Lightfoot and Preckwinkle Advance to Runoff Election for Chicago Mayor
Chicago expects to elect its first female African-American mayor after Tuesday’s historic 14-candidate race resulted in the city’s second ever runoff election, which occurs when none of the candidates secure over 50 percent of the votes. According to the unofficial results, Lori Lightfoot led with 17.54 percent and Toni Preckwinkle came in second with 16.04 percent. Bill Daley, the biggest spender hailing from a wealthy family of former mayors, won 14.77 percent, businessman Willie Wilson won 10.61 percent and Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza finished with 9.05 percent. Lightfoot and Preckwinkle will face off on April 2.
Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor who worked on multiple police accountability groups, has campaigned as a political outsider who has never held elected office -- in contrast to the long political careers of many candidates, including Preckwinkle. Lightfoot has made police reform and stronger checks against government corruption the focal points of her campaign.
Preckwinkle has been Cook County Board President since 2010 and the chair of the Cook County Democratic Party since 2018. She also served as the alderman for Chicago Ward 9 from 1991-2010. Preckwinkle shares some positions with Lightfoot, like favoring civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department and creating an elected Chicago Board of Education, but Preckwinkle is seen as a more establishment, progressive politician. Like many others, Preckwinkle was caught in controversy in the wake of the federal government’s extortion investigation of Alderman Edward Burke and the thousands of dollars in contributions that many of the candidates either received or gave to the Ward 14 alderman.
Michael Cohen Testifies to Congress
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s former personal counsel, Michael Cohen, testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Cohen delivered a pre-written statement and answered questions from members of the committee. The proceedings were highlighted by Cohen claiming that the President knew about the release of Democratic emails by Wikileaks, that he lied to the public about his business dealings in Russia and that he told Cohen to lie to a journalist about his involvement in hush money payments to cover up affairs while he was in office -- a potentially impeachable offense. Cohen also attacked President Trump’s character, saying, “he is a racist. He is a con man. And he is a cheat.” However, Cohen’s credibility is in question as he was charged with lying to Congress in a testimony earlier this year regarding President Trump’s business in Russia. The testimony further highlighted the partisan divide, as Republicans were quick to defend the president while calling into question Cohen’s own character, and Democrats were willing to use Cohen’s claims as evidence of the President’s wrongdoings with little outside scrutiny.
North Korea Summit Fails
The second meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un collapsed on Thursday. The meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam focused on gradually improving relations between the two countries, and it was highlighted by the U.S. lifting sanctions off of a struggling and isolated North Korea, but only if they were willing to end their nuclear missiles program. The meeting reportedly fell apart because North Korea was unwilling to stop production of all nuclear weapons, but still requested all sanctions be lifted. However, the North Korean delegation had since released a statement claiming they only requested some sanctions be lifted in exchange for the shutdown of North Korea’s nuclear facility at Yongbyon, contrary to what President Trump and the U.S. delegation have reported.
Israeli Attorney General Seeks Charges Against Netanyahu
Only 40 days from the presidential election, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his intention to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud in a statement from the Ministry of Justice. This culminates a two-year investigation into Netanyahu, and consists of three cases of deals he had with news website Walla, multiple foreign businessmen and newspaper Yediot Ahronot. In the dealings with the businessmen, Netanyahu is accused of exchanging political favors for expensive gifts, and with the newspapers is accused of giving favors for better coverage, or in the case of Yediot Ahronot, discussing it with the publisher. Separately, Mandelblit said he would close the cases against Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, and son, Yair.