# Analysis



Hearing obliterates Grassley's excuses for Trump on pressuring DOJ

Senator Chuck Grassley has not been following the work of the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021, he told Dr. Bob Leonard of KNIA-KRLS Radio this week.

He should have watched the televised hearings on June 23. The focus was how President Donald Trump tried to use the U.S. Department of Justice to help him subvert the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election. The key elements of that conspiracy have been known since the Senate Judiciary Committee investigated that angle last year. But witnesses and exhibits provided many new details.

The testimony from former administration officials and Trump attorneys obliterated the alternate reality Grassley promoted last year, in which the president “did not exert improper influence on the Justice Department.”

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Ernst votes for gun violence package

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst was among fifteen Republicans who joined the entire Democratic caucus on June 23 to advance a package designed to reduce gun violence.

Senator Chuck Grassley and 33 other GOP senators opposed the cloture motion to end debate (roll call), which under Senate rules needed 60 votes to pass.

Neither Ernst nor Grassley has released a statement on today’s vote or mentioned it on their social media feeds.

The bill includes:

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Only five applied for Iowa Supreme Court vacancy

The State Judicial Nominating Commission will interview an unusually small number of applicants for the Iowa Supreme Court vacancy to be created when Justice Brent Appel reaches the mandatory retirement age next month.

Only five people—three judges and two attorneys in private practice—applied for the position, the Iowa Judicial Branch announced on June 20. The commission will interview Third Judicial District Chief Judge Patrick Tott, Ames attorney Timothy Gartin, Des Moines attorney William Miller, District Court Judge Alan Heavens, and Iowa Court of Appeals Judge David May on June 27. The commissioners will send three names to Governor Kim Reynolds, who will have 30 days to appoint the next justice from that short list.

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Iowa Supreme Court's abortion reversal may cast long shadow

Five Iowa Supreme Court justices allowed a 24-hour waiting period for all abortions to go into effect and opened the door to more sweeping restrictions on June 17, when justices overturned the court’s 2018 precedent that had found the Iowa Constitution protects a fundamental right to seek an abortion.

The outcome is precisely what Republican legislators were seeking two years ago, when (buoyed by unusually rapid turnover on Iowa’s highest court) they passed a law nearly identical to the one struck down in the 2018 case.

Two dissenting justices warned that the latest decision injects “instability” and “confusion” into Iowa’s legal landscape, because the court’s majority did not establish a new standard for evaluating the constitutionality of abortion restrictions. Two justices signaled they would allow almost any limits on the procedure. Three justices indicated they might be open to a similar approach, or might strike a different balance that recognizes some bodily autonomy for Iowans wanting to terminate a pregnancy.

In the words of Justice Brent Appel, the majority set forth “a jurisprudence of doubt about a liberty interest of the highest possible importance to every Iowa woman of reproductive age.”

The ruling may also undermine public confidence that Iowa Supreme Court rulings are grounded in legal analysis, rather than politics.

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In Van Lancker, DeJear selects experienced corner man

C.J. Petersen chairs the Iowa Democratic Party’s Stonewall Caucus. This column first appeared in the Carroll Times Herald.

Politics ain’t beanbag. If Deidre DeJear is our prize fighter, then Eric Van Lancker is her corner man. 

By selecting Van Lancker to serve as the lieutenant governor nominee, DeJear acknowledged the tough fight Democrats are in to reclaim Terrace Hill this November. 

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Grassley has only himself to blame for skepticism about January 6 denials

Efforts by Donald Trump and his allies to pressure Vice President Mike Pence were the focus of televised hearings the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection held on June 16. Witness after witness testified about the illegal and unconstitutional plot to subvert the electoral college count on January 6, 2021.

Several documents laying out the plan to keep Trump in office foresaw a possible role for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, who (as the Senate president pro-tem) would have presided over Senate proceedings that day in Pence’s absence.

In a June 16 news release and social media posts, Democratic Senate nominee Mike Franken called on Grassley to “come clean” and answer four questions related to the January 6 events.

Grassley and his staff have repeatedly said the senator was not recruited to derail the electoral college count and was unaware of memos or PowerPoints mapping out the coup. When Bleeding Heartland asked about Franken’s questions on June 16, the senator’s campaign spokesperson bashed the Democrat for supposedly spreading a “conspiracy theory.”

The reality is that no one has done more than Grassley to make people wonder whether he was recruited to help Trump stay in power.

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