This week in our Friday news roundup:
- Illinois farmers are getting hit by tariffs as China and other nations retaliate over trade moves made by President Donald Trump.
- Mayor Rahm Emanuel has filed another brief against the Trump administration, this one opposing federal immigration policy.
- And a new investigation shows additional concerns about a star pediatric psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Those are a few of the stories Morning Shift digs into this week for its Friday news roundup, featuring Chicago Tribune reporter Greg Trotter, Daily Line reporter A.D. Quig, and ProPublica Illinois reporter Jodi Cohen, with host Amy Guth. Below are some highlights.
Trade war implications in Illinois
Greg Trotter: This is a huge deal. A huge concern in particular for Illinois soybean farmers. Illinois produced the most soybeans last year, and China is the largest global export market for those beans. And so there is a huge amount of concern for farmers right now. A lot of uncertainty in terms of is this going to continue to escalate? Another $16 billion in tariffs the president has said will come later this month. It could go up to $400 or $500 billion, depending if China continues to retaliate.
So this is a situation that continue to escalate. Soybean futures are already plummeting. Farmers have their soybeans in the ground right now. They’re very worried. And this is coming at a time where farm income has been down for years. So there’s just a lot of uncertainty. A lot of these farmers voted for President Trump, but they now find themselves in a situation where they’re very worried about their livelihood and what it’s going to mean.
Mayor Emanuel declares opposition to federal immigration policy
A.D. Quig: This is one of several filings the mayor has made — and lawsuits — against the Trump administration to emphasize that Chicago is a welcoming city for all. There are some who say this is just related to electoral politics, but to be frank, Chicago is a city of immigrants. It always has been. It relies on immigrants. There’s a lot of talk about Chicago’s population loss. Without Mexican immigrants, Chicago’s population would be down around 2 million where it is around 2.7 million now.
So this latest filing was against childhood detention. They’ve also sued over grants owed to the Chicago Police Department. The federal government was going to make those contingent on CPD participating with ICE, and the mayor said this goes against our sanctuary city policy and we’re going to sue so we can keep those grants. They’ve also sued over EPA filings. They’ve also sued over the U.S. Census question. Just a series of things that shows Chicago’s a welcoming city, a liberal city, and that we support immigrants.
University uses narrow definition of “complaint” in defense of controversial lithium study
Jodi Cohen: A few months ago, I wrote a story explaining that the National Institute of Mental Health had demanded that the University of Illinois at Chicago return $3.1 million that the university had been given for one of its psychiatrists, Dr. Mani Pavuluri, to conduct research on the effects of lithium on adolescents. And it’s really unprecedented to have a demand to return research money. It’s just not something that really happens. So the university had to return the $3.1 million at a time where it’s not like they’re overflowing with cash. …
When I requested information and records from the university, I really wanted to know how many families had “complained.” That was the word I used. And I was told in several different ways that one family had complained. Then I received new documents that showed that they had logged at least eight calls from parents and also described some of those calls as “complaints.” So I went back to the university and said, “Why did you tell me one? And how are you defining complaint?” And they wrote back with the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of complaint, choosing the third definition, which is the most narrow definition, which is “a formal allegation.”
Greg Trotter, Chicago Tribune reporter
A.D. Quig, Daily Line reporter
Jodi Cohen, ProPublica Illinois reporter
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.