Newsletter: A House committee divided

Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee began sparring over the articles of impeachment against President Trump on Thursday.


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


A House Committee Divided

Fourteen hours of vitriolic debate on Thursday did virtually nothing to change the minds of Democrats and Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee. Now, after a surprise move to push the vote from last night to this morning, the committee is poised to approve two articles of impeachment against President Trump along strictly partisan lines. That would send them to the full House for a vote, probably next week.


Meanwhile, top Republicans in the Senate are refining their approach to an impeachment trial. Trump would like it to be a weeks-long spectacle in an effort to seek political retribution against Democrats. But GOP leaders appear determined to conduct a relatively brief trial, possibly without calling witnesses.

And in Ukraine, more than $20 million of the Pentagon aid at the center of the impeachment fight still hasn’t reached the embattled country. The delay undermines a key argument against impeachment from Trump’s allies and a new legal memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

More Politics

— An official says Trump will not impose new tariffs on an additional $160 billion of Chinese imports that were scheduled to take effect this weekend after tentatively signing off on a so-called phase-one trade agreement with Beijing.

— Trump lashed out at 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg a day after she was named by Time as its Person of the Year, calling her selection “ridiculous.”

— No #Bernieblackout here: Sen. Bernie Sanders, a leading Democratic presidential candidate, is riding a surge in alternative media on the left.


Will This ‘Get Brexit Done’?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party appears to have won a decisive parliamentary majority in Thursday’s election, putting the country on track for a split with the European Union early next year. If the results are borne out, they mark a decisive victory for Johnson, who campaigned with the slogan “Get Brexit Done.”

When Recognition Is Not Enough

In a landmark vote, the U.S. Senate has joined the House in recognizing the Armenian genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks a century ago. The resolution had previously been blocked three times at the request of the White House.

In Southern California, home to the nation’s largest Armenian American community, many say the fight for that acknowledgment binds Armenians across the globe. Yet activists say recognition is only part of the equation. Some want reparations from Turkey — a shift that’s come as many survivors have died and their children have taken up the cause.

A Cautionary Tale From Down Under

What might a catastrophic earthquake in California look like? The one that shattered Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2011 offers some urgent lessons, given the many similarities between the two. The recovery in Christchurch has been painfully slow — yet recovery from a huge quake in Southern California or the Bay Area would be many times more challenging.

That’s one of five lessons reporter Rong Gong-Lin II took from his visit to New Zealand. Among the others: That California doesn’t have enough insurance. That the warnings about dangerous buildings aren’t overblown. And that the emotional scars will last for years.

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This time-exposure photograph, taken on this date in 1988, captures the passing of nighttime traffic on Sunset Boulevard near Horn Avenue, back when the famous Tower Records store was still open. Built in 1971, the Tower Records building was for decades a center of activity in the vibrant music scene of the Sunset Strip, until it closed in 2006.

Dec. 13, 1988: The bright lights beckon night visitors to the famous Sunset Strip.
(Scott Robinson / Los Angeles Times)


— California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Reps. Salud Carbajal and Julia Brownley have proposed sweeping boat safety legislation after the Conception dive boat fire that killed 34 people on Labor Day.

— A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction to block Los Angeles from enforcing a law requiring companies that seek contracts with the city to disclose whether they have ties to the National Rifle Assn.

Deborah Flint, the chief of Los Angeles World Airports, will step down at the end of this month after questions from The Times about whether she received proper approval to accept a paid board position at Honeywell International.

— A Los Angeles police officer accused of fondling a dead woman’s breasts was arrested and charged.

Drought busters: New data show that recent rains have reduced the portion of the state deemed to be abnormally dry to just 3.6%.


— Thinking of taking SuperShuttle to the airport? The shared van ride that has served passengers for decades will cease operations at the end of the year.

— There’s a new cruise ship designed expressly for the L.A. market.

— Spend a holiday weekend in San Juan Capistrano that will make you feel as if you’re in a Hallmark Christmas movie.

— The Santa Monica restaurant Pasjoli marks a return to grand French dining.

— The easiest holiday recipes start at Costco. Because of course. Here’s a menu of fast dishes.


— The director, writer and star of “Black Christmas” talk about how it became a “fiercely feminist” slasher movie for the #MeToo era.

— From Susan Orlean to Laila Lalami to Ronan Farrow, the authors who spoke with the L.A. Times Book Club this year told us about the best books they read this year, and what they’re up to next year.

— A new documentary about Pauline Kael lets the legendary film critic speak her mind.

— Actress Monica Ruiz, the star of a much-criticized Peloton bike commercial, is blaming her facial expression for the ad’s unwanted notoriety.


— The Pentagon’s internal watchdog is investigating a $400-million border wall contract awarded to a firm that used appearances on Fox News to push for the job.

— Spanish sex workers’ fight for union rights is reigniting an old feminist debate.

— Why are the French so fond of protesting?


— Power plants in Redondo Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Oxnard have become an early battleground in an increasingly urgent debate: How much natural gas does California need on its power grid, and for how long?

— The Los Angeles Times’ sprawling downtown printing plant has been sold to a New York real estate developer.

— How could a tiny brewery outside Chicago buy an industry icon once worth $1 billion? The story of the Ballast Point deal involves 9/11, golf, a desperate seller and plenty of secrecy agreements.


— Former NBA Commissioner David Stern, the man often credited with shepherding the league’s rapid growth in the 1980s, has suffered a brain hemorrhage.

— Facing a crisis over a spike in racehorse deaths, California is closer to adopting the nation’s most restrictive racing whip rule.

— Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey knows what he’s up against in Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper.


— Medicare and Medicaid chief Seema Verma just may be the Trump administration’s greatest threat to public health programs, Michael Hiltzik writes.

Birds are vanishing from North America. There’s a way to bring them back, writes naturalist Joan Easton Lentz.


— “That was the last little hope I had in my life, you know? I had that hope that I was gonna see my little brothers again.” Dontay Davis’ younger siblings were driven off a cliff to their deaths by their adoptive mother. He was left in foster care to suffer a more common fate. (Washington Post)

— How Instagram and plastic surgery created a cyborgian new beauty standard, and what it does each time we look in the mirror. (The New Yorker)

— For years, the Fed thought the jobs market was about as good as it could get. This interactive chart shows how wrong it was. (New York Times)


The city of Los Angeles has 223,000 streetlights, but only a fraction are of the high-style variety. Perhaps not surprisingly, the lights in more affluent areas have some of the most distinctive looks. Now, officials have begun a design contest for a new streetlamp, one that places a premium on high design and great accessibility — and offers a space for poetry.

For the record: An item in Tuesday’s newsletter incorrectly stated that Sanna Marin would be the world’s youngest sitting head of state upon becoming Finland’s prime minister. She is the world’s youngest sitting head of government. In Finland, the president is head of state.

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