President Trump shakes hands with James Comey on Jan. 22. (Pool / Getty Images)
The White House is confronting what could be the most serious allegation yet against President Trump. I’m Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don’t want you to miss today.
Memo to Trump: Comey Took Notes
All reports from within the Trump camp suggest a White House in meltdown, fueled by an angry president — and aides scrambling to respond, even as their jobs are reported to be in jeopardy. President Trump suggested last week he may have “tapes” of his conversations with James Comey, but yesterday it emerged the former FBI director was taking notes, according to a close associate of his. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting [Michael] Flynn go,” Trump told Comey, per a memo the latter wrote shortly after their Feb. 14 encounter. The associate said Comey wrote a number of other memos to record Trump’s statements that he found troublesome. That prompted the White House to deny the president had asked Comey to close the investigation of Flynn’s ties to Russia. And it led Rep. Jason Chaffetz of the House Oversight Committee to demand from the FBI all “memoranda, notes, summaries, and recordings” between Trump and Comey by May 24. Not to be forgotten, the White House is still trying to grapple with the fact that Trump had disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials last week. The president tweeted that he had an “absolute right” to do so.
Will the GOP Ever Say Enough Is Enough?
Behind closed doors, Republican lawmakers aren’t happy with what they’re seeing from Trump. Yet with each twist and turn, key GOP leaders and most of the rank-and-file have circled the wagons, while blaming Democrats and the media. “This man is subject to more criticism than anybody, any predecessor that I know of,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch. So what would it take for Republicans to break with Trump en masse — and if they did, what would happen next?
More From Washington
— Here’s what we know about the Comey memo, including that Trump apparently wants to lock up reporters who receive leaked information.
— Trump’s war with U.S. intelligence agencies just got a lot worse.
— Trump and Turkey’s president met at the White House amid sharp disagreement over the war in Syria but eager to improve relations after the Obama era.
The Charter School Fight That Went Off the Charts
It was the most expensive school board election in the nation’s history, seen as a proxy war between charter school advocates and public employee unions. Now the Los Angeles Unified School District is on the cusp of a major political shift, with school board President Steve Zimmer having conceded to his opponent, Nick Melvoin. Meanwhile, L.A. voters also decided the fate of a ballot measure to significantly change the way the Police Department handles serious officer misconduct.
They’re Republicans, but They’re Definitely Not the NRA
Charles and Mary Leigh Blek of Trabucco Canyon were at an Irvine town hall meeting that Rep. Mimi Waters refused to attend, but they aren’t your usual protesters. They’re moderate Republicans on a mission: gun control. “Our son was shot in 1994 by three 15-year-olds,” Mrs. Blek told columnist Steve Lopez. Matthew Blek was killed in an apparent robbery by teens who carried a cheap weapon known as a Saturday Night Special.
The Socratic Method of Mork
When Robin Williams was in high school, his classmates voted him “most humorous” and “least likely to succeed.” His dad just wanted him to have a backup plan, like welding. But for the Oscar-winning Williams, comedy was serious business. Nearly three years after his death, USC is dedicating an endowed chair in comedy in Williams’ name — and sending a message that it’s a subject worthy of the classroom and not just a club.
— National security advisor H.R. McMaster tells reporters that Trump did not know how the intelligence he shared with Russian officials was gathered.
— Chobani yogurt and right-wing radio host Alex Jones collide in Twin Falls, Idaho.
— Inside the 24-hour Joshua Tree party to celebrate composer Lou Harrison’s 100th birthday.
— University of California regents will get their first chance today to drill down into a critical state audit that found widespread problems with the budget practices of the UC Office of the President.
— A UCI doctor’s plan to stop superbug infections is used widely, but at her own hospital, it didn’t work.
— Two Wisconsin natives are under investigation after they filmed themselves scaling the Golden Gate Bridge, performing somersaults and hanging from cables above cars.
— An Atwater Village restaurant hopes to highlight the refugee crisis with a series of dinners featuring food from Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and Egypt.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
— Next year’s Academy Awards will go on with the same key players back on board. “If you think we screwed up the ending this year,” Jimmy Kimmel says, “wait until you see what we have planned for the 90th anniversary show!”
— Film critic Kenneth Turan says the 70th Cannes Film Festival has a little of everything: tight security, an airbrushing scandal and high movie anticipation.
— Michael Moore has been secretly working on a film about Trump’s election titled “Fahrenheit 11/9.”
— Meet Robin Bell, the artist who projected the message “Pay Trump Bribes Here” onto Trump’s D.C. hotel this week.
When Donna Summer was asked during a 2010 interview if she was sick of being known as the “Queen of Disco,” she responded: “It’s great I’m the queen. Look, it’s nice to be the queen of something, darling.” She died on this date in 2012.
— Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier convicted of illegally disclosing classified information, will be released today and remain on active duty in a special status.
— Several prominent Mexican news outlets went dark to protest the murder of journalists across the country.
— Jordan is looking to repeal a law that allows rapists to avoid prison if they marry their victims for at least three years.
— North Korea doesn’t have many computers, but it has nurtured an army of highly skilled hackers made up of top math students.
— Columnist Michael Hiltzik says the costs of Trump’s sabotage of Obamacare already are showing up in rate increases.
— Many auto dealerships and salespeople are still adjusting to the idea of selling electric cars.
— The Lakers have the second overall pick in the NBA draft, which means they could select Lonzo Ball. Columnist Dylan Hernandez says: Go ahead, and don’t worry about his dad.
— Columnist Helene Elliott reports from Nashville, which is still an untraditional hockey market, but where the Predators are establishing a tradition of winning. They beat the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3.
— The Trump administration is in a spiral of dysfunction, careening from one controversy to the next and never managing to get out of damage-control mode.
— The demise of Ringling Bros. is a victory for the animal rights movement, but the fight to free animals from cruelty in the entertainment industry is far from over.
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
— “I was no better than my parents. I could have done more to free Lola. To make her life better. Why didn’t I?” The late Alex Tizon on “my family’s slave.” (The Atlantic)
— In a preview of her interview with the New Yorker, Sally Yates talks about l’affaire Flynn.