Newsletter: The impeachment standoff

December 20, 2019 0 By JohnValbyNation

In a partisan vote, the Democratic-controlled House approved two articles of impeachment charging President Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


The Impeachment Standoff

Under normal circumstances, the impeachment of President Trump would now be headed to the Senate and the president would be chastened by the experience. Not surprisingly, neither of those appears to be the case.

On Thursday, House and Senate leaders argued over how the Senate trial would be conducted, with the two articles of impeachment likely to remain in limbo until at least early January as a result. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not forward the articles of impeachment before Congress left for the year on Thursday, saying she wants assurances the Senate will conduct a fair and full trial. Senate Republicans questioned what Pelosi is trying to achieve by waiting.

Meanwhile, Trump has treated the stain of impeachment as he has every other scandal and crisis in his administration — by lashing out at enemies, spewing personal insults, refusing to express remorse and claiming he is a victim of a partisan injustice.

More About Impeachment

— The ultimate political consequences from impeachment may not be clear until ballots are counted in November. But it is likely to have the biggest effect in congressional districts that switched in 2018 from a Republican lawmaker to a Democratic one — many of whom leveraged their national security credentials.

Christianity Today, a major evangelical Christian magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham, has published an editorial calling for Trump’s removal from office.

— Some Democrats have invoked the civil rights movement when talking about impeachment.

— Russian President Vladimir Putin says Trump was impeached for “completely fabricated reasons.”

Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward … Oh, Forget It

Seven Democratic presidential candidates met for a pre-Christmas debate at Loyola Marymount University in L.A. last night, united in their disdain for Trump and their deep concerns about climate change. Beyond that, they aired their many differences on healthcare, foreign policy and the influence of money in politics (as symbolized not by a cigar smoke-filled back room but by a “wine cave”).

And beyond that, as The Times’ Janet Hook writes, the biggest focus in this pugnacious year’s-end primary debate was who can beat Trump at the ballot box. Here are five more takeaways from the debate.

Moving Toward ‘Managed Trade’

Less than 24 hours after impeaching Trump along partisan lines, members of the House of Representatives found something they could agree on: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. If approved in the Senate as expected, it updates the old North American Free Trade Agreement — giving businesses in California and beyond a measure of some certainty — and marks a significant shift in U.S. economic strategy away from free-trade policies.

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The War Against Huawei

The Chinese smartphone and telecommunications company Huawei is facing an unprecedented effort by Washington to stop it. In response, it is filing lawsuits, stockpiling chips and scrambling the development of its own operating system, as Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine writes.

And now that founder Ren Zhengfei’s decades-old strategy of eschewing publicity has drawn suspicion, he’s swapping silence for a personal charm offensive. “We were fighting for survival,” he told The Times. “We had to tell the world who we really are.” Our illustrated history explains why the U.S. is trying to take down China’s most successful brand.

The Fault in Our Lines

Eight years ago, the most destructive wildfire in Texas history tore through the rural woods east of Austin. It killed four people and destroyed 1,673 homes. It also shocked the aging local utility into adopting new technology to prevent fires by finding faults in the electrical system before lines can spark them.

Now, the company’s California counterparts are interested. The system detects electrical-current variation caused by deteriorating conditions or equipment and notifies utilities so they can send a repair crew. One of the professors who developed it likens it to the sensors in our cars that tell us our tire pressure is low.

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In 1982, Marcel and Huguette Robert trundled into California in a covered wagon, a full 18 months after they’d left their home in Montreal. They covered 10 to 25 miles a day en route to California, and after their visit to Los Angeles, they planned to return home at a more leisurely pace, allowing two years. This photo, published in the Dec. 20, 1982, edition, shows them crossing in from Nevada on Interstate 15.


— Weeks after L.A. started enforcing tougher new rules on short-term vacation rentals like those on Airbnb, the City Planning Commission has recommended a new law to legalize and regulate them.

CalPERS’ first climate risk assessment of its $394-billion pension fund found a fifth of its public market investments were in sectors that have high exposure to climate change.

— State regulators won’t let PG&E, SoCal Edison or SDG&E raise their profit margins, denying the utilities the higher shareholder returns they sought.

— Recent storms have blanketed the Sierra Nevada in snow and built the state’s snowpack to its highest December level since 2015, in a boost for its water supply.


— Have you ever wanted to eat a tree? Here’s a guide to enjoying them. But, please, don’t try to consume the wood.

— How to avoid weight gain during the holidays? L.A. diet gurus share these eight tips. (None involve eating wood, either.)

— Here are five art exhibitions and events to check out this coming week, from the drawings of an important Mexican painter to South American textile works and new public art in Culver City.

— And here’s the extended holiday edition of our culture recommendations, including Handel’s Messiah, “Jane Austen UnScripted” and a last chance for “Sugar Plum Fairy.”


— An Atlanta jury awarded $8.6 million in damages to the family of a stuntman killed on the set of the TV series “The Walking Dead.”

— There are more women than ever in “Star Wars.” According to our analysis, men still do most of the talking.

— The first-ever Amy Winehouse exhibit in the U.S. will debut at L.A.’s Grammy Museum next month.

— Meet the unlikely pair behind Netflix’s crack at the next “Game of Thrones.”

— “Cat”-astrophic: Here are 16 delightfully mean lines from reviews of the film “Cats.”


— The federal government is reporting a 2.7% rise in the U.S. homeless population, driven by a surge in California, according to an annual count that took place in January.

— Russia’s top security agency, the FSB, said an unidentified gunman opened fire outside its Moscow headquarters, killing one officer and wounding five other people.

— A fight over Washington state’s endangered gray wolves is dividing conservationists and ranchers whose cattle are attacked. Says one: “Seattle doesn’t ask us what to do with their homeless, and I don’t think we should have to ask Seattle what to do with our wolves.”

— A new investigative report finds that a lawmaker from Washington state took part in “domestic terrorism” during a 2016 standoff at a wildlife refuge in Oregon, traveled the West meeting with far-right extremist groups and trained young people to fight a “holy war.”


— The Senate just passed a major change to how Americans save for retirement.

— Prepaid debit card pioneer Steve Streit is retiring as chief executive of Pasadena-based Green Dot, whose shares have plunged under pressure from new competition.

Uber will establish a $4.4-million fund to settle a federal inquiry into claims of rampant sexual harassment.


Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are feared pass rushers. So why don’t the Chargers have more sacks?

— The L.A. County district attorney’s office has cleared the California racing industry at Santa Anita Park of criminal wrongdoing after a nine-month investigation into a rash of horse deaths.

— Today, after more than six years, the Anaheim City Council is expected to agree to a deal that would keep the Angels in town for decades and revitalize Angel Stadium.


— The source of California freelancers’ troubles isn’t the new labor law known as AB 5, it’s that employers are using it as an excuse to underpay workers and avoid giving them benefits, columnist Michael Hiltzik writes.

— The danger facing journalists in Hong Kong is a threat to press freedom everywhere, writes Jodi Schneider, the president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong.


Wall Street’s machine of silence stopped a #MeToo revolution. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

— How long can the last pierogi shops on Main Street survive? (Eater)

— How “Little Women” helped shape one writer’s identity. (Longreads)


What’s the most beloved NFL team in L.A.? Though they played here only from the 1982 season to the 1994 season, the Raiders could very well fit the bill. So, as The Times’ Sam Farmer reports, the Oakland-based team is playing its final “home” game this season on Sunday … in Carson. What makes it even more awkward is that the silver and black are playing against the Chargers, who’ve been struggling to be embraced by L.A. fans after having moved from San Diego. On top of that: The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas next season.

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