Newsletter: Prepping for Trump’s trial

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), while introducing House managers for the impeachment trial of President Trump in the Senate, cautions, “What is at stake here is the Constitution of the United States.”

The Senate will begin work ahead of President Trump’s impeachment trial, with hints that more evidence may be on the way.


Prepping for Trump’s Trial

Pretrial proceedings are expected to get underway in the Senate today after the House transmitted two articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Yet even before today’s swearing-in ceremonies could begin, freshly appointed House managers were predicting that newly released evidence against Trump — with more possibly to come — would complicate Republican hopes of reaching a speedy conclusion.


In an interview on MSNBC, Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said, “President Trump knew exactly what was going on. He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani, or the president.”

Arguments from House managers and White House lawyers could begin as soon as Tuesday, after senators vote to establish a set of rules and procedures.

One aspect still to be determined: how much media access will be granted. Broadcast and cable TV networks have issued a joint request to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requesting that they be able to use C-SPAN cameras for coverage, rather than the current plan for a video feed with a restricted view of the floor debates.

More Politics

— Trump signed a trade deal with China that will keep many tariffs on Chinese goods. The president turned the signing into rambling hour-plus monologue.

— Frenemies? The feud between Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren is reshaping the Democratic race for president.

— Democratic presidential candidate Michael R. Bloomberg said he wouldn’t release women from confidentiality agreements they’d signed relating to allegations of a hostile work environment at his company.

A Road to Safety, Paved With Hard Choices

The rich left by plane and the middle class left by bus. But Venezuela’s poor were left with few options as the economy collapsed, food grew scarce and electricity cut out. So they walked. Each day, an estimated 5,000 people flee in one of the biggest mass migrations in modern history.

The caminantes include women, children and the elderly, and they travel a brutal path to Bucaramanga, Colombia, and beyond for jobs, food and medicine. The Times spent five days documenting their stories. One migrant said: “We either try to make it to another country or we die.”

A Colombian police officer monitors Venezuelans crossing the border from San Antonio del Táchira into Colombia through illegal paths near the Simón Bolívar International Bridge.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Fuel Dump Fallout

A recording of radio transmissions between a Delta Air Lines pilot and air traffic controllers is raising more questions about why the pilot showered fuel over a large swath of populated neighborhoods in L.A. this week.

“OK, so you don’t need to hold to dump fuel or anything like that?” one controller asks the pilot. The response: “Negative.” Less than 20 minutes later the jet doused children on a playground and sparked outrage in a community that’s been at the center of environmental injustices for decades.

A Reporter’s Path to the Truth

Bill Cosby is someone many people thought they knew. Then dozens of women accused him of drugging them and of engaging in sexual misconduct. In an era before #MeToo, it took years of dedicated reporting for America to listen. Journalist Nicki Weisensee Egan spent 15 years covering the allegations against Cosby. In “Chasing Cosby,” a new podcast from the Los Angeles Times, she spotlights the women who fought to share their stories.


On this day in 1929, Paramount was supposed to be celebrating a brand new movie studio, built just for “talkies.” But the cutting-edge space for making films with sound went up in flames before its grand opening.

According to The Times, the studio spent $450,000 to build it (That’s about $6.76 million in 2019 money). When faulty electrical work lit flames, the new soundproof material “caused dense smoke and sparks to rise in a huge column over the studios.” Five firemen and three civilian workers were injured battling the blaze as crowds watched from Melrose Avenue. Read on for more of the dramatic tale.

Jan. 16, 1929: Paramount-Lasky film plant goes up in smoke. Fire destroys the new sound-proof talking picture stage of the Paramount-Famous-Lasky studios on Melrose Ave. This photo appeared in the Jan. 17, 1929, Los Angeles Times.


— As an investigation into allegations that officers with the LAPD’s elite Metro unit falsely portrayed people as gang members, leaders have millions of recordings to review from more than 7,000 body cameras.

— A year before the college admissions scandal broke, USC questioned whether Lori Loughlin’s daughters were really athletes.

— A federal judge has revoked the bail of L.A. attorney Michael Avenatti and ordered him jailed while awaiting trial on three indictments, saying new allegations of fraud and money laundering show he poses a danger to the public.

— State Supreme Court Justice Ming W. Chin says he will step down on Aug. 31 after 25 years. His retirement gives Gov. Gavin Newsom his first opportunity to fill a seat on the state’s top court. Chin, 77, is the court’s first Chinese American justice and is considered its most conservative member.

— Southern California’s first winter storm of the new year is expected to unleash rain, gusty wind and mountain snow, which could lead to road closures, including the Grapevine.


— Actress Zoe Kazan stuns the Television Critics Assn. with emotional remarks on her grandfather’s role in the Hollywood blacklist.

— For new Grammys boss Deborah Dugan, change is (mostly) good. After all, leading the Recording Academy can be a thankless job.

— Meet the Alphabet Rockers. These Oakland kids rap about gender nonconformity and the Grammys have noticed.

— The 250th birthday tributes to Beethoven have begun, and music critic Mark Swed says the results so far have been mixed.

Enjoying this newsletter?

Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


— NASA and NOAA say 2019 was the second-warmest year since scientists began taking temperatures in 1880. The past decade was the warmest in modern human history. Organizers of next week’s gathering of elites in Davos say environmental issues are now considered to be the top five long-term risks confronting the global economy.

— A San Diego federal judge ruled that asylum seekers who fear returning to Mexico must be allowed access to attorneys to argue their cases. The rulings center on a crucial interview process that determines whether asylum seekers will wait in the U.S. or Mexico during their immigration cases.

— Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed sweeping constitutional changes that could ultimately consolidate his long-term grip on power. It was a dramatic step that was swiftly followed by the resignation of the prime minister and his entire government.

Iran’s top diplomat has acknowledged that Iranians “were lied to” for days after the Islamic Republic accidentally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner.


— Your $14 salad isn’t as eco-friendly as it’s advertised. But Santa Monica-based Sweetgreen hasn’t stopped trying to make fast-casual lunch sustainable.

— Remember DVDs? Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. do. They’re teaming up on a plan to keep the business of selling shiny physical discs alive.


— The death of Mongolian Groom in the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 could have been prevented, according to a report released by the Breeders’ Cup.

— The L.A. Galaxy’s impending acquisition of Javier “Chicharito” Hernández is another triumph for Major League Soccer, columnist Dylan Hernández writes.


— A new rule from the International Olympic Committee bars athletes from displays of protest at this summer’s games in Tokyo. The editorial board says that’s an absurd decision.

St. Vincent Medical Center is closing. Roughly 60,000 people are homeless in L.A. County. Columnist Steve Lopez asks: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?


— If you can’t find love on “The Bachelor/ette,” you can still find a second career as an influencer. How the show became a fast track to social media celebrity. (The Ringer)

— Politicians are sharing meme-ified disinformation. Their supporters don’t care. (Washington Post)

— Despite an aggressive marketing push by Disney, “Star Wars” movies keep flopping in China, where nostalgia for the series has no power over viewers. (New York Times)


The year 2010 wasn’t exactly an auspicious time to launch a record label — U.S. album sales had hit an all-time low, according to Nielsen. But for the founders of L.A. independent label Innovative Leisure, the time was ripe for a passion project that, over the next decade, would launch some of the biggest names in indie music today. This weekend, the label will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a two-day bash at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown featuring some of the acts that have kept it going.

Comments or ideas? Email us at