<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Political News and Chicago Politics]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usSat, 10 Dec 2016 03:17:15 -0600Sat, 10 Dec 2016 03:17:15 -0600NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump Says Blacks Who Didn't Vote 'Felt Good About Me']]> Sat, 10 Dec 2016 00:21:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP16345080011808_opt.jpg

Donald Trump at a rally on Friday said African-American voters who didn't show up to the polls "felt good about me."

"The African-American community was great to us," Trump said. "They came through big league."

"If they had any doubt, they didn't vote," Trump added. "And that was almost as good. Because a lot of people didn't show up, because they felt good about me."

Trump made the comments at the fourth stop on his "Thank You" tour, meant ostensibly to thank the millions of voters that delivered him a resounding White House win last month.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump to Attend 2 Official Balls on Inauguration Night]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:31:24 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16342061241865.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump will attend two official inaugural balls on the night of Jan. 20, as well as the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball, the inauguration committee revealed Friday.

It was not immediately clear where the balls will be held.

Inaugural events will span several days, with public events on the National Mall, a welcome rally with Trump, and a parade, the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee said in a release.

The Salute to Our Armed Services Ball event will celebrate members of the military, veterans, first responders and their families.

"This will truly be a powerfully uniting moment for the American people," said Presidential Inaugural Committee Chairman Thomas J. Barrack Jr. "We will celebrate our country, its diverse and patriotic heritage, our democracy and the inaugural process as the greatest display of a peaceful transfer of partisan power in the world."

For updates on the inauguration, you can follow @TrumpInaugural on Twitter.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Warns Against 'Epidemic' of Fake News]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2016 06:23:41 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-628630764.jpg

Hillary Clinton appealed Thursday for a bipartisan fight against an "epidemic of malicious, fake news," calling the dissemination of false propaganda a threat with "real-world consequences."

"It's now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences. This isn't about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk. Lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities. It's a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly," Clinton told lawmakers at the Capitol during a portrait unveiling in honor of retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

"It's imperative that leaders in both the private and public sector step up to protect our democracy and innocent lives," she added.

The former secretary of state sounded the alarm one month after her presidential election loss to Donald Trump in a race that was beset by the public spread of misinformation on social media.

Clinton's reference to the "real-world consequences" of fake news comes days after a man fired an assault rifle at a Washington D.C. pizza parlor. Edgar Maddison Welch, 28, said he went to investigate a fake online news story about a child sex trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton and prominent Democrats operating out of the restaurant.

Clinton received sustained applause as she stood to speak, ruefully remarking, "This is not exactly the speech at the Capitol I hoped to give" after the election.

She joked that after spending several weeks in the woods taking selfies, she thought it would be a good idea to emerge.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Moore Tweets Inauguration Protest Petition to 3.4M Followers]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:27:20 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/miketrump.jpg

Michael Moore doesn't plan on taking Donald Trump's upcoming inauguration sitting down... or quietly.

The outspoken film director tweeted to his followers an online petition encouraging critics of the president-elect to gather in Washington D.C. on Jan 20th and disrupt the Inauguration.

"Disrupt the Inauguration. The Majority have spoken - by nearly 2.7 million votes and counting!" Moore wrote. "Silence is not an option."

It is unclear if Moore is involved in the actual planning of the inauguration protests, or if he's simply forwarding the information to his 3.4M Twitter followers. Calls to Moore's representatives were not returned. 

Appearing on Late Night with Seth Myers Wednesday, Moore made a direct appeal to Trump following reports the President-elect had turned away some opportunities to receive intelligence briefings.

"With all due respect, Mr. President-elect. On our behalf, you have to pay attention. You have to attend these briefings. This is our country. This is our security. This is our safety. You're horsing around with all this nonsense. And you're not doing your no. 1 job, and the no. 1 job of the president is to make sure that the country is safe."

Moore added, "And I beg you, seriously, there's not right or left, Republican-Democrat going on here. I'm asking you to do your job for the sake of the people who may end up dead because you didn't do you job. "

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Watch: Senators Pay Tribute to Joe Biden With Speeches]]> Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:45:10 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/NA54W_1200x675_827720259868.jpg Vice President Joe Biden was honored with an emotional bi-partisan tribute on the Senate chamber floor on Dec. 7. 2016. Senators on both sides of the aisle were on the same page as they stepped up to express their admiration and gratitude to the outgoing vice president. An emotional Biden sat in the presiding chair during the moving tribute, which latest for more than two hours as lawmakers celebrated their colleague.]]> <![CDATA[Mayor Emanuel Meets With President-Elect Trump]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:08:53 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/TRUMP+EMANUEL.png

Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday morning at Trump Tower in New York City and delivered a letter from mayors across the country calling for protections for young immigrants.   

Emanuel said after the meeting he had a "very good meeting" with Trump, his incoming chief of staff and senior adviser and also discussed transportation, investment in infrastructure and job creation.

"I was clear about where I stood on immigrants, that we welcome them because they are achieving and striving to the American Dream," Emanuel said. "But, also then, how to make, as a city and as a country, key investments in both the talent, the training, as well as the transportation to drive economic growth."

Emanuel, along with mayors from New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia and other cities, warned the incoming Trump Administration about the economic impact eliminating the program would have. They cited the potential loss of $9.9 billion in tax contributions over the next four years. Emanuel hand-delivered the letter to the president-elect Wednesday. 

Trump reportedly called Emanuel, who worked in the Clinton and Obama administrations, following the November election to discuss the ongoing presidential transition process. According to the mayor, Trump asked for an in-person meeting during that call. 

Since Trump was elected, Emanuel has been preparing for a clash over Chicago’s sanctuary city status. Over the course of Trump's campaign, the president-elect promised to deport as many as 3 million immigrants who have a criminal record or are living in the country illegally. Additionally, the billionaire also pledged to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities.

During a Trump transition press conference Monday, spokesman Jason Miller explained that the real estate magnate who was elected commander-in-chief “has been very direct in where he stands with regard to sanctuary cities, and I expect to see significant action on that front after he is sworn in,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

As a result, Mayor Emanuel and a group of 14 mayors from across the country signed a letter to Trump Wednesday urging him to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program until Congress modernizes the country's immigration system and provides "a more permanent form of relief for the close to one million young people who were brought to the United States before they were 16," according to a release.

Following the meeting, Emanuel pushed to protect DREAMers, a designation given to undocumented young people protected under executive orders signed by President Barack Obama in 2012.

"We are clear as mayors that these are DREAMers who are seeking the American Dream and we should embrace them rather than do a bait-and-switch," Emanuel told reporters. "I also spoke out strongly about what it means to be a sanctuary city, where we support and secure the people that are here, like my grandfather who came to the city of Chicago as a 13-year-old 100 years ago."

The mayor added, "Chicago was a sanctuary city for my grandfather. His grandson today is the mayor of this city, which is a testament to the strength of the values and the ideals of being America."

In an interview with Time released Wednesday, wherein Trump was named the magazine's Person of the Year, the president-elect seemed to soften on his immigration stance, despite continuing to push for a border wall.

"I want DREAMers for our children also," Trump said. "We're going to work something out. On a humanitarian basis it's a very tough situation. We're going to work something out that's going to make people happy and proud. But that's a very tough situation."

Emanuel has recently taken a series of steps to protect Chicago's immigrants, including sponsoring a resolution that calls on Gov. Bruce Rauner to publicly support his efforts to promote Chicago as a sanctuary city for immigrants. The measure reaffirms the 2012 Welcoming City ordinance that cements Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city.

Additionally, Emanuel joined Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Luis Gutierrez Tuesday in launching a new "Chicago is With You" task force, which is collaborating on mental health, legal services, employer communications, and education polices to ensure the city of Chicago is delivering comprehensive services to immigrants, refugees and other disenfranchised communities.

Emanuel's meeting with Trump comes just days after Chicago city workers removed the remaining honorary "Trump Plaza" street signs near the president-elect's riverfront hotel and condominium tower. Emanuel and a group of aldermen led the effort to remove the signs as a response to Trump's divisive campaign rhetoric and comments about the city's violence. 

Trump also met with Emanuel’s brother, Ari Emanuel, at his New Jersey golf course last month, CNN reported. During the meeting, Trump referred to Emanuel, who is the co-CEO of the powerful WME-IMG talent agency, as "the king of Hollywood."

Emanuel is reportedly not seeking a role in Trump’s administration, but attended the meeting to "discuss some concerns he had," although details remain scarce. Following the meeting, Trump referred to Emanuel as a "great friend."

Emanuel represented Trump in some negotiations with NBC over his reality television show "The Celebrity Apprentice," CNN reported. However, WME-IMG, which bought Trump’s ownership stake in the Miss Universe Pageant in 2015, said it no longer represents Trump.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama on Election Night: 'I Went to Bed']]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:36:05 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/michellevogue.jpg

Michelle Obama did not stay out of bed long enough on election night to see Donald Trump pass 270 electoral votes, she said in a recent interview with People magazine. 

“I went to bed. I don’t like to watch the political discourse; I never have,” Obama told People in the joint interview with her husband. “I barely did with him,” she added, referring to her husband. 

“Once you do what you can do, then you rest easy. It was in the hands of the American people,” she said.

Obama stood by her passionate support of Hillary Clinton during the election, telling the magazine, "anything that I felt about the election I said and I stand by.”

But she reinforced her commitment to help a smooth transition to the new administration so they could be "as successful as they can be."

“This is our democracy, and this is how it works,” she said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump: Alec Baldwin 'SNL' Imitation Doesn't Get Me at All]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:53:08 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/214*120/NUP_175509_0055_opt.jpg

For weeks, "Saturday Night Live" has been lampooning Donald Trump, and for weeks Trump has been reacting with bad reviews. 

"Unwatchable!" he tweeted after this week's episode, which had just mocked his habit of tweeting. The president-elect saved particular ire for Alec Baldwin's Trump impression, which "just can't get any worse."

But the newly minted the Time Person of the Year wouldn't answer Matt Lauer's questions on whether it would probably be better for him to just stop watching. 

Trump avoided the question a couple of times in a "Today" show interview early Wednesday, instead bashing the satirical sketch show and Baldwin, who's taken the mantle as late-night TV's impersonator-in-chief. 

"I mean Alec, I like Alec, but his imitation of me is really mean-spirited and not very good," Trump said. "I don't think that his imitation of me gets me at all, and it's meant to be very mean-spirited which is very biased and I don't like it so I can tweet that out."

Trump has been tweeting his feelings about "SNL" since Baldwin started playing the real estate magnate this season, aping the way he walks, talks and holds himself in re-enactments of presidential debates and more. While Trump called an episode that made fun of his appearance in an October debate a boring "hit job," Baldwin has helped the show to its best ratings in nearly a decade.

Trump hosted the show just a year ago — prompting protests outside Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, where it's filmed — and Trump told Lauer the show was good back then.

Not so much anymore. "There's nothing funny about it, the skits are terrible," he said.

Trump didn't answer when Lauer asked, "So why do you keep watching it?"

Baldwin hasn't responded to the interview yet, but he has suggested a way for Trump to get the impressions to stop. He just has to release his tax returns, Baldwin tweeted in reply to Trump's "SNL" criticism Sunday morning.

"Saturday Night Live" and this station are both owned by NBCUniversal.

Photo Credit: Will Heath/NBC
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<![CDATA[Rep. Bustos Elected to Democratic House Leadership Role]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 19:41:51 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cheribustos1.jpg

After being elected to a leadership role in the House Democratic Caucus Monday, Rep. Cheri Bustos is primed to shape outreach and communications efforts for a party that suffered a series of pivotal losses in November's election.

Bustos was tapped to co-chair the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee after winning every county in her downstate swing district last month. 

In an exclusive Ward Room interview Tuesday, Bustos stressed the importance of continuing to incorporate jobs and the economy into Democratic messaging and outreach, encouraging members of her party to talk about those issues “in a way people understand.” President-elect Donald Trump, who was elected amid a wave of populist support, won 11 of her district’s 14 counties.

“I can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen under the Trump Administration, but I do know this, we have to continue talking to working families,” Bustos said. “We have to continue to talk about our solutions, and we’ve got great ones.”

Bustos pointed to the House Democrats’ “Make It In America” legislative plan as an example. The plan focuses on four key areas: expanding entrepreneurship and innovation, closing the skills gap, building a 21st century infrastructure, and breaking down barriers to manufacturing. Two of Bustos’ bills, which aim to encourage private sector job creation in the U.S., are included in the package.

“We have a lot of work to do so that people understand that what they used to think about Democrats, we haven’t changed, but we’ve gotta make sure that they know that we're fighting for those values and those policies that mean so much to them and their families,” Bustos said. “And that’s why messaging is so important.”

As a leader of the minority party, Bustos will now be tasked with countering the Republican agenda. Republicans will soon hold the White House, as well as majorities in the House and Senate. During Monday’s interview, the congresswoman was critical of Trump’s recent appointments.

“If you look at the start of the Donald Trump Administration, we’re one month into it and his choice for attorney general spent his legal career on the wrong side of the civil rights movement," Bustos said. “His pick for education secretary doesn’t even believe in public schools. His nominee for health and human services wants to end Medicare as we know it and take away healthcare from 20 million Americans."

“And then, at a time where you get working men and women who think that Donald Trump was speaking their language, he’s put some of the biggest Wall Street insiders in charge of the treasury and commerce departments,” she added.

In a Sunday interview with 60 Minutes, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that repealing and replacing Obamacare would be the incoming GOP Congress’ first order of business. On Tuesday, Bustos admitted that the Affordable Care Act needs to be revised.

“We’ve got some issues that we have to address,” Bustos said. "Premiums are going up at level that is troubling, that many people can’t afford, so we have to address that."

However, Bustos lauded the program for insuring 20 million Americans and pointed to, what she considers, some of its best aspects.

“We have to make sure that we don’t lose some of the best components of the Affordable Care Act,” Bustos said. "The fact that insurance companies can no longer discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, that insurance companies can no longer charge women more than men for their healthcare, the fact that we have closed the Medicare doughnut hole, the fact that our children up to age 26 can stay on our health insurance."

"The only way that we’re able to keep the good parts of the Affordable Care Act is if it’s a sustainable program,” she added. “And Donald Trump and the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have offered no solutions and thats just not good enough.”

During Tuesday's interview, the congresswoman also looked ahead to the 2018 Congressional elections.

“We have a lot of opportunities in two years to hopefully win back some seats and spread what we think is important to working families,” the congresswoman said. “Spread that at a deeper and broader level throughout the country, and that will be part of what I hope to play a part in."

<![CDATA[Donald Trump's Transition to the Presidency]]> Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:52:22 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-624646258.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Prosecutors Seek Gag Order in Case Against Aaron Schock]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:51:28 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/aaron+schock+GettyImages-82663945.png

Federal prosecutors are seeking a gag order in their fraud and tax case against former congressman Aaron Schock.

“He is undoubtedly a public figure,” the government declared in a motion filed this week. “Given the strong public interest in this matter and pre-trial publicity, the government respectfully requests that the court enter an order restricting the parties from making extrajudicial statements.”

Prosecutors James Lewis and Timothy Bass note that the government made a prior request that Schock voluntarily agree to an order limiting his statements outside of court.

“That request was declined,” they said.

In a separate filing, the government accused the former congressman of making “repeated written and oral inflammatory remarks and direct appeals to his ‘community’ in Peoria.”

“On the same day as the indictment… Defendant Schock and his representatives convened a press conference in East Peoria,” they wrote. “He also made several inflammatory remarks, stating that “our federal criminal justice system is broken and too often driven by politics instead of facts.”

The prosecutors noted that Schock insisted in that news conference “The government realized there was no crime; the government attempted to manufacture a crime, and our own government cannot be trusted.”

Schock has requested that his trial be moved to Peoria, rather than Springfield where it is currently slated to be held. The government opposes that move, suggesting that the former congressman is already making efforts to taint the jury pool in his home town.

“In the ordinary case, a criminal defendant seeks to avoid pre-trial publicity,” they wrote. “However, Defendant Schock, on the day of the indictment, generated his own prejudicial pre-trial publicity by convening a press conference in East Peoria.”

“These remarks were followed by Defendant Schock’s direct appeals to the Peoria community, stating that: ‘the people can be trusted. And we will put my future—once again—in the hands of the good people of this community.’”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Emanuel Urges Rauner to Support Chicago as Sanctuary City]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:48:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/210*120/mayor+emanuel1.png

Mayor Rahm Emanuel sponsored a resolution that calls on Gov. Bruce Rauner to publicly support his efforts to promote Chicago as a sanctuary city for immigrants, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Emanuel’s resolution, which was signed by Comptroller Susana Mendoza and 35 of the city’s 50 aldermen, urges Rauner to issue a statement of “support for cities that welcome our undocumented family members and neighbors and condemn any effort to strip the city of Chicago of federal funding,” the Tribune reports.

According to the report, the resolution, which was advanced Monday by the City Council Human Relations Committee, also urges the governor to speak at a special council meeting “held solely for the purpose of discussing the president-elect’s plans for cities that welcome and protect immigrants.”

Over the course of Trump’s campaign, the president-elect promised to deport as many as 3 million immigrants who have a criminal record or are living in the country illegally. Additionally, Trump also pledged to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities, like Chicago.

During a Trump transition press conference Monday, spokesman Jason Miller explained that the real estate magnate cum Commander-in-Chief “has been very direct in where he stands with regard to sanctuary cities, and I expect to see significant action on that front after he is sworn in,” the Tribune reports.

During the campaign, Rauner pledged to support the Republican party's nominee for president. However, he distanced himself from Trump when he became the party’s nominee, refusing to even mention him by name.

Nevertheless, the governor reportedly had a “good, positive conversation” with the president-elect last week. Rauner’s office didn’t respond to specifics of the city’s resolution, but a spokeswoman reiterated the governor’s support for immigration reform, according to the report.

Emanuel’s resolution, which reaffirms the 2012 Welcoming City ordinance that cements Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city, states that the Chicago police can only turn information on immigrants over to federal agents if they are wanted on a criminal warrant or have been convicted of a serious crime, the Tribune reports.

The law also prohibits officers from giving Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents access to their facilities for interviews or investigation. Additionally, the measure bars on-duty CPD officers from responding to ICE inquiries or discussing a person’s custody status or release date with ICE officials.

Earlier this year, the City Council voted in favor of an Emanuel-endorsed measure that provides municipal ID cards to immigrants who are in the country illegally, the Tribune report.

According to the report, some GOP congressman have called for a halt in federal funding for sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate with federal agents. However, it’s unclear whether those funding cuts would affect U.S. Department of Justice grants or all federal grants.

DOJ grants amount to roughly $29 million a year in Chicago, while the city also relies on about $1.3 billion in federal grants for other programs, like early-childhood education, transportation, policing, health initiatives, public assistance programs and disaster management, according to the Tribune.

<![CDATA[Biden Emotional at Cancer Funding Bill Partly Named for Son]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 05:34:15 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16341007670452.jpg

A bipartisan bill to speed government drug approvals and bolster biomedical research cleared its last procedural hurdle in the Senate on Monday in an emotional moment for outgoing Vice President Joe Biden, NBC News reported. 

The overwhelming 85-13 vote put the measure on track for final legislative approval by the Senate as early as Tuesday. President Barack Obama has promised to sign the measure, one of the last for the president and the 114th Congress, whose leaders hope to adjourn by week's end after a two-year session that has seen them clash frequently with the president. 

The bill envisions providing $6.3 billion over the next decade, including $1.8 billion for cancer research. Obama had placed Biden in charge of a "moonshot" to find ways to cure and treat the disease, which killed his son Beau, 46, last year. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sought approval for renaming a portion of the bill after Beau Biden. The Senate agreed, and lawmakers of both parties applauded and lined up to share quiet words and pats on the shoulder with the vice president, who sat teary-eyed in the presiding officer's chair of the chamber where he served as senator for 36 years. A clerk handed Biden a tissue.

Photo Credit: Senate TV via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Foxx Eyes Special Prosecutors for Police-Involved Shootings]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:09:46 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kim+foxx+1.jpg

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx released her transition report Monday, outlining her intent to seek the appointment of special prosecutors to investigate police-involved shootings.

In an exclusive interview with NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern, Foxx conceded that she still has some unanswered questions about those sorts of appointments.

“Can we unilaterally ask for a special prosecutor?” Foxx asked. “Do we have to ask a judge for a special prosecutor? Do you have to go down to Springfield to make this happen?”

Foxx, who was sworn in as Cook County’s first black, female state’s attorney last week, also admitted that hiring special prosecutors may prove to be an expensive process.

“While cost is a factor, I think we have paid a higher cost in the credibility of our criminal justice system — the fact that the neighborhoods that need us the most trust us the least,” she said.

Foxx also claimed the county was “shaken” by the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. The 17-year-old was shot and killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. Van Dyke was not charged with the murder until November 2015, the same day that dash-cam footage of the incident was made public.

Foxx ultimately beat her predecessor, Anita Alvarez, in the March Democratic primary. Alvarez was widely criticized for her handling of the case, an issue that largely defined the race.

Foxx’s ambitious transition report also promises internal audits and the hiring of a diversity officer. Additionally, the state’s attorney plans to bring on an ethics officer.

“We’re bringing on someone who comes from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who's handled these kinds of investigations and cases before,” Foxx said.

“There are some who may not believe in the vision I have for the office when I talk about transparency and ethics, when I talk about the need for us to engage more,” she added.

Foxx will begin meeting with department heads this week. During Monday’s interview, she noted that those who don’t share her vision for the future may no longer want to stay. Foxx said she plans to shake up the office, which is comprised of 850 attorneys and other staff.

“In the closing days of the last administration, there were only two African-American men in positions of leadership,” Foxx said. “Lawyers, out of an office of 850 lawyers, there were only two."

<![CDATA[Al Gore Has 'Extremely Interesting Conversation' With Trump]]> Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:57:19 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP_16340594702500.jpg

Former Vice President Al Gore met Monday with president-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower. Gore described the interaction as “an extremely interesting conversation,” NBC News reports.

Gore didn’t say exactly what he and Trump discussed during the meeting. He also met with Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who reportedly wants to make climate change a priority. The former vice president has an influential voice in the fight against human-caused climate change.

Before his electoral victory, Donald Trump called climate change a hoax “created by and for the Chinese.” Since then, he’s said he has an “open mind” about humans' effect on the climate.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Susana Mendoza Sworn in as Illinois Comptroller]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:45:48 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/susana+mendoza+swearing+in.png

After being sworn in Monday in Springfield’s Capitol rotunda, Comptroller Susana Mendoza vowed to be an “independent, truth-telling watchdog” for the state.

During her speech, Mendoza criticized Gov. Bruce Rauner for backing a “bailout” for Exelon and ComEd after vetoing $215 million in funding for Chicago Public Schools. Throughout her speech, she pushed lawmakers to pass a balanced budget in order to aid the state’s “most vulnerable."

“This is such a pivotal time for our state and our country,” Mendoza said. “The choices we make now will impact our lives and our children’s lives for years to come. Do we want a state that meets its obligation to provide services for the poor and the elderly, for people with disabilities, to be the primary funder of education in the state? Or do we want a state that keeps shirking its responsibility to pass a balanced budget?”

Mendoza also pointed to the state’s pressing $10.4 billion bill backlog and pledged to roll over outgoing Comptroller Leslie Munger’s policy that withholds state government paychecks until other bills are paid.

“I’m putting myself in that same queue, not because I want to villainize legislators, I clearly don’t, I think a lot of them work very hard,” she added. “However, we are public servants and in this fiscal crisis we need to make sure that we’re prioritizing the right people first."

A group of Illinois representatives filed a lawsuit on Friday looking to stop that policy. According to the group bringing the suit, the effort looks to “end unwarranted political pressure being brought by Gov. Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Leslie Munger.” On Monday, Rauner urged the lawmakers to drop the lawsuit.

Mendoza noted that she spoke with Rauner after being elected and visited Rome with him last month to watch Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich’s installation as cardinal. However, she claimed she didn’t get much transition help from Munger and her office.

The comptroller also explained that she plans to be a visible figure in Springfield, criticizing Rauner for attempting to include elements of his turnaround agenda, like term limits and workers' compensation, in budget negotiations. During Monday’s news conference, she explained that it’s a “new day in the comptroller’s office.”

“I’ve gotta tell you that I really am very hopeful and I’m optimistic that things will get better in the state of Illinois,” Mendoza said. “We’re going to get out of this and we're going to do it together and Illinois will see brighter days ahead.”

<![CDATA[President-Elect Trump Called Mayor Emanuel: Report]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:00:02 -0600 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/donald-trump-rahm-emanuel.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump called Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to discuss the ongoing presidential transition process, Politico reported Monday.

According to the report, Trump asked Emanuel about what lessons he learned working on past transition teams. Emanuel served as a senior advisor to former President Bill Clinton and later as President Barack Obama's chief of staff. According to the Politico source, the conversation was “cordial” and the two leaders plan to continue talking in the future.

Throughout the course of Trump’s campaign, Emanuel publicly criticized the Republican’s incendiary rhetoric about the city’s violence. Last month, the Chicago City Council voted to remove a street sign honoring Trump’s downtown skyscraper as a response to Trump’s rhetoric.

Emanuel, who received a $50,000 campaign contribution from the real estate magnate in 2010, supported the measure. It's unclear whether Emanuel and Trump discussed Chicago's violence during the call, according to the report.

Nevertheless, the two reportedly discussed sanctuary cities like Chicago, which Trump has condemned. In their phone conversation, Emanuel reportedly told Trump that Chicago was a city of immigrants and "pledged that it is and always will be a sanctuary city." Emanuel recently helped set up a legal defense fund to help protect Chicago immigrants and refugees threatened with deportation.

Trump also met with Emanuel’s brother, Ari Emanuel, at his New Jersey golf course last month. During the meeting, Trump referred to Emanuel, who is the co-CEO of the powerful WME-IMG talent agency, as “the king of Hollywood.”

Ari Emanuel is reportedly not seeking a role in Trump’s administration, but attended the meeting to “discuss some concerns he had,” although details remain scarce. Following the meeting, Trump referred to him as a “great friend.”

Ari Emanuel represented Trump in some negotiations with NBC over his reality television show “The Celebrity Apprentice,” according to CNN. However, WME-IMG, which bought Trump’s ownership stake in the Miss Universe Pageant in 2015, said it no longer represents Trump.

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