That quid pro quo though

Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY

Ashley Shaffer writes The Short List newsletter for USA TODAY. To subscribe to this snappy news roundup, click here.

Today we provide answers to some of life’s biggest questions: What does quid pro quo mean? And what even is a bomb cyclone? Let's talk news, people. 

But first, if you read one story today, make it this one: A DNA test revealed a shocking truth to a reporter digging into the history of one of the country's founding slave families

Did he just mention a Ukraine quid pro quo? Yup, he sure did 

The White House admitted to a quid pro quo. President Donald Trump's acting chief of staff acknowledged Thursday that financial aid to Ukraine at the center of a House impeachment inquiry was withheld over concerns about corruption in the country. Mick Mulvaney's assertion was the first time a White House official admitted Trump set up a quid pro quo arrangement scenario in which money for Ukraine was used as leverage, though he defended the arrangement as standard practice. Hours after his remarks drew bipartisan criticism, Mulvaney said in a statement the money was withheld chiefly over concerns about corruption. Trump has repeatedly asserted that he did not withhold the money in exchange for Ukraine's help in looking into political foes, but House Democrats are investigating whether the administration tried to strongarm Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden, a leading presidential candidate.

Word of the day: If you were about to Google quid pro quo like I often do, it's defined as “something given or received for something else.” 

Rep. Elijah Cummings, Capitol Hill veteran and Maryland Democrat, has died

Many mourn the passing of Baltimore native Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died at the age of 68 Thursday from “longstanding health challenges.” The congressman underwent a medical procedure in September that kept him from returning to work. On Sept. 30, he told The Baltimore Sun he expected to be back in Congress by mid-October. Cummings, as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sparred with Trump as the 23-year veteran of Capitol Hill led investigations into the president and his administration. His wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, said he was an honorable man who served with “dignity, integrity, compassion and humility.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings led one of the House committees investigating President Trump.

What everyone’s talking about

Record-smashing bomb cyclone wreaks havoc

Gale-force winds downed trees and utility lines and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses Thursday, and you can blame it on the bomb cyclone. A record-smashing "bomb cyclone" roared across the Northeast on Thursday, with wind gusts approaching 100 mph reported in Massachusetts, where more than 200,000 people are in the dark.

Reminder: A bomb cyclone occurs when the barometric pressure falls at least 24 millibars, or 0.71 inches, within 24 hours. The faster and steeper the drop, the more intense the storm. 

A house is trapped under a tree that toppled from strong winds, Oct. 17, 2019, in Danvers, Mass.

Real quick

Thousands of Chicago teachers are on strike. Here's why

More than 32,000 Chicago Public Schools teachers and staff went on strike Thursday after negotiators failed to agree on a contract with the nation's third-largest school district. What are the unions fighting for? Their campaign focuses on class size limits and more support staff (nurses, librarians, social workers). They're also fighting for pay increases, benefits and more teacher preparation time. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the unions’ total requests would add $2.5 billion to the annual budget, which she called "completely irresponsible." Negotiations with the Service Employees International Union are also ongoing.

Jennifer Yen, special education teacher at Alexander Graham Bell School, joins the rally as Chicago Public Schools teachers picket, Thursday morning, Oct. 17, 2019, at Lane Tech High School in Chicago.

A break from the news

Nancy Pelosi, the clap back queen

After a tense day between Capitol Hill lawmakers and the White House on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a little fun. Trump tweeted a photo of a group in a meeting at the White House that showed Pelosi standing at a table, pointing a finger at the president. In his tweet, Trump said Pelosi had an "unhinged meltdown." So Pelosi made it the cover photo on her Twitter and Facebook pages. On Thursday, Pelosi said that the photo was taken as she told Trump his recent actions are benefiting Russia.

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump, Elijah Cummings, bomb cyclone, quid pro quo: Thursday's news