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Nancy Pelosi

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., makes a statement at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Pelosi announced that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

J. Scott Applewhite

Newsletter: House Moves Forward With Drafting Impeachment Charges

Hey there, it’s Thursday! And my husband didn’t want to wait until Christmas to open his gift. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. House Democrats move forward with articles of impeachment

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this morning that articles of impeachment are being drafted. That means the House could take a deeply partisan vote before Christmas on whether President Donald Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

“His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution,” Pelosi said, referring to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

The House Judiciary Committee, which will draft the impeachment charges, will hold a hearing Monday where House attorneys will present evidence. [NPR]

2. Are the feds circling the wagons around Mike Madigan?

A campaign operative for powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was able to pad his pension by representing ComEd in Cook County, according to an investigation by WBEZ.

But the operative, Raymond Nice, stopped working for the utility giant after federal authorities raided the offices of the City Club of Chicago, a prominent public affairs organization. A source involved in the investigation said the feds are looking into suspicions that the head of the City Club acted as a “pass through” for ComEd’s deals with clout hires. [WBEZ]

The FBI is reportedly asking questions about Madigan and his political operation. [Chicago Tribune]

Meanwhile, Gov. JB Pritzker signed an ethics law that requires lobbyists to disclose more information. [Chicago Tribune]

3. Johnson’s relationship with a subordinate could raise “significant red flags”

Former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson transferred a female officer out of his security detail as the scandal from their night drinking snowballed.

That transfer could be in violation of a city policy that prohibits employment decisions from being made based on an employee’s “submission to or rejection of” a supervisor’s sexual advance.

An employment attorney, who has sued the city multiple times, said if Johnson and the officer were romantically involved then that raises “significant red flags” that could violate the law. [WBEZ]

Meanwhile, it’s unclear if Johnson will appear before the city’s inspector general, who is investigating the circumstances surrounding the night Johnson was found slumping in a police vehicle. [WBEZ]

4. Nationwide strike grinds France to a halt

The French do not mess around when it comes to strikes and protests.

A mass strike today left schools shuttered, public transportation shut down and the Eiffel Tower closed. The nationwide strike was called in response to President Emmanuel Macron’s planned pension reforms that could see workers retiring later or facing reduced benefits.

Workers have blocked seven out of eight oil refineries in France, raising the possibility of a fuel shortage if the strike persists. [NPR]

The strike comes a year after the French government announced it would suspend a gasoline tax that sparked three weeks of increasingly violent protests. [New York Times]

5. Mixed smoke signals in Chicago

The Chicago Police Department yesterday said folks can still be ticketed if they’re smoking pot on their porches or in their backyards after recreational marijuana becomes legal on Jan. 1, causing some folks to ask why was weed legalized in the first place.

But that message got some blowback today from Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

In a statement, Lightfoot and interim police Superintendent Charlie Beck said “an individual using cannabis in their own backyard or balcony poses no direct threat to public safety, and no resident should be arrested or ticketed solely for such a scenario.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

Meanwhile, Gov. JB Pritzker is trying to tamp down public expectations on Jan. 1.

“Our goal is not to immediately deliver as much access to recreational cannabis as possible as quickly as possible,” the governor said, adding that the aim is “to address the inequities that have wreaked havoc on many of our communities.”

His comments come after the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus raised concerns that minority communities will not get a fair share of the profits generated from legal weed. [Chicago Tribune]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Chicago drivers have 10 days to get their city sticker tickets tossed out. [WBEZ]
  • The mother of slain 5-year-old AJ Freund pleaded guilty to murder. [Chicago Tribune]
  • A man who was bodyslammed by a Chicago cop is still recovering, according to the man’s mother. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Some people really love the baby Yoda from The Mandalorian. [Gizmodo]

Oh, and one more thing …

An electric eel named Miguel Wattson is getting lit this Christmas.

The Tennessee Aquarium set up a Christmas tree next to Wattson’s tank so that every time he emits electricity, the tree’s lights begin to flicker.

“We want people to be interested in these animals and interested in protecting the waters that they live in,” said aquarist Kimberly Hurt. [NPR]

Tell me something good ...

I’m putting together a bingo card of local things to do as the winter holidays approach, and I’d love to hear from y’all.

Jill from Pullman writes:

“Take in the annual Pullman Candlelight House Walk, eight decorated historic homes plus refreshments. Get your decorating game jump-started!”

And Anne Devaud writes:

“Dress up in your finest, ring your bells, and sing your little heart out at the holiday sing-alongs at The Music Box!”

What are your favorite things to do during the holidays? Feel free to email at therundown@wbez.org 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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