Grassley, Ernst confirm DOJ official with Russia ties, little experience

The new leader of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division has never prosecuted a case and recently represented a major Russian bank aligned with the Kremlin. Nevertheless, Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst joined every Republican present (plus one conservative Democrat) to confirm Brian Benczkowski on July 11 as assistant attorney general.

What could go wrong?

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Report from Senator Joni Ernst's town hall in Shenandoah

First-person accounts of political events are always fun to read. Thanks to Susie Olesen, a semi-retired former teacher and school administrator in southwest Iowa, for this write-up. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Senator Joni Ernst’s July 6 town hall at the high school auditorium in Shenandoah (Page County) was a well-attended, civil meeting. People who wanted to participate filled out a slip of paper, which were drawn out of a glass jar to determine who would be able to ask questions. Ernst sat at a table in front of the room.

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Cartoon: The fine print

Robert Niederklopfer, a Democratic activist in Des Moines, was inspired to draw this commentary after President Donald Trump condemned the massacre of reporters and editors at the The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, saying, “journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their jobs.” Trump has repeatedly called the media “the enemy of the people” and has sometimes incited supporters at his rallies to bash journalists or news organizations. -promoted by desmoinesdem

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Iowa political reaction to Trump's family separation policy

Editor’s note: Des Moines Democratic activist Robert Niederklopfer drew the cartoon posted above.

The crisis of some 2,300 children separated from their parents after crossing the southern border of the U.S. reached a tipping point this week. The “zero-tolerance policy” is two months old, but new images of kids locked in cages and heartbreaking sounds of children crying for their parents outraged millions of Americans.

A new national poll suggests voters oppose taking children away from their parents by a two to one margin. Thousands have called their members of Congress to demand action. Former acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Obama administration John Sandweg has warned that many of the separations will end up becoming permanent. Several “tender age” shelters are housing very young children, some unable to talk or remember their parents’ names.

I enclose below comments from leading Iowa politicians on the issue. Most predate the executive order Trump signed today, which will do nothing for families already separated and may not help new arrivals either.

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