Special counsel Robert Mueller departs after a June 2017 closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election and possible connections to the Trump campaign. Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Welcome to the Reader‘s weekday news brief. Happy New Year!

  • Report: George Papadopoulos told Australian diplomat that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton

A “startling revelation” from Chicagoan George Papadopoulos was the catalyst for the investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election, according to the New York Times. Papadopoulos, a DePaul alumnus and former Trump foreign policy aide, told an Australian diplomat that Russia “had political dirt on Hillary Clinton” during a night of drinking at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London in May 2016. Several months later, when Democratic National Committee e-mails were leaked online, Australian authorities passed along the information, and the FBI began its investigation into  Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any Trump associates conspired. Papadopoulos has since pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is now cooperating with the FBI investigation led by Robert Mueller. [New York Times] [Sun-Times]

  • Emanuel has made an average income of $365 K over the past six years

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made an average income of $365,000 a year during his first six years in office, according his tax returns. He has made a total of $1.1 million from his mayoral income of $216,000 a year and another $1 million from investments, according to the Tribune. [Tribune]

  • The cold caused a glass panel to crack in the new Apple flagship store

The Apple flagship Michigan Avenue store is having difficulties with the bitter subzero cold in Chicago. The cold apparently caused at least one glass panel in the store, designed by Foster + Partners, and parts of Pioneer Court had to be closed off due to dangerous icicles and snow falling off of the roof. [Curbed Chicago]

  • Personal injury law firm offering reimbursements for New Year’s Uber, Lyft riders

Uber and Lyft typically charge New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day riders huge surcharges during the busy holiday. Personal injury law firm LegalRideshare is offering Chicagoans who took ride-sharing services between 5 PM on New Year’s Eve and 9 AM on New Year’s Day a reimbursement of $25, according to the Sun-Times. [Sun-Times]

  • The city’s oldest gay bathhouse, Man’s Country, closed on New Year’s

Man’s Country, the city’s oldest gay bathhouse, closed following a 13-hour party that extended from New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day, according to the Tribune. Man’s Country, which was open 24/7,  was a fixture in Uptown. [Tribune]

  • No surprise: The Bears fire coach John Fox

    The Chicago Bears fired head coach John Fox Monday morning after three straight years of finishing last in their division, the NFC North. The firing was no surprise to anyone: Fox’s record with the Bears was a disappointing 14 wins and 34 losses. [ESPN]