<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Chicago Political News and Chicago Politics]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.comen-usMon, 24 Jul 2017 01:53:48 -0500Mon, 24 Jul 2017 01:53:48 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Kushner Facing Senate Questions on Russia Ties]]> Mon, 24 Jul 2017 01:41:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-673971008.jpg

Jared Kushner is expected to meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee Monday and face questions about his relationships with Russian officials, NBC News reported.

President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor will not be under oath during his questioning and the session will not be public.

But Kushner's participation in a meeting last year with Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyer is likely to be on the table for questioning. 

The committee is investigating Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow's covert operation was intended to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and evolved into an attempt to help Trump win.

Photo Credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Kennedy Lays Out Plan to Curb Chicago Gun Violence]]> Sun, 23 Jul 2017 21:02:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chris+kennedy.png

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy spoke at the Solution to End Violence Forum over the weekend in Chicago, and he announced a plan to address the gun violence in the city.

Kennedy, who spoke about his father Robert F. Kennedy's assassination while running for president in 1968 during the speech, laid out an eight-point plan as he seeks to curb the violence that has made national headlines in Chicago.

The plan that Kennedy put forward includes increasing the number of police officers on Chicago’s streets, raising the number by 2000 officers. He also proposed more widespread availability for mental health services, and extensive rehabilitation for inmates.

During the speech, Kennedy criticized Governor Bruce Rauner for not doing enough to curb violence in Chicago, saying that the governor’s belief in limited government intervention has been the wrong path forward.

“The Republican party in the state of Illinois was hijacked by a libertarian madman who believes that there is no role for government in people’s lives nor the economy nor in state support for any anti-violence program,” he said.

Kennedy also put forward proposals for tougher gun control in the state, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel has also proposed. 

Photo Credit: kennedyforillinois.com]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Legislative Agenda Stalled Amid Ideological Divides]]> Sun, 23 Jul 2017 05:41:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/senate-gop.jpg

Despite having control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, Republicans are struggling to pass major aspects their legislative agenda and face many issues that interfere with the party's ability to govern, NBC News reported.

In Congress, Republicans face differences within party on health care reform, a dynamic that threatens to intrude on other major issues like the federal budget. At the White House, President Donald Trump has been fixated on investigations, leaving him an ineffective chief spokesperson for the party and their ideas.

Party unity on key issues has proven elusive for a party with widespread ideologies, ranging from northeast centrists to religious conservatives, fiscal conservatives and small-government libertarians.

That dynamic has stymied the GOP on health care, an issue that appeared simple for the past seven years on the campaign trial and when Trump promised it would be done "on day one."

Photo Credit: Alex Brandon/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Back-Slapping Hedge Fund Magnate Scaramucci Reaches WH]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:07:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/scarAP_17202665084579.jpg

Anthony Scaramucci, the back-slapping Wall Street hedge fund magnate, is a long-time Republican donor and fundraiser who once criticized Donald J. Trump, the presidential candidate, CNBC reported.

But he eventually became one of Trump's biggest defenders, and after months of delays he is finally getting what he has worked for behind the scenes since last year: a position in the Trump White House.

He was originally going to be a White House adviser and liaison to the business community. That didn't happen. Then he was offered the post of U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That didn't happen. In June, he was named chief strategy officer of the Export-Import Bank.

Now, he is White House communications director.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sean Spicer Resigns as WH Press Secretary]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 17:20:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Trump_Statement_on_Spicer_Resignation-150066638797800001.jpg

President Donald Trump thanked White House press secretary Sean Spicer after Spicer announced his resignation on July 21, 2017 - six months after he started the position. Trump's statement was made through incoming press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

<![CDATA[Rauner Claims He Didn't Interview Fired ‘Body Man’]]> Sun, 23 Jul 2017 11:49:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/5P+PKG+RAUNER+SCHOOLS+V3+-+00004127_28154979.png

A week after an aide to Gov. Bruce Rauner was fired over "unacceptable tweets" found on his Twitter page, Rauner claimed that he never interviewed him.

Rauner told reporters Friday he met with Ben Tracy once before Tracy was chosen to fill the role of a close assistant or "body man" to the governor, but he said the meeting wasn't an interview.

However, sources close to the governor's office told NBC 5 that the governor did in fact interview Tracy, and any claims to the contrary are false. The role is a personal one, the sources said, as he's required to be with the governor closely.

When asked by a reporter Friday to clarify it was his "body man" who was fired, Rauner said, "I don't know the exact role or title. You know we’re obviously adding people all the time. You know, I don't know about that."

"But weren't you involved in interviewing him?" the reporter asked. 

Rauner responded, "No, no. I met him once."

Tracy was hired after Kyle Haevers, the previous “body man,” was reassigned. But Tracy was sent packing after the tweets were discovered—including one widely circulated that makes light of physical violence toward reporters.

”Maybe body slamming reporters is the winning formula for republicans in IL?” Tracy purportedly tweeted.

Last May, then-congressional candidate Greg Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault for grabbing a reporter by the neck and “body-slamming” him to the ground.

"There is no excuse for this. Competent staff would thoroughly vet any new staff member, especially those who will serve in the most sensitive positions in the administration,” a former Rauner administration official told NBC 5 at the time.

"The governor would have personally interviewed and approved of this individual. He needs to explain why he and his new team allowed this to happen," the former staffer continued. 

Other tweets on Tracy’s page included homophobic and racist language, some of which were captured by screenshots and shared on social media Monday.

“These tweets are unacceptable,” said Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said. “The individual in question is no longer an employee of our Administration.”

Tracy's firing came amid a storm of recent resignations, dismissals and reassignments in the administration--including Rauner's chief of staff.

Tracy's Twitter account has since been deleted, and the governor's office has not made any announcement of a new "body man" hiring. 

<![CDATA[Rauner Threatens to Call Special Session, Report Says]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 14:00:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/rauner+ap+pic.jpg

State lawmakers have yet to pass Senate Bill 1, which would fund public schools, and Governor Bruce Rauner is apparently ratcheting up the pressure on the legislature to do so.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Rauner has demanded that lawmakers get SB-1 onto his desk by noon Monday, or he will call them back to the Capitol for another special session.

“Speaker (Mike) Madigan is clearly hoping that by sitting on the bill until the middle of August or maybe later that the crisis, the pain, the chaos that he can inflict will cause bad policy,” Rauner told the Tribune. “He did this to us in May and June with the tax hike. He’s trying to do it to us with our schools, and at some point we’ve got to stop the tyranny.”

The governor has already said that he plans to use his amendatory veto powers to strip out portions of the bill providing funding and pension relief to Chicago Public Schools, saying that the current version is akin to a “bailout” for the district.

CPS principals received their budgets for the coming school year, and it included $300 million in funding from the state of Illinois. CPS chief Forrest Claypool said that the district will open on time regardless of whether or not the state has passed a school funding bill. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sean Spicer Resigns as White House Press Secretary]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 12:32:26 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/spicer1.jpg

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned after six months as President Donald Trump’s chief spokesman, according to sources. The move appeared to be linked to opposition over the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.

<![CDATA[What Happens If John McCain Leaves the Senate?]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:51:42 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/mccainjohn_1200x675.jpg

After Sen. John McCain's brain cancer diagnosis, the six-term Arizona senator declared he would "be back soon" to attend to his duties in the legislative branch — but the political ramifications of his exit could be substantial, NBC News reported.

According to Arizona law, the state governor would appoint a member of the same party to fill a Senate vacancy until the next regularly scheduled general election, which would be in November 2018. 

If McCain left the Senate seat vacant before the midterm elections, Arizona would have two Senate elections in 2018 — an extremely rare event.

Elections would be contentious between Democrats and Republicans in a state where voter demographics are rapidly changing — raising the stakes for both parties.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sessions Talks Tough on Gangs, Sanctuary Cities in Philly]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:16:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/sessions-in-philly.jpg

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made a speaking appearance in one of the country's biggest sanctuary cities Friday.

He spoke about that controversial topic in the heart of Philadelphia, which under Mayor Jim Kenney has vowed to continue policies that the Department of Justice says doesn't comply fully with federal immigration law.

At the Center City offices of the U.S. Attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania, Sessions also talked about gangs like MS-13 and the need for quality local policing.

He emphasized of the violent nature of gangs like MS-13 and said they recruit young new members from schools, "even elementary schools."

“The more they recruit, the more damage they do,” Sessions said. He called for everyone "to work together to take MS-13 off the streets."

Sessions even said the violent MS-13 gang is operating in Philadelphia.

Protesters of the Trump administration's crackdown on immigration demonstrated outside the federal building at 6th and Chestnut streets.

Sessions initially planned the visit for early July, but canceled.

The attorney general and Philadelphia officials have been at odds over immigration enforcement since President Donald Trump took office in January. Philadelphia has been a so-called sanctuary city since Kenney began his term, though last year the city began calling itself a "Fourth Amendment city" in an effort to highlight constitutional rights protecting due process and probable cause.

Sessions said that by giving sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, the city is "providing sanctuaries for criminals."

“I urge the city of Philadelphia and every sanctuary city to consider carefully the harm they’re doing to residents by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement,” he said.

Under the Trump administration, federal law enforcement agencies, notably Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have asked for increased help from local agencies in detaining undocumented immigrants who have been arrested.

Philadelphia and many other municipal and county law enforcement agencies have refused to follow ICE's request to hold undocumented immigrants until federal agents can meet with the arrested individuals, which have become known as "ICE detainers."

And twice since January, the Department of Justice has publicly demanded local agencies follow federal guidance that involves police officers inquiring about the immigration status when making arrests. In March, the attorney general said Philadelphia and others risked losing Department of Justice grant money if they remained out of compliance.

He did not give a deadline for compliance at that time.

The DOJ gave $26 million in grants to Philadelphia in the 2015 fiscal year, which a city spokeswoman said was the most recent year in which a comprehensive total is available.

In April, the DOJ sent a letter to Philadelphia and at least nine other local and state governments warning again about failure to comply with one federal guideline in particular.

The letter stated that Philadelphia is required to cooperate under Section 1373 of the federal code as per its grant agreement with the DOJ's Office of Justice Programs, which is one of the federal government's largest funding sources for local law enforcement. That section, the DOJ contends, is related to the federal government's request that local law enforcement provide information about the legal status of arrestees.

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Can the President Pardon Himself? Good Question]]> Sat, 22 Jul 2017 06:45:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/foto+generica+fachada+casa+blanca+2.jpg

The Constitution grants an absolute, unilateral pardon power to the president for federal offenses and courts have upheld pardons of people even before charges had been filed, NBC News reported.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that President Donald Trump asked advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia. NBC has not confirmed the report.

But could the president pardon himself? There isn't court precedent on the question, NBC News reported. The Department of Justice has in the past provided legal guidance stating that the president cannot be indicted in office, but can be indicted when he leaves office.

Saturday morning Trump tweeted: "While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us.FAKE NEWS"

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump and Putin May Have Met More Times, Russian FM Says]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 09:31:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lavrov.jpg

President Donald Trump may have held more meetings with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit earlier this month, Russia's foreign minister said Friday, NBC News reported.

But Sergei Lavrov downplayed the meetings' significance, likening the Russian president's encounters with his U.S. counterpart to children mingling at kindergarten.

“When you are bought by your parents to a kindergarten do you mix with the people who are waiting in the same room to start going to a classroom?” he asked.

Lavrov also said the U.S. presence in Syria was illegitimate and accused C.I.A director Mike Pompeo of having “double standards” regarding the establishment of military bases in the country.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Sohn]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Trump Aide to Be Named WH Communications Dir.: Sources]]> Fri, 21 Jul 2017 06:30:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cnAP_17177648807597.jpg

Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump transition team official, is expected to be named as the new White House communications director, four sources in and close to the White House told NBC News Thursday.

Scaramucci did not respond to a request for comment, but the decision, first reported by Axios, is expected to be announced Friday. Sean Spicer is expected to stay on the communications team.

Scaramucci met with President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka in the Oval Office Thursday so the president could offer him the job, a source said.

Scaramucci was a supporter of Trump's during the campaign, dealing with fundraising and appearing on cable TV as a frequent defender of the president.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Public Schools Receive 2017-18 Budget]]> Sat, 22 Jul 2017 08:53:59 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+public+schools+114.png

Chicago Public Schools principals received their 2017-18 budgets today, and the financial details included $300 million in funding from the state of Illinois.

That news comes in spite of a promise by Governor Bruce Rauner that he will use an amendatory veto on Senate Bill 1, which would impact CPS funding this fall.

The budget proposes that the district will spend nearly $4300 per student in the new year, and the new budget also reflects that 8000 fewer students are expected to enroll in schools when the year begins.

“We are very fortunate that there is no cut, and there is additional funding to provide for our priority group students,” Galileo Academy Principal Jodi Pinkerton said.

After settling on a budget deal earlier this month, lawmakers are expected to be called back to Springfield soon to deal with the school funding issue. If a new funding bill is not passed, schools throughout the state could face a challenge when it comes to opening for the new school year, but Chicago has insisted that its schools will open no matter what.

That insistence was met with skepticism by Chicago Teacher’s Union president Karen Lewis, who criticized the new budget.

“For the third year in a row, CPS leaders have provided a budget to schools without having any ideas how they will pay for it,” she said in a statement.

SB-1 is not on the governor’s desk yet, but amidst the certainty that he will use an amendatory veto on the legislation, lawmakers are trying to corral the votes necessary to override the veto when and if it comes. 

<![CDATA[Karen Lewis Offers Advice to Sen. McCain as Fellow Patients]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 19:28:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/karen+lewis+mccain.png

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis has a message for Sen. John McCain in the wake of his brain tumor diagnosis.

"Stay away from Dr. Google," Lewis told NBC 5 in a one-on-one interview Thursday, which also happens to be her 64th birthday. "Get off the internet, don't Google up your disease, because you will be freaked out."

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix removed a blood clot on Friday over McCain's left eye and subsequent tests revealed the tumor.

Nearly three years ago, Lewis faced the same diagnosis of glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer.

At the time, Lewis was considering running for Chicago mayor against Rahm Emanuel, but surgery, chemotherapy and radiation changed those plans. She returned to work on a part-time basis less than two months after she was diagnosed. 

"You're gonna find that you have some deficits," she said. "Most people don't even notice them. For me I've lost some words that  I have to go and pull from somewhere. I'm used to being like this, but I'm pretty much back."

Lewis said she's confident the brain tumor is no match for McCain.

"You went through hell, you went through prison camp in Vietnam," she said. "Oh, glioblastoma is going to be fine for you. You will be fine." 

"I wasn't supposed to be here, if I read Dr. Google, and I'm here," she added.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com]]>