In Chicago, voters made history Tuesday night by electing the city’s first African-American woman as mayor. She will also be the city’s first openly gay mayor. Lori Lightfoot won a landslide victory, beating her opponent Toni Preckwinkle in a runoff vote and receiving 73 percent of votes.
Lightfoot is a newcomer to electoral politics, who previously worked as a federal prosecutor. In 2015, now-outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her to head the Chicago Police Board. She was also chair of the Police Accountability Task Force in 2016, which issued a damning report after the police killing of African-American teenager Laquan McDonald. Part of her mayoral campaign focused on ousting Chicago’s political machine. This is Lightfoot addressing her supporters in a victory speech.
Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot: “Together, we can and will finally put the interests of our people, all of our people, ahead of the interests of a powerful few. Together, we can and will make Chicago a place where your ZIP code doesn’t determine your destiny.”
We’ll have more on Chicago’s historic mayoral election later in the show with professor and author Barbara Ransby.
President Trump appeared to partially walk back his threat to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border. Last week, he announced a border closure could come as soon as this week, unless Mexico intervened to stop several Central American caravans traveling toward the border, but on Tuesday Trump said Mexico started apprehending “thousands” of migrants and that he would wait to “see what happens,” but added that he would “100 percent” follow through on his threat if no deal was reached with Congress on immigration. Trump also said he wanted to “get rid of judges” in immigration cases. Lawmakers, economic experts and the business community have warned of massive disruptions and billions of dollars of economic losses if Trump follows through on his threat to close the border.
At an Oval Office meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday, President Trump falsely claimed his father was born in Germany.
President Donald Trump: “Germany, honestly, is not paying their fair share. I have great respect for Angela, and I have great respect for the country. My father is German—right?—was German and born in a—a very wonderful place in Germany.”
Fred Trump was in fact born in the Bronx, in New York City. It was not the first time Trump made the claim. He made the comments as he once again demanded Germany and other NATO countries increase their military spending from 2 to 4 percent of GDP.
The House Oversight Committee voted Tuesday to subpoena Carl Kline, the former White House personnel security director. Longtime White House security specialist Tricia Newbold accused Kline of overturning security clearances for at least 25 individuals despite “serious disqualifying issues.” We’ll have more on this story after headlines with congressmember and member of the Oversight Committee, Ro Khanna.
The Oversight Committee also voted Tuesday to subpoena Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for documents related to the department’s decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census. Voting rights activists say the citizenship question will lead to a vast undercount in states with large immigrant communities, impacting everything from the redrawing of congressional maps to the allocation of federal funding. This is California congressmember and Oversight Committee member Katie Hill.
Rep. Katie Hill: “A recent study that was commissioned by the Census Bureau itself that shows that nearly half of participants in the study think that the census is used to identify people here without legal documentation, which, in and of itself, shows how unlikely they are to fully participate in the study.”
The Supreme Court is set to hear a case challenging the census citizenship question this month.
The Washington Post is reporting Saudi Arabia has given million-dollar homes and “tens of thousands of dollars” to the four children of slain journalist and Saudi government critic Jamal Khashoggi. Three of Khashoggi’s children are currently in the U.S., while his eldest son is reportedly still based in Saudi Arabia. He was temporarily barred from leaving the country following his father’s killing. Sources close to Khashoggi’s family have said they fear possible retaliation for speaking out about their father’s death and that the payments are buying their silence. A trial is now underway after Saudi’s public prosecutor charged 11 people over Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October. In December, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution condemning Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi’s murder.
In Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday she will ask European leaders for an additional Brexit extension, after lawmakers failed to agree on either May’s original deal negotiated with the EU or a series of alternative exit strategies. May said she would enter into discussions with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to come up with a new joint proposal. Britain is currently scheduled to leave the EU at the end of next week.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the U.N. is warning the ongoing Ebola outbreak is spreading at its fastest rate since it was first detected. With over 1,000 cases identified and an estimated death toll of 680 people, it’s now the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. Medical workers say their efforts to stem the spread of the disease have been hampered by fighting between government forces and rebels—as well as widespread public mistrust that has led to attacks on treatment centers. This is World Health Organization spokesperson Christian Lindmeier.
Christian Lindmeier: “It’s a mix of reasons why we think these cases have increased. Access is one of them. And, of course, the trust in the people is of high importance. Community outreach is so important, to make sure that everybody knows how to seek help.”
In Algeria, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned with immediate effect Tuesday, one day after he announced he would resign by the end of his current term at the end of April, and shortly after military leaders called for an immediate declaration that he was no longer fit to serve. He has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013. Algerians have been organizing mass protests for weeks demanding he step down, as well as an overhaul to the current political system.
In Venezuela, the government of President Nicolás Maduro has stripped opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó of parliamentary immunity as the country’s leadership crisis deepens. The measure would allow for authorities to arrest and try Guaidó. Guaidó has vowed to keep fighting Maduro’s leadership, calling the move “cowardly.” Guaidó previously defied a travel ban imposed by the Maduro government, touring several Latin American countries to garner support for his efforts to oust Maduro and take over the presidency.
Back in the U.S., the Pittsburgh City Council approved a series of gun control measures Tuesday, including a ban on certain semiautomatic assault weapons. The bills were introduced in the wake of last October’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, which claimed the lives of 11 Jewish worshipers. Police say the gunman was armed with an AR-15 rifle. Authorities will also have the power to confiscate firearms from people who may pose a risk to themselves or others. So-called gun rights activists have said they will legally challenge the new laws.
Meanwhile, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is appealing a recent ruling which overturned a state ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines—that’s magazines with more than 10 bullets. He warned that shipments of high-capacity magazines into California had already started for the first time in nearly two decades and that it would be difficult to remove them even if the ruling were overturned.
The Daily Beast is reporting the Department of Homeland Security disbanded its domestic terrorism unit last year, reassigning its analysts to other departments. DHS says the threat of “homegrown extremism” has been significantly reduced, but civil rights groups and security experts say that membership in white supremacist groups is on the rise and that white nationalist domestic terrorists pose a growing security threat.
Students from the University of Kentucky who embarked on a hunger strike last week are celebrating after their demands were met by the school’s administration. Over 350 students joined the campaign, and at least six had refused any food starting last Wednesday, as they demanded the creation of a Basic Needs Center to support students who are food insecure and otherwise struggling financially. As of Tuesday night, University of Kentucky administrators agreed to create the center and establish a Basic Needs Fund.
In a parallel action, students from the Black Student Advisory Council, who launched a campaign to increase diversity and better support black students at the university, also had the majority of their demands met. Among other things, they have been demanding the removal of a racist mural from campus which depicts African slaves and Native Americans attacking white women. This is a University of Kentucky student speaking in front of the mural.
Chandler Frierson: “As you can see with the people on the painting, that they’re working. And I felt like that that was me. I saw myself in the painting. And it was just a harsh reminder of this university.”
Yesterday, the University of Kentucky agreed, as a temporary measure, to cover up the mural and create a committee to figure out a long-term solution. Students from both the Basic Needs Campaign and the Black Student Advisory Council had been occupying a campus building since the start of this week.
And the 2019 Izzy Award “for outstanding achievement in independent media” will be shared between four recipients: Earth Island Journal and journalists Laura Flanders, Aaron Maté and Dave Lindorff.
Earth Island Journal’s issue on “Women and the Environment” highlighted the often-ignored connections between environmental rights and women’s rights.
Journalist and TV host Laura Flanders is being honored for her work exploring alternative political, social and economic models, and her recent reporting on the rise of the Labour movement in the U.K.
Independent journalist Aaron Maté—formerly a Democracy Now! producer—consistently challenged the media’s coverage of the Russia-Trump campaign collusion story, known as “Russiagate,” in his reporting for The Nation.
Dave Lindorff’s investigation into the Pentagon’s accounting practices revealed it has been fabricating numbers in its annual financial reports to Congress, obscuring the Pentagon’s actual spending and making the agency unaccountable for its budget. Lindorff is the founder of the alternative news site ThisCantBeHappening.net.
The Izzy Award is presented by the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College and is named for legendary dissident journalist I.F. Stone.