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Eddie Johnson

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks at a news conference Monday, June 3, 2019, in Chicago.

Teresa Crawford

Newsletter: More Top Cop Drama In Chicago

Hey there! It’s Wednesday, and a special shoutout to Lisa Labuz, WBEZ’s morning host for the last 20 years. She’ll be able to sleep in more when she becomes the station’s new midday host. Here’s a video of the celebration. And here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. So long, Eddie?

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is expected to announce later this week that he will step down, according to sources, who also said Mayor Lori Lightfoot decided to replace Johnson after cops found him asleep inside his car last month. Johnson told the mayor he had a few drinks earlier that evening, Lightfoot said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Earlier this week, Johnson told reporters he was thinking of retiring.

So who’s in the running to become the city’s next top cop? Former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is reportedly a top contender to oversee the Chicago Police Department on an interim basis. [WBEZ]

During his time with the LAPD, Beck “equipped his 10,000 officers with body cameras and instituted training focused on defusing volatile encounters,” reported the Los Angeles Times last year. “He was the architect of a community policing program that places officers as problem solvers and allies in the city’s most violent neighborhoods.” [LA Times]

2. The impeachment inquiry is heading to your TV

House Democrats announced three big witnesses will appear for public hearings next week.

The first hearings, on Wednesday, include acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. House impeachment investigators will then hold a public hearing with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch that following Friday. All three have previously testified in closed-door sessions. [NPR]

House leaders today released a transcript of Taylor’s closed-door testimony. [NPR]

Here’s a guide from NPR that helps explain why those witnesses have been key to the impeachment inquiry. [NPR]

Meanwhile, would President Donald Trump commit a crime if he unmasked the whistleblower who sparked the impeachment inquiry? Nope, say four former top federal government officials who worked in intelligence and national security. [NPR]

And a January impeachment trial could be a “disaster” for some Democratic presidential candidates. [NPR]

4. Connecting the dots between House Speaker Madigan and ComEd

Fifteen of the 23 firms that worked for the utility giant in Springfield this year deployed lobbyists with direct ties to powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, according to WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos and Tony Arnold.

The connections between Madigan and ComEd have come under greater scrutiny in recent months, as an ongoing federal criminal probe delves into the giant power company’s lobbying of the Illinois state officials who regulate it. Nobody has been charged in the probe. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker said he will pursue ethics reforms regarding lobbyists. “I am furious watching public officials — some from our own party — betray the public trust,” the governor said. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. Judge tosses rule allowing doctors to deny care based on religious reasons

A federal judge in Manhattan today scrapped a White House-backed rule allowing doctors, nurses and other health care providers to deny abortions and other services due to religious and moral grounds. That rule would have gone into effect later this month.

The Trump administration said the rule would allow health care officials the freedom to deny services that violated their beliefs. But U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled today the administration exceeded its authority. Critics of the rule believed it would allow health care workers to sidestep rules preventing discrimination. [NPR]

5. Takeaways from Tuesday’s elections

Democrats made major gains in yesterday’s elections, winning control of Virginia’s state government and claiming a narrow victory in the Kentucky gubernatorial race.

Here are seven takeaways that explain what the elections could mean for the nation and President Trump. Among them? The impeachment inquiry might not be the issue that fires up the GOP’s base. And suburban voters continue to lean toward Democrats, a trend that has emerged since Trump took office. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • An interim deal to end the trade war between the U.S. and China might not be signed until next month. [Reuters]

  • The number of reported hate crimes is up 60% so far this year in Chicago, according to a city official. [Chicago Tribune]

  • A deal to bring job training in data security and $250,000 to Englewood’s Kennedy-King College fell apart after the school threw up a legal roadblock. [WBEZ]

  • The endangered birds who took down an EDM festival in Chicago are getting their own special day. [Chicago Tribune]

Oh, and one more thing …

Ida B. Wells is best known for her anti-lynching work in the South, but she spent nearly four decades advancing black equality in Chicago.

This week’s Curious City takes a fascinating look at the impact Wells had on the city, like how she established the first black kindergarten, organized black political power and helped elect the city’s first black alderman. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

The fall TV season is upon us, so what shows are you currently watching?

Cheryl Woicik writes:

“My husband and I binged the 2nd season of The Kominsky Method on Amazon. Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin are SUPERB together. The comedy (we think) is geared toward a more ‘mature’ audience (ailments and such) but it is SO well written and executed. Great show!! And not without its own drama but again, well played, well acted, well executed and delivered. Everyone NEEDS to watch The Kominsky Method.”

What are you currently watching? Feel free to email at or tweet to @whuntah.

Have a nice night! I’ll see you tomorrow. And if you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.

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