Politics doesn’t stop for anyone, not even for Northwestern students. Over spring break, the Mueller investigation came to an end, Brexit issues continued and allegations against expected presidential candidate Joe Biden arose. Here’s what you need to know to pretend like you didn’t sleep through all of break.
After nearly two years of investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III submitted his report to Attorney General William P. Barr.
A few days later, Barr released a summary of the 400-page report. According to his summary, Mueller found no conspiracy between Trump and Russia, but didn’t exonerate Trump from obstruction of justice charges. While this seemed to have been a win for Trump, members of the Mueller team have come out against the summary, saying that Barr failed to adequately represent Mueller’s report. Barr plans on making the full report publicly available after redacting confidential information, leading Democrats to worry that it will be heavily blacked out.
Allegations Against Joe Biden
Four women accused former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to announce his run for president this month, of sexual harassment. For five days, Biden remained silent, only putting out statements through a spokesperson, but on Wednesday, he released a video acknowledging the accusations and vowing to “be more mindful and respectful of people’s personal space.”
New Chicago Mayor
On Tuesday, Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, became Chicago’s first black, female, and openly gay mayor after running against competitor Toni Preckwinkle. Lightfoot has previously had prominent positions within the city government but has never held elected office, allowing her to use her outside perspective to address the city’s long history of corruption and insider dealings. She ran on a platform of creating opportunities for every Chicagoan regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status or neighborhood through initiatives such as creating jobs and investing in affordable housing and education. She hopes to use her background in management, advocacy and reform efforts to achieve the necessary changes.
Lightfoot’s critics, however, fear that despite her representation of marginalized groups, her stances on policies like policing and rent control will actually hurt the communities that she identifies with. Her background as a corporate lawyer and federal prosecutor also makes some fear that she doesn’t relate with her constituents, and this may lead her to maintain the status quo. Regardless, women of color will now hold the top political offices of Chicago and Cook County government.
Brexit Deadline Nearing
As of March 29, Parliament has rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to leave the EU three times. Although the original deadline to leave the EU was the end of March, the EU has agreed to delay the withdrawal date until May 22 on the contingent that the current plan is approved. Since the plan was voted down, British lawmakers have until April 12 to decide what they are doing next.
Prime Minister May has now asked the EU for a further extension until June 30. In the meantime, she is trying to garner support from an unlikely source: the opposition party. After her own party, the Conservative Party, has been in part at fault for striking down her deal, she has moved to the Labour Party to get the votes she needs to pass a deal.
Federal Reserve Shake-Up
Over the past week, President Trump has called for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates and take other steps to stimulate the economy. He also voiced his interest in appointing two of his supporters, Stephen Moore and Herman Cain, to the seven-member board of governors. Trump’s interest in appointing partisan supporters strays away from a precedent of keeping the Federal Reserve neutral.