A mall's death / Oval office alarms / One president down

A MALL’S DEATH. Photos capture the haunting remains of what once was a thriving Chicago-area shopping center. (Photo: jonrev.com.)

The CEO of Sears says the company doesn’t need more customers.
A new study concludes U.S. deaths and home destruction from tornadoes could triple by the end of the century—partly because of urban sprawl: There’ll be more homes and people in their paths.

McDONALD’S OUT, HOME RUN INN … um … IN. The Tribune runs down those and other changes to Midway Airport’s restaurant lineup beginning Friday.
Jalopnik: Spirit Airlines “is having a f__ked up week.” (Photo: Vmzp85.)

TRUMP’S ANGER. Private accounts of more than 30 officials at the White House, in the Justice Department and the FBI, on Capitol Hill and among senior Republicans paint a picture of a president increasingly agitated by FBI Director James Comey’s addressing of a topic Trump was most desperate to avoid: Russia.
Comey’s farewell letter: “I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either.”
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was almost comprehensible as she accused Comey of “atrocities.”
On Twitter, the president confesses confusion over Democrats’ reaction.
Experts in authoritarianism: Comey’s firing fits a pattern common in collapsing democracies.
Trump’s often unintelligible interview with Time: “I used to get the credit in business but they want to belittle everything you do. Business is easier because you put something up, it’s good, whatever.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter: Trump’s sitdown today with NBC’s Lester Holt could be “the most consequential interview“ of his presidency.

ACTING FBI BOSS’ TALE. Developing, with video: The acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, CIA director Mike Pompeo and other top U.S. intelligence officials have been testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning. (Link corrected, 10:19 a.m.)
Politico: Attorney General Sessions emerges as Trump’s most valuable ally.

OVAL OFFICE ALARMS. Former U.S. intelligence officials say the decision to let a photographer for a Russian state-owned news agency into the Oval Office during Trump’s meeting with Russian diplomats yesterday was a potential security breach.
Outrage at RedState.com: What “kind of bites is that U.S. media were shut out of the meeting.”
The Tribune’s John Kass: “If Putin’s aim were to weaken the country by turning the Democrats into a paranoid destabilizing force and pushing Republicans into a defensive, mumbling shell, he’s done a damn good job of it.”

RAUNER’S ABORTION SQUEEZE. Illinois’ governor, who campaigned as a supporter of expanded abortion rights, is getting a bill that would ensure abortion remains legal here regardless of U.S. Supreme Court action—and he’s vowed to veto it.
Nationwide, Republicans worry about a “wipeout” in 2018.
Ben Joravsky at the Reader: “Nixon wound up taking down many Republican rubber-stampers with him. … I’m going to suspect Trump will inevitably do the same.”

ONE PRESIDENT DOWN. Workers in New Orleans last night unceremoniously dismantled a statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis that had stood for more than 100 years.
Two more to go—also unceremoniously.

‘THESE PEOPLE DON’T DESERVE LIFE IN PRISON JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE PICTURES OF NAKED JUVENILES.’ An Arizona radio station owner defends his decision to air a public service announcement telling listeners how to hide child porn from the police, but he’s agreed to stop broadcasting it anyway.
A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds student reports of bullying have dropped by more than half over the last decade.
A Penn State case exemplifies criminal prosecutors’ more aggressive stance on college frat hazing.

BOOKED. All Chicago Public Libraries are closed today.

THANKS. For help creating this edition of Chicago Public Square to Rivet Radio’s Rob LaFrentz.

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