Newsletter: Judgment day in the Senate is near

Defense team lawyer Pat Cipollone, left, and President Trump's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow arrive for the impeachment trial of President Trump on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
(Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)

President Trump’s impeachment trial could end as soon as tonight or Saturday.


Judgment Day in the Senate is near

It’s looking likely that President Trump’s impeachment trial will become the first presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history to not include any witnesses in the Senate, after GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee announced last night that he won’t support efforts to call former national security advisor John Bolton or anyone else to testify.

Though the Senate will hear up to four hours of arguments about the need for witnesses and then may deliberate behind closed doors for an unlimited amount of time, Republicans will look to wrap up the trial quickly, perhaps aiming for a final vote on convicting or acquitting Trump tonight or early Saturday morning.

Alexander’s statement that there is “no need for more evidence to conclude that the president withheld United States aid, at least in part, to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens” is a far cry from Trump’s claim that his call to Ukraine’s president was “perfect.” To that extent, it rejects a major part of the president’s defense. But since it opens the way for a speedy Senate acquittal, it may very well achieve Trump’s main goal.

Still, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer has hinted that procedural moves were possible to draw out the trial if Democrats don’t win the witness vote.


More politics

— Blocked on Capitol Hill from cutting and restructuring federal money for Medicaid, the Trump administration has launched a new effort to develop ways to change how the safety net program is funded. The move, strongly condemned by advocates for the poor, will probably affect relatively few Americans who rely on Medicaid.

— Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a substantial national lead over his opponents in the Democratic presidential campaign, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll, even as Sen. Bernie Sanders gains ground in key states such as Iowa, where caucuses take place Monday.

Michael R. Bloomberg is rapidly rising in the polls, alarming rivals as he uses his personal fortune to break all the old rules of presidential campaigning.

— What exactly is the Iowa caucus and how does it work? And most important: What does it mean to win it?

WHO’s in charge here?

The World Health Organization has declared that the deadly outbreak fueled by a new coronavirus from China has become a global health emergency, citing fears that the microbe will soon reach smaller, poorer countries incapable of stemming its spread. So what does that mean exactly? The decision will probably make new resources available to health officials around the world. But experts also say that WHO has no way to enforce its recommendations or to constrain the actions of members.

A Hollywood Boulevard makeover

Fewer cars. More leafy trees and cafes. An L.A. city councilman is proposing a pedestrian-friendly overhaul that would make a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard more akin to a wander down the Champs-Élysées. If approved, Mitch O’Farrell‘s proposal would narrow the famed street to a center turn lane and one travel lane in each direction roughly between La Brea Avenue and Vine Street. The changes would be among the biggest yet for a major street in L.A., where drivers can get grumpy when put on a “road diet.”

Across the table and the border

Jessie Kim is a college student, cook and budding entrepreneur. But that hasn’t always been her life. She grew up in North Korea and fled south in 2014. Food is how she connects with her new compatriots, whether it’s shared staples like rice and kimchi or ingredients like injo gogi, a soybean meat substitute unique to North Korea. “I didn’t know I liked cooking when I was in North Korea,” she tells the Seoul cooking class she now teaches. “Once I got here, I realized it was the thing that makes me the happiest.”


On this date in 1957, two airplanes collided over the San Fernando Valley, killing eight people and destroying buildings below.

Twin Scorpion fighter jets from Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale facility were testing their radar equipment. Meanwhile, a DC-7B transport plane was returning to Douglas Aircraft’s Santa Monica plant after a routine test run. One jet slammed into the wing of the transport plane, and both went down.

Part of an engine crashed through the roof of a church. Other pieces fell on Pacoima Junior High School, killing three students. The Times later reported that the crash prompted new laws on test flights in populated areas and school disaster plans.

Jan. 31, 1957: Military and police personnel at scene of crash of Douglas DC-7B transport on grounds of Pacoima Congressional Church, adjacent to Pacoima Junior High School. The Douglas DC-8B collided with a US Air Force F-89 jet. Eight people were killed. This photo appeared in the Feb. 1, 1957, Los Angeles Times.
(Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times)


Senate Bill 50 — lawmakers’ high-profile effort to undo decades of reliance on single-family housing by spurring home-building near transit centers — is officially dead after more than two years of debate, five major revisions and two tense days of counting votes.

— The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has settled a priest abuse case for $1.9 million, becoming the first Catholic diocese in the state to settle such a case since AB 218 expanded the time frame for filing child sexual abuse allegations.

— All of January’s dry, sunny days have taken a toll on California’s snowpack.

UC Berkeley has removed the name “Boalt Hall” from a building at its law school. School officials say they no longer wish to honor the virulent anti-Chinese views expressed by attorney John Henry Boalt.

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— Fifteen Super Bowl party recipes that pretty much everyone will love.

Las Vegas has world-class shopping. These are the stores you can’t miss.

— If you want to explore Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Hollyhock House, there’s no need to leave the comfort of home. You can now even see all of Wright’s archival blueprints and drawings for the house online.

— Attention, tomato fans: Here’s how you can get free groundcherries and goldenberries for your garden.


— The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has secured a $50-million pledge toward the $750-million project of building its new campus, a major step that ends a fundraising drought that lasted most of last year.

— The longtime production head of the film studio once known as 20th Century Fox has resigned. Emma Watts’ departure comes as new owner Walt Disney Co. continues to make major changes to the storied company.

— The Las Vegas residency has became a moneymaker for still-vibrant acts. Shania Twain is the latest to find success on the Strip.

— Vintage dresses and outfit repeats: How sustainability became this awards season’s biggest fashion trend.

— From “The Glorias” to “Promising Young Woman,” movies by and about women are taking the spotlight at the Sundance Film Festival.


— The Trump administration dramatically changed the way that the U.S. asylum system processes people. A year later, immigration officials claim it to be a success while people who work with asylum seekers watch in horror. What’s next?

Harvey Weinstein has required a walker or assistance getting into his New York trial after getting spinal decompression surgery. That’s become a challenge for prosecutors as they seek to overcome the image of a “harmless old man.”

Life expectancy in the United States is up for the first time in four years, with fewer cancer and drug overdose deaths. The Centers for Disease Control says it’s a temporary halt to a downward trend.


— Customers are ordering more food online. That’s where “ghost kitchens” come in: no storefronts or tables, just cooking facilities designed for delivery service.

— California has lost far more jobs to China than any other state, with the San Francisco Bay Area accounting for more than any other region.


— After Kobe Bryant‘s death, the Lakers have begun to return to a semblance of normality while preparing for their game against the Portland Trail Blazers tonight.

— Are you ready for Super Bowl LIV between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday? Columnist Arash Markazi has been interviewing celebrities and players, hitting up parties and checking out the best food ahead of the game.

— Las Vegas no longer holds a monopoly on marquee boxing matches. But it still holds serious sway, and for good reason, columnist Dylan Hernández writes.

— The Dodgers are still interested in trading for an All-Star player. They’re eyeing two in particular.


Misinformation has become a secondary infection in the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, The Times’ editorial board writes.

— Pinyon and juniper woodlands define the West. Writer Christopher Ketcham argues that the Bureau of Land Management should stop destroying them for the cattle industry.


— How KitchenAid mixers and Le Creuset dutch ovens became status symbols for millennials. (The Atlantic)

— “What if I’m being judgy about the next Patti Smith, the next Frank O’Hara? Or some kid who’s simply the next me?” (n+1)


If you’re a transplant, consider it your L.A. scavenger hunt, courtesy of the Netflix show “You” and yours truly. From Rollerbladers in booty shorts to palm trees on fire, we riffed on the seven totems of L.A., as defined by the show, and identified our level-ups for each — and where you’re most likely to spot them all. This way, you can become a real Angeleno. Think these totems are way off? Let us know what’s on your list in the form below the article.

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