State Rep. Tyler Olson (D) hired Democratic operative Alex Youn as his campaign manager. Youn has worked in Ohio, Indiana and Iowa, including on John Edwards’ presidential campaign in 2008. Olson statement: “I’m thrilled to have someone with Alex’s talent and experience leading my team. … It’s time for a fresh approach to leadership in Iowa. I look forward to continuing to talk to voters throughout the state about my vision to begin Iowa’s next 30 years.” (Des Moines Register)
ABORTION RIGHTS FIGHT. State GOP chair A.J. Spiker attacked Olson and state Sen. Jack Hatch (D) “for standing by while a woman prayed for continued access to abortion during a political rally in the Capitol last week.” Spiker called the prayer “sick, twisted and disgusting” and and said in a statement, “If this is what Olson and Hatch think will help them in their race to defeat Terry Branstad in 2014, then it shows just how unbelievably out of touch they are with everyday Iowans and how poorly they’re going to perform come election time.” The rally’s purpose “was specifically to defend legal access to abortion.”
Hatch “was unapologetic about attending the rally, but said he and other lawmakers had no knowledge of what would be said” in the invocation. Hatch: “We certainly don’t have any power, nor should we, to restrict what a prayer is. … We were there to support the position that the medical board should follow the rules for dispersing prescription drugs as they do for dozens of other procedures through telemedicine.”
Olson: “I believe that the decision should not be made at state Capitol. It should be made between a woman, her doctor, her family, her faith community, whoever she wants to include in that. … That’s my position, it has been my position, it will be my position and I don’t speak for anybody else.” (Des Moines Register)
— Julie Sobel
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."