Emails show Rahm used sanctuary city issue to bolster national image

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has emphatically denied that politics is behind his decision to file a pre-emptive lawsuit seeking to block U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions from cutting off federal crimefighting funds to sanctuary cities.

If that’s true, why did Emanuel play the media like a fiddle by dribbling out details of the lawsuit over a three-day period?

And why do the mayor’s own private emails expose his attempts to use his pro-immigration stance to shore up a national media image that took a beating after the November 2015 release of video showing a white Chicago Police officer firing 16 shots at black teenager Laquan McDonald?

ANALYSIS

In late May, nearly three months before the latest legal gambit, Emanuel sent a flurry of emails to movers-and-shakers in the national media. The subject was the “One Chicago” campaign the mayor had devised to showcase the city’s diversity.

“I wanted to put this on your radar,” the mayor wrote to George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “Good Morning America” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

RELATED: Even after huge fines, some still sought help from Rahm via his personal email

The mayor went on to tell Stephanopoulos, with whom he worked in the Clinton White House, that he has “heard the constant voice of immigrant and minority communities” and their “strong sense of anxiety and alarm about the rhetoric and policies coming from the Trump administration” since the “day after” the fall election.

George Stephanopoulos | ABC photo

“Today, I launched a new public facing campaign . . . to shine the light on our values of tolerance and respect for dignity. The goal is to counter the negative rhetoric against immigrants and remind residents that we are united as one people. . . . Hoping to talk with you about the campaign in more detail if you are interested.”

Attached was a press release about the “One Chicago” campaign. Similar pitches were sent to national opinion makers including: Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan; Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg; the New York Times’ Carl Hulse and David Brooks, and Mark Halperin of Bloomberg and MSNBC.

The lawsuit that seeks to preserve $3.2 million in federal crimefighting funds not yet denied to Chicago — or even applied for — is more of the same for Emanuel.

It gives the mayor a soapbox on which to stand to proclaim himself as a national champion on an immigration issue that has haunted him throughout his…

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