Good afternoon! It’s Wednesday, and Hunter is off on what’s shaping up to be a busy news day. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)
1. Trump asked Ukraine’s president for “a favor”
That’s according to White House call records released Wednesday that detail a conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukrainan President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During that July conversation, Trump urged Zelensky to provide information that could lead to a corruption investigation into political rival Joe Biden. He also made the unfounded claim that the private email server of former presidential challenger Hillary Clinton is in Ukraine.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, but his decision to freeze about $400 million in military assistance for Ukraine days before the call has raised eyebrows in Washington.
White House officials said the call records don’t show the president seeking an investigation in exchange for providing aid. But a statement from some top Democrats said “no quid pro quo is required to betray our country.”
The conversation only came to light after a whistleblower complaint about Trump’s requests. But the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday there was no basis for a criminal investigation. [Washington Post]
After previously refusing to turn the full whistleblower investigation over to Congress, The New York Times reports the White House will deliver the findings to the House Intelligence Committee today. [New York Times]
2. Who supports impeaching the president?
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning found that 57% of Americans do not favor ousting President Trump. And only 37% percent were in favor of impeachment.
But the poll was conducted last Thursday through Monday, as details were only emerging about a call where President Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden. The polling was also completed a day before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry. [Washington Post]
Top House Democrats said Wednesday that the newly released call records only confirm the need for that inquiry. [NPR]
The New York Times is reporting that more than two-thirds of the 235 House Democrats support the inquiry. [New York Times]
And The Washington Post says now some Senate Republicans have begun to question the president’s judgement after the release of the call records. [Washington Post]
3. British lawmakers return to work
Across the pond, the House of Commons was back in session Wednesday, just one day after the British Supreme Court called Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament “unlawful, void and of no effect.”
With a self-imposed Brexit deadline approaching at the end of next month, lawmakers quickly resumed their raucous debate over how to leave the European Union. [NPR]
As for Johnson, he cut short his trip to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly to return to London. He quickly challenged the opposition for a confidence vote that would trigger a snap general election. Johnson’s rivals have so far refused such a tactic. [BBC]
4. Chicago buses kids to its top schools, but has it helped diversity?
CPS is spending millions of dollars to bus students to the city’s top schools — even as those schools are doing less to accomplish their goal of creating pockets of integration in an otherwise segregated school system. Last year, CPS bused 8,195 students to magnet and test-in schools across the city, but a WBEZ analysis found that most students traveled to schools with a similar racial makeup as their neighborhood school.
More than 74% of students whose neighborhood school is majority black are bused to majority black schools. And 43% of students whose neighborhood schools are majority Latino are bused to majority Latino schools. White students largely only take the bus to mixed or majority white schools. [WBEZ]
5. Chicagoan receives “genius grant”
Chicago-based urban designer Emmanuel Pratt won a 2019 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” He will receive $625,000 over five years.
Pratt is co-founder and executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation, a nonprofit group based on the South Side that does projects such as repurposing abandoned buildings and vacant lots into sites of urban agriculture.
And former Chicaogan Lynda Barry was among the other recipients. Barry is best known as the creator of Ernie Pook’s Comeek, a cartoon that has been syndicated in alternative weeklies in North America. She is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. [WBEZ]
Here’s what else is happening
Juul’s CEO is stepping down as vaping-related illnesses increase. [New York Times]
Benjamin Netanyahu has been chosen to form Israel’s next government. [New York Times]
Should you keep your medical marijuana card? WBEZ answers your legal weed questions. [WBEZ]
Iran says Persian Gulf peace must start with U.S. troops leaving. [NPR]
Oh, and one more thing …
Illinois residents have been fleeing for decades, but a new Chicago Tribune analysis found a lot of them are moving to Indiana.
That’s right, The Hoosier State has been the top destination for fleeing Illinois residents over most of the past decade. (Wisconsin came out ahead a few times.)
The deep dive into census data also found that people aren’t moving to Illinois. The Land of Lincoln was third-to-last nationally in new residents in 2017. [Chicago Tribune]
Tell me something good …
Hunter used a new character this week in Dungeons and Dragons: Glöstik the Destroyer, lord of ravers, rider of strobe lights. And that got him thinking, what are some of your favorite fantasy characters?
Zach Lewis writes:
“Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggins from Ender’s Game! Ender, the youngest of three children, is sent by the military to an earth-orbiting Battle School thanks to the state’s strict two-child rule.
“Whilst at Battle School, Ender overcomes (what seems like) every scenario a young teenage boy could imagine — being lost, homesick, bullied, outnumbered — and (unknowingly) saves the planet from Aliens (Buggers) with his crew.
You have to read it if you haven’t!”
Who is one of your favorite fantasy characters? Feel free to tweet or email Hunter, and they might be shared here this week.