Newsletter: The primary and the prosecutors
The Democratic presidential race is beginning to shake out after the New Hampshire primary, while shock waves go through Washington over the Roger Stone case.
Sanders Takes New Hampshire
On his New England home turf, Sen. Bernie Sanders eked out a narrow victory in the New Hampshire primary, finishing just a few thousand votes ahead of Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind. But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was the third-place finish of another moderate Midwesterner, Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden each had weak showings that now imperil their campaigns. Each vowed to fight on. “It ain’t over, man,” said Biden, who had already moved on to South Carolina as New Hampshire’s results rolled in.
But it is over for Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur who vowed to give every adult U.S. citizen $1,000 per month, and Sen. Michael Bennet, who was always a longshot. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to follow suit and drop out today.
Here are five key takeaways from the primary.
‘Horrible and Very Unfair’
Hours after President Trump slammed a recommended prison sentence for his longtime confidant Roger Stone as “horrible and very unfair,” the Justice Department said it would seek a shorter prison term, prompting four career prosecutors to resign from the case in protest.
The Justice Department decision to overrule the front-line prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation was highly unusual. It also fed concerns that Atty. Gen. William Barr, who has strongly backed Trump in the year since being sworn into office, was bowing to political pressure.
The prosecutors’ resignation from the case wasn’t the only fallout. CNN reported that the White House had withdrawn the nomination of Jessie Liu to be undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism & financial crimes. She had headed the office that oversaw Stone’s prosecution. And Trump has taken to Twitter to attack the judge in the Stone case.
The turmoil comes days after Trump, newly emboldened by his Senate acquittal on impeachment charges, ousted officials who offered damaging testimony during the inquiry.
— Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell singled out the coronavirus epidemic as a threat to the American economy but said he expected China to take further actions to limit the damage and suggested that it was “way too early” to talk about lowering interest rates. That’s not what Trump wanted to hear.
— Michael R. Bloomberg’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was knocked off stride as critics pounded the former New York City mayor for newly surfaced remarks in which he defended police stop-and-frisk tactics that targeted blacks and Latinos.
Where Is California?
Hundreds of years ago, Baja California Sur was simply California, the first place to have that name. To a journalist in San Jose del Cabo, it feels like a historic injustice that the name’s claimed by the 31st U.S. state. So he launched a longshot campaign to persuade leaders to lop off the Baja and lose the Sur. The battle, though, is about much more than just a name.
A Desire Named Streetcar
California may be the home of car culture, but there’s a growing desire among many residents get automobiles off city streets in favor of walkways, bike paths and public transportation like streetcars. Case in point: San Francisco recently banned private cars on the busiest section of Market Street, which cuts through the middle of the city. It’s part of a trend across North America aimed at reducing traffic deaths and gridlock.
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FROM THE ARCHIVES
In 1910s America, Bertha Haffner-Ginger was the queen of “domestic science” — a Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart was even born. She ran a series of cooking classes for The Times in 1913. Her legacy included classes, lectures, national tours and books, but she also popularized Mexican food among Americans. She wrote one of the earliest English-language cookbooks on it after her time in Los Angeles. It featured the earliest-known English recipe for a taco (though it might sound a little different than you’re used to.)
The photo below was published in February 1914 with a Times story about her classes. She often opined about life as a woman while she worked before her audience. A woman “should learn to cook for her own body and for her own health, for her own satisfaction,” she said. “... A good cook never yet kept a man when he wanted to go.”
— On Facebook pages, Valley residents complain about homeless encampments and share their concerns with police. A homeless man alleges an officer targeted and harassed him via those pages, and he’s suing L.A.
— Twenty-six-year-old Elizabeth Alcantar was appointed mayor of the small city of Cudahy. A week later, a plane dumped jet fuel on it.
— Have you tried getting your Real ID at the DMV? Columnist Steve Lopez says the long lines are just the beginning of the hell that awaits.
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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— Is the future of podcasting female? Networks like Earios, Lemonada and Exactly Right say yes.
— Last year, Universal Pictures and Blumhouse Productions canceled the release “The Hunt” after mass shooting tragedies and criticism from conservative media and Trump. Now “The Hunt” is back on.
— From “1917" to “Parasite,” how video games are influencing prestige movies.
— Joseph Shabalala, founder of the South African a cappella vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, has died at age 78.
— Beijing has mobilized a nationwide “people’s war” against the novel coronavirus epidemic, but some see it as more propagandistic than scientific.
— Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told the U.S. that he is scrapping a 2-decade-old defense agreement, throwing one of Washington’s most important security alliances in Asia into disarray.
— The Customs and Border Protection agency’s top official, in a rare admission of misconduct, says that agents should not have detained Iranian Americans at the U.S.-Canada border last month.
— A special prosecutor said a grand jury has returned a six-count indictment accusing actor Jussie Smollett of lying to Chicago police when he reported a racist and homophobic attack last year.
— SeaWorld Entertainment says it has agreed to pay $65 million to settle a longstanding lawsuit alleging that the company deceived investors by claiming the anti-captivity documentary “Blackfish” had no ill effect on park attendance.
— Equifax left unencrypted data open to Chinese hackers. Most big U.S. companies are just as negligent, writes columnist David Lazarus.
— This California goggle maker is helping China fight coronavirus.
— St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester collapsed on the bench early in his team’s game against the Ducks in Anaheim and was taken to a hospital. The game was postponed.
— Retired NBA star Dwyane Wade is talkng about his 12-year-old child coming out as transgender.
— Alissa Pili’s “hating to lose” tenacity powers her on-court feats for USC.
—The Times’ editorial board says the Supreme Court can’t end the electoral college, but it can stop it from getting worse.
— Upset by the Iowa caucuses chaos? It will probably make you a better voter, writes Barnard College president and cognitive scientist Sian Beilock.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— “The intelligence coup of the century”: For decades, the CIA read the encrypted communications of allies and adversaries — because it owned a Swiss company that made encryption devices for countries around the world. (Washington Post)
— Disinformation is spreading online. Meet the dedicated sleuths trying to stop it. (New York Times)
— At 122, a French woman was crowned the oldest person to ever live. Was it all a scam? (The New Yorker)
ONLY IN CALIFORNIA
It’s the happiest place on earth, not the cheapest. Disneyland is raising its prices, with a few ticket categories now topping $200 for the first time. It’s a five-tier system based on demand. The park recently unveiled its biggest expansion in its history, including new Star Wars attractions. Prices have been rising for the last several years.
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