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Eddie Johnson

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks during a news conference in this file photo from Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

Teresa Crawford

Newsletter: Eddie Johnson Could Lose More Than His Job

Good afternoon! It’s Tuesday. And there’s another Bill & Ted movie coming out, a sentence I thought I’d never write. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Could Eddie Johnson face criminal charges?

The city watchdog investigation into former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s conduct raises questions over whether he’ll face additional consequences.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired Johnson earlier this month, saying he misled her and the public about the circumstances surrounding the October weeknight he was found slumped over in a police vehicle by cops. Newspaper reports say Johnson had a few drinks earlier that night with a female subordinate, and the former head cop flashed his badge when officers found him inside a vehicle not far from his Bridgeport home.

As WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell reports, Johnson could face criminal charges or other punitive measures depending on what Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s office uncovers about that night. [WBEZ]

2. McConnell rejects Dem request for witnesses in possible impeachment trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today rejected a Democratic push to include witnesses in a potential impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants top White House officials to appear at the trial, which could take place next year if the House votes to impeach Trump this week. [AP]

The full House will tomorrow begin considering the two articles of impeachment against Trump: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. WBEZ will air live coverage of tomorrow’s hearing starting at 8 a.m. CST.

Here’s a guide that looks at what will happen in the House and what comes next. [NPR]

Meanwhile, Trump sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today that denounced the impeachment inquiry. [NPR]

3. Pope Francis lifts secrecy rules for sex abuse cases

Pope Francis today abolished the “pontifical secrecy” rule, which critics say has been used to protect clergy in sex abuse cases and prevent authorities from investigating crimes. Pope Francis’ move removes an obstacle for civil authorities when they request information from church officials. It also allows victims to be updated on the status of their cases.

Pope Francis also expanded the church’s definition of child pornography, raising the age limit of who is considered a child from 14 to 18.

The new laws come as Pope Francis has struggled to address growing public outrage over the church’s handling of sexual abuse allegations. [NPR]

4. Black market won’t disappear when pot becomes legal in Illinois

That’s because there are a number of obstacles that could prevent customers from leaving their dealers for a dispensary, reports the Chicago Tribune. One of those barriers is the expected shortage of recreational marijuana when it becomes legal on Jan. 1. A cannabis research firm estimates that illegal sales of pot will outpace legal sales at least through 2024. [Chicago Tribune]

Because of the expected shortage, a group of pro-pot state lawmakers have vowed to give priority access to medical marijuana card holders. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wants the city to grow its own marijuana and open what she calls a “cooperative cultivation center.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

5. DREAMer sues to be released from federal custody

Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez, a 24-year-old Chicago resident, was returning from a camping trip earlier this year when police in Iowa pulled over the car he was traveling in. Lopez Gutierrez was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.

Lopez Gutierrez now faces deportation even though he qualifies for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, which gives immigrants brought to the United States as children temporary relief from deportation.

The criminal charges against Lopez Gutierrez were eventually dropped, but federal immigration officials continue to detain him. Now he’s suing to be released. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign official who cooperated with the Mueller investigation, was sentenced to 45 days in jail. [NPR]

  • India tops the world in the number of internet shutdowns, a common tool used by authoritarian regimes to clamp down on dissent. [New York Times]

  • It’s Tuesday, and that means NPR’s Peter Sagal and Nerdette podcast have a recap of HBO’s His Dark Materials. [WBEZ]

  • Reactions to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are pouring in. (Spoiler free.) [Gizmodo]

Oh, and one more thing …

When we are all long gone, will all that’s left of us be our … chewing gum?

Scientists were able to obtain the DNA of a woman who lived 6,000 years ago through ancient chewing gum — tar from a tree — and were able to decode her genetic code. The DNA from the wad of gum is valuable because few remains from the Stone Age have been discovered.

The DNA of the woman, nicknamed Lola, shows she is closely related to hunter-gatherers from mainland Europe and had dark skin, dark brown hair and blue eyes. [BBC]

Tell me something good ...

I’m literally counting down the days until Friday because I’ll be on vacation for the next week and a half. (Don’t worry, someone else will be writing the newsletter.) So I’d like to know what you’re doing for the holidays.

Hugh writes:

“My wife hates the holidays for personal reasons that results in sadness and depression, so last year I said we’re not doing this again and I booked an Airbnb in Turks and Caicos. As it turns out, we are splitting up as a family this year. My son is graduating from college in Colorado so I am flying out to pack him up and bring him back to Chicago. We’re planning to hit the slopes for a few days and drive home Christmas day. My wife and daughter have taken the option on the Airbnb in T&C. Seems like a win-win for us all and we all get back to Chicago after Christmas and be ready to tackle 2020 with a vengeance!”

What are your holiday 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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