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Trump’s troubles. Two Illinois state investigations are checking out charges a Republican state official pressured his staff to give Donald Trump a huge tax break on his Chicago tower.
■ The Washington Post: The Secret Service has paid as much as $650 a night for rooms to accommodate agents protecting Trump at properties he owns.
■ Calling Trump “the greatest threat to this country right now,” Ex-Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is abandoning his quest to defeat Trump for the presidential nomination …
■ … and he says he’s ready to switch teams: “Any Democrat would be better than Trump.”
■ The president’s ex-Navy secretary is backing Michael Bloomberg for president.
Trump unleashed. The president reportedly planned to dump National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against him during impeachment hearings …
■ … and Vindman’s probably not the only one on the way out.
■ The Post’s Jonathan Capehart: That State of the Union address “was a white supremacist vision of America.” (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
Betrayal by app. The Wall Street Journal: The Trump administration is using a commercial database drawn from ordinary phone apps, like games and weather, to track people for immigration and border enforcement.
■ The Motel 6 chain is ready to pay 2,000 guests cash to make up for giving their names to immigration enforcers.
Iowa lost. The AP says it’s unable to declare a winner in the state’s botched Democratic presidential caucus …
■ … maybe because trolls deliberately disrupted the party’s results hotline.
■ The mess is putting Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez through the wringer.
■ Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg asks, “Why did the Dems blow it so badly?”
■ Columbia Journalism Review’s Jon Allsop: “The media’s performance this week was far from perfect” in covering what happened in Iowa.
Once more unto the breach. (Some of the) Democratic candidates for president meet in debate tonight at 7 Chicago time.
■ Joe Biden’s floundering campaign promises a “fiery” performance.
■ Virginia is dumping a state holiday honoring Confederate generals and instead will make Election Day a holiday.
High school ‘chaos.’ Scandal-scarred Lincoln Park High School Thursday endured a day of student walkouts and physical altercations.
■ The Tribune’s Eric Zorn: The school board is making it all worse with a “refusal to explain in anything more than infuriating generalities what is alleged to have happened.” (Photo: Flyer distributed by students to students at Lincoln Park High School this week.)
■ Chalkbeat’s Cassie Walker Burke takes a closer look at why parents and students are so angry.
CTA stabbing explained. Police say a woman accused of stabbing a musician on a Red Line platform says she did it because his music was giving her a headache.
■ Chicago aldermen’s plan to stem a rash of attacks by fake ride-hailing drivers: A $10,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
‘Anything can happen there.’ A steel company’s decision to sell a 21-acre campus on Chicago’s North Side creates a huge redevelopment opportunity.
■ The architect who designed Chicago’s Thompson Center is pleading for its preservation, maybe as a hotel or apartment complex (PDF download of his proposal).
Virus help. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending labs around the country—including an Illinois state facility in Chicago—kits capable of detecting the coronavirus in as little as four hours.
■ A former Chicago lawyer and now Loyola University New Orleans law professor living under the first U.S. mandated quarantine in 50 years shares what it’s like for U.S. evacuees from the coronavirus epicenter, Wuhan, China.
■ The outbreak has crippled Chinese manufacturers—threatening delays or shortages of electronics products.
Thanks to reader Jim Parks for inspiration this issue.