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Jan. 6

Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

John Minchillo

The Rundown: Trump defends supporters chanting “hang” Pence

Hey there! It’s Friday, and we did it! We made it through another week in 2021! Before I head off into the sunset with a vodka soda, here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. Trump defends supporters who chanted “hang Mike Pence”

In a recorded interview, former President Donald Trump did not condemn supporters who threatened to “hang” former Vice President Mike Pence during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Well, the people were very angry,” Trump can be heard saying in an audio clip. The interview was conducted by Jonathan Karl of ABC News for his upcoming book, Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show.

Axios reports more “news-breaking audio” will air on Sunday during ABC’s This Week. [Axios]

Meanwhile, Trump adviser Steve Bannon has been charged for defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. [NPR]

Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows faces the same possibility after he did not appear before the committee today. [CNN]

2. A record number of Americans are saying “I quit”

More than 4.4 million workers voluntarily quit their jobs in September as employers struggle to fill millions of job openings, the Labor Department announced today. That’s up from the 4.3 million reported in August.

Economists say the “Great Resignation” is caused by a number of factors, such as problems with child care, the unpredictability of schools, public health concerns and workers switching to better paying jobs.

Another issue that could be in play are retirements. The Associated Press reports there are 5 million fewer workers looking for jobs compared to before the pandemic. Goldman Sachs estimates most of the 5 million are people who decided to retire. [AP]

3. A journalist with ties to Chicago is sentenced to 11 years in prison in Myanmar

A court in military-controlled Myanmar found Danny Fenster, a journalist who studied at Columbia College Chicago, guilty on three charges and sentenced him to 11 years in prison with hard labor, the harshest possible sentence for those crimes.

Fenster was convicted of spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organizations and violating visa regulations, reports The Associated Press. He faces the possibility of life in prison on additional charges of terrorism and treason.

The ruling military in Myanmar began imprisoning journalists and activists after it overthrew the elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in February. The U.S. government and free press advocates have condemned the treatment of Fenster and six other journalists. [AP]

4. Chicago’s police watchdog faces an uproar after releasing a report recommending a suspension for an officer killed in the line of duty

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and members of the City Council are criticizing the Civilian Office of Police Accountability after it released a report this week saying Officer Ella French, who was killed during a traffic stop in August, should have been suspended in 2019, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

“They wonder why no one wants to serve as a member of the Chicago Police Department anymore. Another assault like this, despicable. Ella French was a hero,” said Ald. Matt O’Shea, whose 19th ward is home to many officers.

COPA on Wednesday released a report on its investigation into the wrongful police raid on social worker Anjanette Young’s home. The office recommended a three-day suspension for French, who allegedly did not turn on her body camera and failed to fill out some paperwork.

After French was killed, Young released a statement praising the officer, saying she was the only cop who showed her “dignity and respect.” [Sun-Times]

5. Chicago VFW surprised with a $10,000 renovation for Veterans Day

Here’s a nice story that shows the world isn’t completely horrible: Members of the John E. Connolly Victory VFW in Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood were surprised with $10,000 in renovations from a campaign by the Home Depot Foundation, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

The VFW’s building had suffered water damage, was missing doors and needed a new paint job, the newspaper reports.

“They deserve more than what we can give to them because they fought for our freedom,” said Jose Murillo, a volunteer who helped with repairs. [Sun-Times]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Scientists say they have found new clues as to why some people develop “long COVID-19.” [NPR]
  • Thousands of Illinois families could miss out on monthly child tax credit payments. [WBEZ]
  • Mayor Lightfoot received a COVID-19 booster shot today as city officials mark “Vaccination Awareness Day.” [Chicago Tribune]
  • Chicago’s Christkindlmarket and outside skating return next weekend. [Block Club Chicago]

Oh, and one more thing …

The holidays came early for Marvel fans today, as Disney+ released sneak peeks of upcoming projects and teased a boatload more.

Folks who loved WandaVision will be excited to learn Kathryn Hahn will return in Agatha: House of Harkness with WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer.

Disney+ also gave its first glimpse of Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight, which follows a superhero who is kinda like Batman but has dissociative identity disorder.

And there’s going to be an animated Marvel Zombies series. The alternative timeline, first appearing on screen in this year’s What If …? series, finds our beloved heroes fighting against the zombie apocalypse. [Deadline]

Tell me something good ...

The holidays are quickly approaching, and I’m buying presents earlier this year. So I’d like to know: What are your favorite places to shop locally?

Karen tweets:

“Lillstreet in Ravenswood has terrific local art. Rep Chi in Jefferson Park has funky, fun, unexpected local goods. The Sweden Shop in North Park has sweet Scandinavian things. And of course any of the city’s outstanding museums’ shops.”

Kim writes:

“Since I came upon it 15 years ago, I haven’t once missed holiday shopping at Komoda. It’s on Chicago Avenue and has crafts, housewares, toys, and jewelry that I don’t see in other shops. From Japanese paper blow-up toys to embroidered slippers to surreal enameled pins that thrill teenage hearts, it’s all lovely. As a retired shop owner, I appreciate that the owner’s aesthetic is apparent in such diverse offerings.”

Thanks for all the recommendations this week. I’m sorry I couldn’t share them all, but it was nice hearing from you.

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