Newsletter: The White House Vs. Bolton

John Bolton
Former national security adviser John Bolton gestures while speakings at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in 2019. Democrats have said Bolton’s testimony is crucial to their impeachment case, but Trump’s legal team has tried to cast doubts on his credibility. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press
John Bolton
Former national security adviser John Bolton gestures while speakings at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington in 2019. Democrats have said Bolton’s testimony is crucial to their impeachment case, but Trump’s legal team has tried to cast doubts on his credibility. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Newsletter: The White House Vs. Bolton

Hey there, it’s Wednesday! And I think I prefer the Puppy Bowl to the Super Bowl. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)


1. The White House threatened Bolton over manuscript

The White House has issued a formal threat to former national security advisor John Bolton to keep him from publishing his memoir because it contains “significant amounts of classified information,” CNN reported today.

Meanwhile, Bolton’s lawyers are accusing the Trump administration of sharing the contents of the book beyond the National Security Council, which is vetting the manuscript. [CNN]

Republican leaders said they don’t currently have enough votes to block witnesses, including Bolton, from testifying in the Senate impeachment trial. The Democrats have said Bolton’s testimony is crucial to their impeachment case, but Trump’s legal team has tried to cast doubts on his credibility. [Wall Street Journal]

The White House would need a court order to block Bolton from testifying, but an analysis by NBC says that’s unlikely. [NBC]

2. Chicago police are using controversial facial recognition software to identify suspects

The program takes images of unknown suspects and compares them to billions of photos on social media sites like Facebook and YouTube. A police spokesman said the program helps investigators close cases, but a lawsuit claims the images are illegally collected. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Chicago isn’t the only city using the technology. The New York Times reported this month that more than 600 law enforcement agencies are using the software. The company behind the program, Clearview AI, has also sold its software to a handful of private security firms. [The New York Times]

3. A former Planned Parenthood of Illinois executive was charged with theft

Andrea Peoples, the former director of finance at the nonprofit, was indicted Tuesday after prosecutors alleged she embezzled more than $100,000 over two years. She is accused of making “multiple unauthorized purchases” with the group’s credit card, according to court records.

In 2018, Peoples became the chief financial officer at the nonprofit Chicago House and Social Service Agency, which is now also accusing her of theft. Peoples has only been charged in the Planned Parenthood case. [WBEZ]

4. Pritzker lays out ethics-reform roadmap

Gov. JB Pritzker today called for urgent ethics reform during his annual State of the State speech.

The comments came one day after former Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty to bribery and tax evasion. The feds also have an ongoing investigation focused on the Springfield lobbying practices of ComEd and Exelon.

The proposed changes would ban legislators from serving simultaneously as lobbyists and prevent them from becoming lobbyists after they leave office. It would also require more disclosure of conflicts of interest. [WBEZ]

5. Electric scooters are coming back to Chicago

E-scooters are getting a second test run in the city, at least until Mayor Lori Lightfoot decides whether or not to make a deal with one of the companies that flooded parts of the streets with thousands of dockless scooters last summer.

Chicagoans had mixed feelings about the program: 86% of people who had ridden the scooters wanted to see them become a permanent fixture, but only 21% who had not ridden felt the same, according to a report Lightfoot’s administration released. [Chicago Tribune]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Chicago’s gone a week without sun, and there’s only been one clear day in 2020. [Block Club Chicago]

Oh, and one more thing …

Cook County officials have asked high schoolers to help give the county flag a facelift.

Why? Because the current design is so boring that “no one cares about it,” said Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton, who described the current flag as a “seal on a bedsheet.” He’s asking students in grades nine through 12 to submit “simple but elegant” redesigns of the flag by April 15. [Chicago Sun-Times]

The rules are fairly simple: Use the history, mission and geography of Cook County to design a flag that’s full of meaning. Don’t use texts, letters, numbers, the county seal or map. Also give the flag a name.

The full rules are available on the county’s website. [Cookcountyil.gov]

Tell me something good …

Teen detective Nancy Drew turns 90 later this year, and I’d like to know who was your favorite childhood literary character.

Betsey O’Brien writes:

“My favorite character from childhood fiction was an ingenious French mouse named Anatole, who carried fellow mice trapped in the Eiffel Tower to safety aboard a paper kite. Pretty sure the book is out of print, but the story lingers in my heart.”

Who was your favorite literary character from your childhood? Feel free to email at therundown@wbez.org or tweet to @whuntah.

Have a nice night! We’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.