ROSKAM’s conversation with ‘defensive’ TRUMP — STRATTON on defending HB40 — Chicago leads the way in PRE-K

 In Politics

By Shia Kapos ([email protected]; @shiakapos) with Garrett Ross ([email protected]; @garrett_ross)

Happy Wednesday and thanks for tuning in to POLITICO, where the news never stops. Case in point: James Comey is calling for a revolution.

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THE BUZZ: In a private conversation on Tuesday, Congressman Peter Roskam told President Donald Trump the powerful story of Natan Sharansky, who was imprisoned nine years in pre-Russia’s Soviet Union. The message, though, seemed to be lost on Trump.

Roskam met Sharansky three years ago during a trip to Jerusalem, and the human rights leader shared his story with the congressman, who passed it along to Trump in an effort to explain the concerns many have about his performance in Helsinki. Here’s how he told the story:

“Sharansky was locked up in the gulag because of his Jewish faith. He told me that when he heard Ronald Reagan’s speech calling the Soviet Union the evil empire, it was hugely impactful. He said he knew it was the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. Sharansky said, ‘Not only did I know it, but so did the other prisoners and guards.’ It’s an example of the power of the voice of the American president. And what an incredibly consequential thing when a president speaks with clarity,” Roskam told me in an interview Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Roskam said Trump “got defensive and was of the opinion that it was ‘different now and more complicated now’.”

Roskam came to be one of the first members of Congress to talk to Trump about the comments he made earlier this week siding with Russia’s claim it didn’t meddle in the 2016 U.S. elections. U.S. intelligence has said otherwise.

Trump tried to backpedal from his comments Tuesday, saying he misspoke a word during his Helsinki press conference. But that didn’t change the bulk of his message, Roskam and others say.

Roskam was in Washington for a meeting on tax reform 2.0 that had been planned in advance of the Helsinki trip. After they talked taxes, Roskam pulled Trump aside to express his thoughts.

“I thought it was important to give voice to that larger point—that his language matters and what he communicates is consequential,” Roskam said. The idea of creating Vladimir Putin as just “a rascal” isn’t appropriate, the Illinois congressman continued. “Vladimir Putin is a killer and he’s ravaging countries and occupying countries ad complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. And it’s important that the president stands up to that.”


— Rauner ‘deeply troubled’ by Trump’s Helsinki comments, by State Journal-Register’s : “Russian President Vladimir Putin is a ‘brutal dictator,’ and President Donald Trump’s comments about election interference at a joint news conference with Putin this week were ‘deeply troubling,’ Gov. Bruce Rauner said Tuesday. … Meanwhile, Rauner said he supports the Trump administration’s efforts to improve trade agreements but warned of consequences of a trade war.” Story here

— Emanuel rips Trump for groveling to Putin, undermining US intelligence agencies, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman: “In the intelligence world, there’s a term called ‘case officer.’ I think we met Donald Trump’s case officer: President Putin. … You can play that tape fast. You can play that tape slow. We just saw what we needed to see,” the mayor said. Story here

MORE BUZZ: Juliana Stratton has a beef with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s stand on women’s issues. He’s insincere and he “waffles,” says Stratton, the lieutenant governor candidate running with Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

Yes, the governor signed House Bill 40, the law that keeps abortion safe in Illinois. But then look what he does, Stratton points out. He hires former state lawmaker Patti Bellock as director of Department of Healthcare and Family Services—the department that enforces HB40. “When she was in the General Assembly, she consistently voted no on issues related to reproductive health,” said Stratton, also a state lawmaker. “The fact that the governor would appoint someone who voted ‘no’ on HB40 and has a consistent record on voting against bills promoting reproductive health sends a clear message that the governor doesn’t intend to implement HB40.”

That’s true. Along with voting against HB40, then-Assemblywoman Bellock over the years voted against requiring healthcare workers to discuss abortion as a health option, against stem-cell research, against allowing minors to obtain an abortion with parental consent, against health-insurance plans to cover birth control and against expanding sex education curriculum.

Bellock didn’t return a request for comment.


— As universal pre-K struggles to secure a nationwide platform, it finds hope in cities like Chicago, by The 74’s Taylor Swaak: “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s framework for an ambitious universal pre-K program in his city is the latest in a widespread national push for high-quality early education that is being driven at the local level. Emanuel, who’s been trying to overhaul early education for five years, intends to provide free, full-day pre-K to all of the city’s 4-year-olds — an estimated 24,000 kids — over the next four years. The phase-in will start this fall with roughly 3,700 students whose families make about $46,000 or less a year.” Story here

— City exceeding $250 maximum penalty against thousands of motorists, lawsuit says, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman: “Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration was accused Tuesday of illegally assessing fines and penalties against “hundreds of thousands” of Chicago motorists by exceeding a $250 maximum established by state law. The Illinois General Assembly established the $250 ceiling for both fines and late fees in exchange for shifting vehicle violations from the courts to city hearing officers, where the burden of proof is lower.” Story here

— Trial date set for Sept. 5 for Chicago cop in Laquan McDonald murder case, by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm: “The date picked on Tuesday by Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan would place the start of trial just under three years from when Van Dyke was charged in November 2015 –– the same day that Mayor Rahm Emanuel released dashboard camera footage of the 2014 shooting.” Story here

Emanuel won’t judge officers’ actions in fatal police shooting, says he wants to use it to ‘help all of us learn from this,’ by Chicago Tribune’s John Byrne: “The mayor said he would wait for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability to complete its investigation before taking a position. ‘I don’t think at this point while they’re doing that my energy’s going to be on trying to characterize something, so much as help all of us learn from this and learn for the future,’ Emanuel said.” Story here

— In unusual move, judge silences media lawyer in Chicago cop’s high-profile murder case, by Chicago Tribune’s Megan Crepeau: “Gaughan, who has been battling with the news media over his extraordinary measures to control the release of information in the hot-button case, took the action against attorney Gabriel Fuentes, claiming he has too often interrupted court proceedings. ‘It’s deeply troubling when an attorney representing the interests of the press and the public is barred from arguing for transparency in court,’ said Jenn Topper, a spokeswoman for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which intervened in the case over media access. ‘The people of Chicago have a right to know what is going on in their courtrooms.’” Story here


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