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Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters on the morning after the first public hearing in the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump on his effort to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. Pelosi says the president’s actions in the impeachment inquiry amount to “bribery.”

J. Scott Applewhite

Newsletter: Pelosi Puts A Name On Trump’s Alleged Misdeeds

Hey there! It’s Thursday, and I really need to get a job in Hollywood. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Pelosi accuses Trump of “bribery”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., today accused President Donald Trump of bribery when he withheld military aid to Ukraine while he sought an investigation into his political rivals. That’s significant because “bribery” is specifically called out in the Constitution as an impeachable offense. [NPR]

The news comes as House impeachment investigators prepare for tomorrow’s public hearing featuring Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. WBEZ will air live coverage of the hearing beginning at 8 a.m. CST.

If you missed yesterday’s public hearing, here’s a recap of seven moments that stood out. [NPR]

Meanwhile there’s talk among some Republican senators of starting a lengthy impeachment trial in January as a way to disrupt the Democratic presidential race, according to The Washington Post. [Washington Post]

2. At least two students are dead from California school shooting

A gunman opened fire today at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, leaving at least two students dead and three others injured, one of whom is said to be in critical condition.

A 16-year-old suspect is in custody, and officials said he carried out the attack on his birthday. Authorities said the suspect took out a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol from his backpack and shot five people before shooting himself in the head. The suspect was taken to a hospital. [NPR]

Meanwhile, an analysis from The Washington Post found that more than 233,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. [Washington Post]

3. How will the dice fall on Lightfoot’s casino plan?

Today is the last day in the fall veto session for the Illinois legislature, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot is hoping state lawmakers will approve a plan to lighten the tax burden on a Chicago casino.

The casino is pivotal to Lightfoot’s plans to help raise money for the city’s underfunded police and firefighter pension funds. But a consulting firm reported earlier this year that the current tax structure attached to the casino is “too onerous” for developers.

Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that Lightfoot is struggling to gain support in Springfield for the plan. [Chicago Sun-Times]

4. White House adviser pushed white nationalist theories

According to a trove of emails leaked to the Southern Poverty Law Center, White House adviser Stephen Miller shared theories popular with white nationalists in his efforts to shape news coverage at the conservative website Breitbart.

The emails are dated before Miller joined the Trump administration, and they were leaked by Katie McHugh, a former editor at Breitbart who was fired in 2017 after posting anti-Muslim tweets.

Miller, who plays a major role in shaping President Trump’s immigration policies, shared “material he found on at least one website that espouses white nationalist viewpoints, including fringe theories that people of color are trying to engage in ‘white genocide,’” reports The New York Times. [New York Times]

5. Chicago teachers begin voting on tentative contract deal

Teachers at Chicago’s public schools started voting today on a contract proposal that ended last month’s teachers strike. If approved, salaries would increase by more than 16% over five years.

The Chicago Teachers Union says the salary bumps will help Chicago Public Schools attract and retain teachers. Under the tentative contract agreement, the starting salaries for teachers with a bachelor’s degree would be $58,365 this year. By the end of the five-year contract, those salaries would be $66,330.

Teachers will be voting tomorrow as well, and only a simple majority is needed to approve the deal. The Chicago Board of Education is expected to hold a separate vote on the contract offer on Nov. 20. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Here’s a look at where the city and the teachers union landed on other key issues in the tentative agreement. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Ten candidates have qualified for next week’s Democratic presidential debate. [NPR]
  • A Cook County commissioner who is under scrutiny from the FBI has resigned from his leadership roles due to “health issues.” [WBEZ]
  • Toxic algae blooms are threatening drinking water from Lake Erie. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Urban farmers want a proposed Chicago ordinance put out to pasture. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

Did you know that one family helps take care of Chicago’s nearly 300 public sculptures, fountains and monuments?

WBEZ’s Curious City talked to the father-son duo about how they got into the business, the challenges of maintaining public monuments in Chicago and why it’s important to do so.

Curious City also found out that the family’s work helped lead to a major breakthrough that revolutionized the field of conservation. Hint: It involves a laser. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

It’s another cold day in the Chicago area, so I’d like to know: What are your getaway plans this winter?

Jentry writes:

“During the polar vortex earlier this year, I resolved to go South for a week or so during this winter. I’ve been to resorts Mexico and taken Caribbean cruises, so I’m planning to go further South. In February I’m taking a cruise to Antarctica.”

What are your winter getaway plans? 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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