What Chuck Grassley didn't want Donald Trump to hear about his acquittal vote

As anyone could have predicted, Iowa’s Republican U.S. senators voted this week to acquit President Donald Trump on charges that he had abused his power and obstructed Congress. Bleeding Heartland covered Senator Joni Ernst’s explanation for her votes here. Senator Chuck Grassley laid out his reasoning in a fifteen-minute floor speech and news release on February 3. Two days later, he submitted a longer rebuttal of the impeachment charges for the Senate Record.

Grassley’s February 5 statement mostly covered the same ground in greater detail, with one exception: it included a mild rebuke of Trump. Iowa’s senior senator avoided expressing those sentiments on camera.

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What Joni Ernst said (and didn't say) about acquitting Donald Trump

President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial ended on February 5 with U.S. Senate votes to acquit on both counts: 52-48 for “not guilty” on abuse of power and 53-47 for “not guilty” on obstruction of Congress. Republican Senator Mitt Romney joined the 47 members of the Democratic caucus to convict on the abuse of power charge; the other vote fell along straight party lines.

Public comments from Iowa’s Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley over the past several months indicated that neither would seriously consider convicting Trump under any circumstances. Both opted not to subpoena documents the White House refused to provide during the House investigation, and voted not to hear any testimony from witnesses the president sought to keep quiet. So yesterday’s votes were no surprise.

Nevertheless, it’s worth taking a closer look at Ernst’s public explanation for her vote. A separate Bleeding Heartland post will cover Grassley’s justification for voting to acquit.

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In Iowa and beyond, voters must demand answers on nuclear weapons policy

Joan Rohlfing is President and Chief Operating Officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. -promoted by Laura Belin

By the time voters across the United States cast their ballots for president next November, it will have been 75 years since the first and only use of nuclear weapons. Since 1945, through the decades-long Cold War and its aftermath, a strategy of deterrence helped prevent nuclear war between the United States and Russia, the world’s nuclear superpowers. Does that strategy still keep us safe?

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A decision made with head and heart for Amy Klobuchar

Janice Weiner is a city council member in Iowa City and a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m someone who makes decisions with a combination of head and heart. I learned during my Foreign Service career that I needed both, and I applied that when considering the impressive field of Democratic presidential candidates. Do they speak to me personally? Do their policies make sense? We in Iowa are so fortunate to have this opportunity – not just to see candidates at a rally and read their platforms and policies – but to get to know them as people. And they us, as well.

Like so many others, I trekked to events for countless candidates. Last May, as a part of that process, I attended the Klobuchar campaign’s mental health/addiction panel in Iowa City, screwed up my courage, and told the senator my story. I’m a retired Foreign Service Officer, and I’m raising my granddaughter because my daughter cannot, because of her struggles with dual diagnosis – mental health and addiction, rolled into one. We are not unique – how I wish we were.

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Bombs to balms

Paul W. Johnson is a preacher’s kid, returned Peace Corps volunteer, former state legislator, former chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service (now called the Natural Resources Conservation Service), a former director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and a retired farmer. -promoted by Laura Belin

I have reached a point in my life journey when I often wake at night and mull over the life this world and my country have given me. 

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How will the Democratic candidates reduce the risk of nuclear war?

Greg Thielmann grew up in Newton and worked for more than 30 years on nuclear weapons issues in the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Foreign Service, and the Senate Intelligence Committee. He currently serves as a board member of the Arms Control Association. -promoted by Laura Belin

When I was growing up in central Iowa during the Cold War, I sometimes found myself headed west on Interstate 80, imagining the way nuclear war would be likely to arrive in Iowa – a series of Soviet nuclear ground bursts in Omaha to destroy Strategic Air Command Headquarters, bathing Iowa in a heavy dose of radioactive fallout.

Now the Cold War is over, but not the nuclear threat. The Trump administration has abandoned the anti-nuclear deal with Iran and six other states. President Trump’s efforts to achieve nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula have fizzled. The U.S. has pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia and is dithering over Moscow’s offer to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the only remaining limit on the world’s largest nuclear arsenals. 

Meanwhile, the Trump administration proposes spending trillions of dollars to build new strategic weapons.

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