The good news is the problem is reproducible.

The bad news is APT::Periodic::Verbose "1" doesn't make unattended-
upgrade produce any more output in its failure email:

    Unattended upgrade returned: False

    Packages that attempted to upgrade:
     dh-apparmor libapparmor1 python3-update-manager update-manager-core

    Package installation log:
    Error in function:

    Unattended-upgrades log:
    Initial blacklisted packages:
    Starting unattended upgrades script
    Allowed origins are: ['o=Ubuntu,a=trusty-security', 'o=UbuntuESM,a=trusty', 
'o=Ubuntu,a=trusty-security', 'o=Ubuntu,a=trusty-updates', 
    Packages that will be upgraded: dh-apparmor libapparmor1 
python3-update-manager update-manager-core
    Writing dpkg log to 
    Installing the upgrades failed!
    error message: 'installArchives() failed'
    dpkg returned a error! See 
 for details
    Packages that are auto removed: ''
    Packages auto-removed

Which is exactly the same thing I saw yesterday.  I think I see my
mistake: I should've set APT::Periodic::Verbose to "3" to have the cron
script pass -d to unattended-upgrade!  D'oh!

On the other hand I got an extra email from cron.daily saying

    verbose level 1
    sleeping for 280 seconds
    check_stamp: interval=86400, now=1518559200, stamp=1518472800, delta=86400 
    apt-key net-update (failure)
    download updated metadata (success).
    send dbus signal (success)
    check_stamp: interval=0
    download upgradable (not run)
    check_stamp: interval=86400, now=1518559200, stamp=1518472800, delta=86400 
    unattended-upgrade (success)
    check_stamp: interval=0
    autoclean (not run)
    aged: ctime <30 and mtime <30 and ctime>2 and mtime>2
    end remove by archive size: size=24256 < 512000

The "apt-key net-update (failure)" line is intriguing, but seems to be

I've bumped APT::Periodic::Verbose to "3" now and will see what happens
next morning.

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  Unattended upgrade fails with "Error in function"

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