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Obama library’s public cost estimated at $175M: report

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The planned Obama Presidential Center in Chicago is being privately funded, but on Friday city officials estimated how much taxpayers will pay for roadwork and other construction around the center: $175 million.

It was the first time city officials put a specific dollar figure on the expected cost to the public, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“These proposed investments are intended to make the (center) and surrounding Jackson Park a world-class destination on par with Chicago’s Museum Campus,” the city’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) told the newspaper, in a statement accompanying the figures.

The planned taxpayer-funded work would include widening portions of some surrounding streets and constructing four or five new underpasses, the report said.

City officials said they intended to pursue “all potential options” for the project, including allocations from the state of Illinois.

The information was made public ahead of a scheduled meeting Tuesday, at which representatives from the Obama Foundation, a nonprofit leading the center’s construction, is expected to detail its plans, the report said.

CDOT spokesman Michael Claffey told the Tribune that presidential libraries often get state financing for nearby infrastructure. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., received $100 million in such funding, he said.

However, in January, more than 100 University of Chicago professors and faculty members signed a letter saying that they and a wide range of neighborhood and activist groups agreed that “the Obama Center as currently planned will not provide the promised development or economic benefits to the neighborhoods” on the South Side of Chicago.

They noted that because the center will be located near an existing museum and the University of Chicago, there will be no land to start new businesses or restaurants nearby. 

The Tribune reported Thursday that the project was revealing race and class differences between its supporters and opponents, with one African-American woman telling the paper she has bene accused of being anti-black.

“All I wanted to do was make sure my kids could play with no garage in their park,” Bronwyn Nichols Lodato told the paper. “I have three young children and we live in a condo and the Midway is our yard. My story is simply, how can we keep the park so our kids could play there?”

In January, the former president said in a video statement that he has been “pretty hands-on” with the project and hoped it could help revitalize the neighborhood.

“Michelle and I want this center to be more than just a building,” Obama said. “We want to create an economic engine for the South Side of Chicago, a cultural attraction that showcases the South Side to the rest of the world.”

The center is scheduled to open in 2021.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this story.

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Corbyn launches all-out assault on Starmer in call for radical action on eve of conference

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JEREMY CORBYN launched an embittered assault on Sir Keir Starmer on the eve of Labour’s annual conference, attacking his successor for “propping up a broken system”.

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Biden will allow Jan. 6 investigators access to Trump records, White House says

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President Joe Biden will not shield Donald Trump’s records from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by invoking executive privilege, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

Asked about Trump’s assertion that he would fight subpoenas from the Jan. 6 Select Committee by invoking the presidential power, Psaki said that decision ultimately lies with Biden.

“The president has already concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege” in this case, Psaki said.

“We take this matter incredibly seriously,” she added.

While sitting presidents have traditionally used the power to shield certain information and records from the public at the request of their predecessors, Psaki said what happened during the Capitol riot deserves transparency.

“We have been working closely with the congressional committee and others as they get to the bottom of what happened on Jan. 6th, an incredibly dark day in our democracy,” Psaki said at the daily briefing.

Her comments came one day after the committee subpoenaed and set a date for sworn depositions for several top Trump allies — former White House strategist Steve Bannon, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former social media director Dan Scavino and Kashyap Patel, who was chief of staff to Trump’s defense secretary.

Trump said in a statement Thursday that, “We will fight the subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds, for the good of our country.” He also referred to the fact-finding panel as the “‘Unselect Committee’ of highly partisan politicians.”

Biden’s stance should make the panel’s path easier, but Trump could still file a legal challenge the committee’s push to get his records from the National Archives.

The panel’s document request to the National Archives is 10 pages long and seeks “documents and communications within the White House on January 6, 2021” related to Trump’s advisers and family members. It also asks for his specific movements on that day and communications, if any, from the White House Situation Room.

To date, over 600 people have been charged criminally for the Jan. 6 riot.

The Associated Press contributed.

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State pension chaos as people left stranded on NO income

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STATE pensions have been thrown into chaos by a backlog at the Department for Work and Pensions .

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