Court overturns gay bias verdict against ex-Iowa governor
Overturning a landmark jury verdict, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, June 30, 2021, that Branstad did not illegally discriminate or retaliate against Chris Godfrey, a gay state official. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP, File) (Bryon Houlgrave)IOWA CITY, Iowa — (AP) — Overturning a landmark $1.5 million jury verdict, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that former Gov. Terry Branstad did not illegally discriminate or retaliate against a gay state official. The evidence does not support a conclusion that Branstad was “anti-gay" because he had employed other gay men, he added. He said the salary cut was within his discretion as governor and that he didn't learn Godfrey was gay until later.wftv.com
Iowa again a battleground, sign of Trump's Midwest obstacles
But there are signs Iowa may be competitive again. Deep concerns about the economy and dissatisfaction with Trump's handling of the coronavirus have changed dynamics of the race. However, Iowa, where Trump won by 9.4 percentage points in 2016, echoes the trend in Ohio, where Trump won by 8 but is now in a pitched battle with Biden. “I believe it is a close race in Iowa," former Iowa Gov. In 2018, Democrats showed signs of resurgence, even though Republican Kim Reynolds became the first woman to be elected Iowa governor.
AP Interview: US ambassador defends tough approach to China
Ambassador to China Terry Branstad speaks during an interview at the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. China has rebuked the U.S. and taken parallel measures, including the closing of a U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu. He conceded, though, the concern that pressure on China could lead to a downward spiral of growing restrictions. On trade, China promised to strengthen protection of foreign technology rights and industry secrets. “0bviously, that’s had a lot to do with, I think, the president’s feelings towards China,” Branstad said.
Pompeo tweet indicates US ambassador to China is leaving
Ambassador to China Terry Branstad makes comments about pro-democracy activist and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo during a photocall and remarks to journalists at the Ambassador's residence in Beijing. Pompeo thanked Branstad for more than three years of service on Twitter on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)BEIJING – The U.S. ambassador to China appears to be leaving his post, based on tweets posted Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo thanked Ambassador Terry Branstad on Twitter for his more than three years of service. “Ambassador Branstad has contributed to rebalancing U.S.-China relations so that it is results-oriented, reciprocal, and fair,” Pompeo wrote.
China announces new restrictions on US diplomats' activities
BEIJING – China has announced new restrictions on the activities of U.S. diplomats working in mainland China and Hong Kong, in what it called a justified response to similar measures imposed on Chinese diplomats in the U.S. last year. “Once again we urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistakes and lift the unreasonable restrictions imposed on the Chinese Embassy and consulates and their staff. The U.S. rules require Chinese diplomats to report travel and meetings in what was seen as an attempt to prevent interference within the overseas Chinese community and foreign students. Washington has also complained about a lack of reciprocity in access to media, saying Chinese diplomats are able to put their views across U.S. outlets while America's representatives are shunned by Chinese state media. That has brought renewed pressure on U.S. outlets in China, and Beijing has delayed renewing credentials for several of their journalists pending a positive response from Washington.
China summons US ambassador, says US blocks its development
BEIJING China has accused the U.S. of seeking to obstruct its development with recent steps to sanction officials who undermine local autonomy in Hong Kong, summoning the U.S. ambassador in Beijing to lodge a protest. Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang told Ambassador Terry Branstad that threatened sanctions and the withdrawal of special trading privileges for Hong Kong are not about democracy and freedom in the semi-autonomous territory but an attempt to contain China's development. I want to warn the U.S. sternly that any bullying and unfairness imposed on China by the U.S. will meet resolute counter attack from China and the U.S. attempt to obstruct Chinas development is doomed to failure," he said, according to an account of Wednesday's meeting carried by state media. President Donald Trump signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act into law on Tuesday, as well as an executive order affirming an earlier decision to eliminate preferential treatment that has been given to Hong Kong, but not mainland China. He urged the U.S. not to go further and further on the wrong path.The U.S. Embassy did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Biden's Iowa hires signal tightening in state Trump won big
DES MOINES, Iowa Joe Biden's presidential campaign has lined up a senior team in Iowa, a sign Democrats see the state where Republican Donald Trump beat them handily in 2016 as within reach. Joining Norris as Biden's Iowa campaign director is Lauren Dillon, who directed Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 2020 Iowa caucus campaign. She was a senior advertising strategist for Democratic Senate candidates during the 2018 midterm elections after serving in several roles at the Democratic National Committee. The tightening in Iowa follows incremental gains by Democrats since Trump carried the state. The Trump campaign named a senior Iowa team almost a year ago, including Eric Branstad, son of former Gov.
Trump administration has yet to reveal details of Jared Kushner's secretive 2017 meeting in China
What wasn't on the White House or State Department agendas: a meeting with private equity investors convened by Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior advisor, and U.S. White House Senior adviser Jared Kushner attends bilateral meetings held by U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on November 9, 2017 in Beijing, China. The site of the One Journal Square luxury apartment project stands in Jersey City on May 9, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Washington Post and New York Times reported that investors at the Beijing sales pitch saw Jared Kushner's celebrity status as a draw. Meyer later issued a formal apology, saying it was not her intention to use Jared to "lure investors."cnbc.com
Trump-Xi meeting in Iowa would be poignant reminder of better U.S.-China ties
Trump last week said he hoped to sign the trade deal with Xi at a U.S. site, perhaps in Iowa. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said Iowa would be a great place to sign the trade deal. Farmers in particular have been hard hit by the trade war and deserve recognition for their sacrifice, he said. It would be really appropriate to have that happen, given the long relationship weve had with China and President Xi, Jenkins said. IOWA IS IMPORTANTWhile Xis historical ties to Muscatine might mean he would receive a particularly warm welcome, an Iowa signing would also be a politically-savvy move for Trump, trade experts said.feeds.reuters.com