Newsletter: McConnell’s push to speed Trump’s trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
(Associated Press)

First up in President Trump’s impeachment trial today: deciding on some rules that could make it a short affair.


McConnell’s Push to Speed Trump’s Trial

The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump will begin in earnest today, and if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gets his way, a major part of it could wrap up by the weekend.

McConnell has proposed rules that would shoehorn opening arguments into just four grueling days, meaning House prosecutors and the president’s lawyers would each get two days of 12-hour sessions to make their cases. The rules would also mean that later, if any witnesses were allowed, they would first be deposed behind closed doors.

Democrats say these proposed rules are intended to short-circuit a fair trial and to block Americans from following the historic proceedings. Debate and a vote on the rules is expected to be the first order of business today.


The Senate could also vote to dismiss the charges, although McConnell has said he does not have the votes for that.

But while Republican leadership seems to be holding all the cards in the impeachment trial now, there may be some surprises later.

More Politics

— Trump is expected to embrace one of his favorite roles at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, today: pitchman-in-chief for a robust American economy while he runs for reelection. But staying on message is not his strong suit.

— Just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has been a front-runner but consistently dogged by doubts about her electability, has made gender a central element of her final campaign push.

— The voters torn between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden show how persona can often outweigh ideology.

Fighting Fires in the Land of Oz

More than 170 U.S. firefighters, many of them from California, are in Australia battling the country’s worst fire season on record. Though they are among the most versatile firefighters around, being Down Under has taken some getting used to. In the Alpine National Park near Mt. Buffalo, the ground is softer and eucalyptus trees generally are heavier and burn hotter than the conifers and oaks of the Sierra Nevada. Then there are the giant spiders. And the lingo.

Here, Peace Is the Destination

Every year, thousands of people walk the 500-mile Camino de Santiago — the Way of St. James — to Spain’s Santiago de Compostela, where the Apostle James’ remains are said to be buried. Some keep on walking to Fisterra, a fishing town known as the End of the Earth. And some decide to remain, even if they don’t have a place to stay — much to the consternation of some locals, who call them hippies and troublemakers.

The Legacy of a Teachers Strike

It’s been one year since 30,000 teachers in the L.A. Unified School District went on strike in a labor action that helped fuel a nationwide wave of activism. But how much has changed in the classroom since then? Most parents and teachers would be hard-pressed to see much difference: Most classes are one student smaller, and the district has been unable to hire the nurses promised for every campus.


— How a major investigation into Orange County jail informants ended with a whimper.

— San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon posted on Facebook to show how fed up she was with the constant harassment she’s received. Hours later, a man was arrested at City Hall on suspicion of trying to force his way into the mayor’s office.

— Theft or animal rescue? At an exotic meat farm in Riverside County, up to 30 llamas and 160 ostriches, along with emus, lambs, goats, alpacas and geese, were spirited away.

— What will happen with L.A.'s Historic Filipinotown? Columnist Frank Shyong examines the forces of gentrification and those resisting it.

— Scientists are cataloging the subtle signs of biological aging and finding that patterns that are common or can vary from person to person, opening the door to new therapies.


Yesterday, thousands of people turned out across L.A. to honor the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

During King’s years in the civil rights movement, he visited Southern California several times. One of those occasions was after the 1965 Watts riots, when he had what was described in The Times as a “stormy meeting” with L.A. Mayor Sam Yorty. The picture below, taken after that meeting, shows Yorty with his hand covering his eyes.

Here’s a selection of more images from King’s visits to the L.A. area.

Aug. 19, 1965: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. answers questions during a news conference at Los Angeles City Hall. Mayor Sam Yorty, right, listens with his hand covering his eyes.
(Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times)


— A Redondo Beach-based housing speculator has agreed to sell one of its houses in Oakland to a trust on behalf of Moms 4 Housing, a group of homeless black women who were arrested last week after taking over the empty three-bedroom with their children in an act of desperation and political protest.

— A mountain lion attacked a 3-year-old boy at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County. The child suffered neck injuries and abrasions, but his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

— At Yosemite Valley, the National Park Service and other health agencies have launched an investigation into an outbreak of norovirus.

— L.A. County is counting homeless people this week. Here’s everything you need to know about the three-day, annual “point in time” count.

Enjoying this newsletter?

Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times.


— With the Grammy Awards less than a week away, the Recording Academy is going through more turmoil after Deborah Dugan, its third chief executive in six months, was placed on administrative leave. Academy board Chairman Harvey Mason Jr. has accused Dugan of offering, through her lawyer, to drop her complaint of wrongdoing and resign in exchange for a multimillion-dollar contract buyout.

— At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, “Parasite” became the first foreign-language film to win the top prize, which makes the Oscar best picture race harder to predict. But the SAG Awards are a good indicator of who will win in the acting categories.

— Plus, here are the fashion hits and misses from the SAG Awards’ silver carpet.


— For the first time, the military commission that is preparing to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is accused of planning the 9/11 attacks, will focus today almost exclusively on a subject that for years wasn’t allowed to be mentioned in the courtroom: torture.

— Thousands of gun-rights activists rallied at the Virginia Capitol under a heavy police presence, protesting plans by the state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation.

— The head of a Chinese government team of experts says that human-to-human transmission had been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus. The development raises the possibility that it could spread more quickly and widely.

— Dams and climate change are choking Cambodia’s largest lake, which is a key source of the country’s food supply.

Prince Harry has taken aim at the journalists who have dissected his life since the day he was born as he expressed regret for the way he has had to step down from royal duties.


— Despite the debut of 45 pure electric and plug-in hybrids in the United States last year, data show that only 325,000 plug-in passenger vehicles were sold last year, down 6.8% in 2018.

Filing taxes last year was a nightmare for taxpayers, their accountants and the Internal Revenue Service. This year might not be much better.


Joe Montana has good feelings for the Super Bowl-bound 49ers and Chiefs, the two teams he quarterbacked in his Hall of Fame career.

— The Celtics handed the Lakers their worst loss this season despite the return of injured forward Anthony Davis.


— Should California force cities to house homeless people? The Times’ editorial board says the idea is worthy but many questions remain.

— New federal rules on campus sexual misconduct will only make things worse, writes Brett A. Sokolow, president of the Assn. of Title IX Administrators.


— The New York Times’ editorial board took the unusual step of endorsing Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar in the Democratic presidential primary. But that move hasn’t gone over well for a number of reasons. (Vanity Fair)

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail.” (The Atlantic)


They called her “Kiwi Queen” and “Mother Gooseberry.” “Mushroom Lady” and “the “Mick Jagger of the produce world.” The woman who broke the glass ceiling in the testosterone-doused produce world and forever changed the way Americans eat fruits and vegetables. She was Frieda Rapoport Caplan, who died over the weekend at 96. And if you’ve purchased kiwis, mangoes, habanero and shishito peppers, passion fruit, bean and alfalfa sprouts, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, starfruit, blood oranges, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, and hundreds more fruits and vegetables at a major U.S. supermarket, you can give this native of L.A. the credit.

Comments or ideas? Email us at