this year.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) underwent surgery in Washington to have a heart stent placed after having chest pains, his chief of staff said.

When Language Barriers Can Be Deadly

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L.A. is home to a multitude of languages, including a wide array of indigenous languages common in immigrant communities. Later this month, L.A. Police Department officers will begin carrying pocket cards that can help them identify indigenous languages such as Q’anjob’al and Zapotec, and if necessary, call an interpreter. It comes nine years after the fatal police shooting of a Guatemalan man who spoke K’iché but was ordered to drop a weapon in English and Spanish.

Mexico’s Culture War

A cereal box-sized painting that challenges the masculine image of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata by portraying him nude and in high heels has triggered a violent backlash, as well as a discussion about free speech and tolerance for diverse representations of gender and sexuality. Artist Fabián Cháirez completed the painting in 2013, but its installation in a prominent government-curated exhibition has set off the firestorm in recent days.

Sticking the Landing

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She’s been in “American Horror Story,” “Black Panther,” “Rampage” and “Watchmen,” as well as the upcoming Clint Eastwood film “Richard Jewell.” You may know Sadiqua Bynum’s name better from her decorated gymnastics career at UCLA. But these days, Bynum is breaking through as one of the youngest and most successful black stuntwomen in Hollywood.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES

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This photo of two little girls watching the animated Christmas activities in a downtown Los Angeles department store window appeared in the Dec. 12, 1949, Los Angeles Times. The caption at the time said that “children often had a hard time getting through all the adults” who were similarly transfixed. Here’s another photo from the following year.

December 1949: Two little girls watch the animated Christmas activities in a downtown Los Angeles department store window. This photo was published in the Dec. 12, 1949, Los Angeles Times.
(Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— California and other states are preparing to erase tens of thousands of marijuana convictions from people’s criminal records — a key part of a progressive effort to right the wrongs of a decades-old drug war.

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Toll lanes could be coming to a bunch of freeways in Orange County.

— Federal authorities arrested six protesters, including two doctors, outside a Border Patrol facility near San Diego. Migrant advocates have been pushing authorities to let doctors give flu shots to detained kids.

— Bel-Air’s Chartwell estate, perhaps better known as “The Beverly Hillbillies” mansion, has just sold for about $150 million, a new California price record.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

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— The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations are out, and the biggest surprise might be the momentum “Parasite” is picking up in the Oscars race as a result. Though Bong Joon Ho’s film is acclaimed, Hollywood awards rarely give foreign-language films the big prizes. Here are all the movie and TV nominees.

Harvey Weinstein has reached a $47-million settlement with his sexual assault accusers and his creditors, lawyers involved say. Meanwhile, as he awaits trial, his bail was raised from $1 million to $5 million over allegations he mishandled his electronic ankle monitor.

— How Lizzo became the one thing everybody loved this year.

NATION-WORLD

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— Fears that a deadly shooting at a Jewish market in Jersey City was an anti-Semitic attack are growing after authorities recounted how a man and woman deliberately pulled up in a stolen rental van with at least one rifle and got out firing.

Britons went to the polls today in a bitterly divisive national election that could help propel the country out of the European Union, prolong a debilitating Brexit impasse, or give a glimmer of hope to those who want to remain part of the 28-nation bloc.

Israel is heading for its third elections in less than a year after its parliament failed to name a consensus candidate for prime minister.

— Underscoring her fall from grace, Aung San Suu Kyi called reports of genocide “misleading” a day after a tribunal heard damning accounts of atrocities inflicted on Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

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— Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Time magazine’s youngest Person of the Year.

BUSINESS

— After three successive interest rate cuts, the Federal Reserve has signaled it will probably keep its key interest rate unchanged through all of next year. That may be easier said than done.

— After the first deadly Boeing 737 Max crash, the Federal Aviation Administration estimated there could be 15 more if Boeing didn’t fix a crucial flight-control system, a newly disclosed analysis shows — yet it didn’t ground the plane until after a second crash months later.

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SPORTS

— Major League Baseball and its players’ union have agreed on a new drug policy that adds opioid testing and won’t punish marijuana use.

— The Angels have signed elite third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245-million contract.

— The Dodgers are signing relief pitcher Blake Treinen to a one-year, $10-million deal, people familiar with the matter say.

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— Mike Bohn’s old Cincinnati colleague Brandon Sosna is joining him at USC as senior associate athletic director.

OPINION

— The intrusive Kentucky abortion law the Supreme Court has just let stand endangers not only women’s rights but also medical ethics, biomedical ethicist Ruth Faden writes.

— Given the serious threat of rising seas, California must work with urgency with local governments and state agencies to forge strategies to adapt, the editorial board writes.

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WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— We know what he did this summer: Donald Trump Jr. went to Mongolia, got special treatment from the government and killed an endangered argali sheep. (ProPublica)

— For black fans in Baltimore, the success of quarterback Lamar Jackson “resonates way beyond football.” (The Undefeated)

— A new book reconsiders Michelangelo‘s architecture and personal life. (Literary Review)

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ONLY IN L.A.

Here is some mammoth news on the La Brea Tar Pits’ new digs: Three fiberglass mammoths that have inhabited the Lake Pit since the late 1960s will be staying put in the winning proposal to redesign the tar pits park, museum and research site. One of the plans that had been under consideration would have moved them inside. Instead, visitors will get a new vantage point to contemplate the fate of a fake mammoth sinking into a tar pit that isn’t really a tar pit but a man-made lake.

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