RUSSIAN HACKERS ACCESSED FLORIDA ELECTION DATABASES: Russian hackers gained access to voter databases in two Florida counties ahead of the 2016 presidential election, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday (CBS News). DeSantis said the hackers didn't manipulate any data and the election results weren't compromised. He and officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were briefed by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on Friday. The governor said he signed an agreement with the FBI not to disclose the names of the counties, but elections officials in those counties are aware of the intrusions. "We're trying to figure out what the state knew at the time," DeSantis said. "Obviously, the previous administration and the head of FDLE did not have that information."

LUGAR LIES IN STATE: The late Sen. Richard G. Lugar is now lying in state in the heart of Indiana (Howey Politics Indiana). Gov. Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett greeted the late senator at mid-day Tuesday as a military honor guard brought his casket into the Statehouse rotunda. "He made such a tremendous impact on our state, nation on the world during his time on earth," Holcomb said. "He truly made Indiana a better state and the world safer. He never lost that constant and welcoming smile." Holcomb said that Lugar lived his life with "distinction" from boyhood as an Eagle Scout, then Rhodes Scholar, to the U.S. Navy, and then through his term on the Indianapolis School Board, two terms as mayor and a record 36 years in the U.S. Senate. "Welcome home, Sen. Lugar, welcome home," Holcomb said before laying a wreath along with Mayor Hogsett as dozens of former Lugar family members, staffers, state office holders, political allies, citizens and the news media looked on. Hogsett said, "Richard Lugar belonged to his family, a family that graciously gave of themselves and giving so much of him to so many of us. He also belonged to Indianapolis, the city he made full. He belonged to Indiana, the state he made proud. And for most of his life, Sen. Lugar belonged to us, too, in a special way." "He calmed fear, he did not try to use it. He extinguished violence, he did not continence it. Richard Lugar brought more peace to a dangerous world," Hogsett said. "He belongs to the ages."

LUGAR FUNERAL AT 1 TODAY: Hoosiers can pay tribute to Lugar until sunset tonight, and from 8 to 11 a.m. Wednesday. Lugar's funeral service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis (Howey Politics Indiana). Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former senator Sam Nunn are expected to eulogize Lugar, who died at age 87 earlier this month. Lugar will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

JUST 3% OF CORN CROP, 1% SOYBEANS PLANTED: Persistent rainfall this spring has put Indiana farmers well behind schedule in planting their crops (Indiana Public Media). The U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show just 3% of this year's expected corn crop was planted as of early May, which is far below the five-year average of 35%. Indiana's prime planting period to maximize corn production in most of the state was from April 20 to May 10. The planting season began slowly last year before roughly 60% of the state's corn crops were planted in early May during a two-week period. Federal data indicates that just 1% of soybeans have been planted in Indiana as of early May, which is substantially less than the 12% five-year average. But Indiana farmers can plant soybeans until early June.

FARMERS VIEW TRADE WAR AS 'GRIMMER BY THE DAY': China’s announcement Monday of higher tariffs on $60 billion of American exports — retaliation for President Donald Trump’s latest penalties on Chinese goods — hit particularly hard in the farm belt. China’s vast consumer market has been a vital source of revenue for American farmers (AP). The latest news of a new round of tariffs, with no agreement in sight, spooked the financial markets and some farmers who had been tentatively optimistic. “This is hitting the market at a very emotionally distressful time,” Hultman said. “The rug of hope was pulled out from under us and especially with the announcement this morning that China is going to retaliate with higher tariffs of their own.” In a statement Monday, the American Soybean Association reacted with frustration edged with anxiety. “The sentiment out in farm country is getting grimmer by the day,” said John Heisdorffer, a soybean farmer in Keota, Iowa, who is chairman of the ASA. “Our patience is waning, our finances are suffering and the stress from months of living with the consequences of these tariffs is mounting.” He also said that some fellow farmers he speaks with are beginning to sound notes of discontent with the Trump administration. “Farmers I talk to, I’ve been surprised they’re supportive as they are, but I think it’s starting to wane,”said Brent Gloy, a Nebraska farmer. “I’ve personally been very frustrated with it. I think it’s just a lack of a coherent plan.”

TRUMP SEES TARIFFS AS A POLITICAL WINNER: President Trump is telling advisers and close allies that he has no intention of pulling back on his escalating trade war with China, arguing that clashing with Beijing is highly popular with his political base and will help him win reelection in 2020 regardless of any immediate economic pain (Washington Post). Trump has worked to contain his current advisers as the negotiations have unfolded and present a united front to the Chinese, who he believes are looking for weakness. With [Anthony] Scaramucci, [Rob] Porter and others who are alarmed now gone from the White House, Trump has found it easier to navigate his own administration and govern by his own instincts. Trump was irritated on Sunday after National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow acknowledged on 'Fox News Sunday' that American consumers end up paying for the administration's tariffs on Chinese imports ... 'Trump called Larry, and they had it out,' according to one White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

PENCE GETS EARFUL AT SENATE LUNCHEON: President Donald Trump's allies on Capitol Hill are scrambling to soften the blow from his trade war with China amid mounting anxiety from farm-state lawmakers that the protracted battle and escalating tariffs could irreparably damage their local economies (AP). Vice President Mike Pence met privately Tuesday with Senate Republicans for a second week in a row and urged them to stick with the White House. Senators were working with the administration to craft a relief package for farmers and ranchers, some $15 billion that Trump announced this week would be coming soon. Details of the package remained in flux. “One thing I think we all agree on is that nobody wins a trade war,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the private lunch meeting. Pence heard an earful from senators last week as uncertainty mounted. “If this is what it takes to get a good deal, I think people will hang in there, but at some point we've got to get it resolved,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of GOP leadership. “If this goes on for a long time, everybody realizes it's playing with a live hand grenade.”

TRUMP WEIGHS ANOTHER FARM BAILOUT: President Trump on Tuesday rushed to placate furious farmers and Senate Republicans about his escalating trade war with China, with lawmakers now considering a package of fresh bailout funds to quell a rebellion in agricultural states (Washington Post). The fresh uproar came as farmers, lawmakers, business executives, and global investors are looking to Trump for clues on how far he intends to take the trade showdown with China. On Monday, Trump suggested the standoff could last years and lead to structural changes in the global economy. On Tuesday, Trump offered conflicting forecasts, musing that a deal could come in the next month but also predicting a furious economic battle with Beijing. In one Twitter post, he said he would sign off on a deal “when the time was right,” but in another post he called for using the U.S. Federal Reserve to thwart China’s economic agenda. “In any event, China wants a deal!” Trump wrote.

TIME RUNNING OUT TO PASS USCMA PACT: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will host President Donald Trump's top trade official on Wednesday, the meeting coming as the president faces backlash from lawmakers in both parties over his increasingly aggressive and controversial trade agenda (Politico). Pelosi controls the fate of the trade deal — a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement — which would need to be ratified by Congress. But the speaker has resisted pressure to move quickly on a vote, saying the pact won't be considered in the House until several Democratic demands are met, including enforcement measures she wants written into the underlying deal. The political window to consider the agreement is quickly closing, with lawmakers saying the deal must be ratified by the end of the summer or it won't likely be done at all as Washington shifts to the 2020 presidential election.

U.S. FERTILITY RATE DECLINES: The U.S. fertility rate has reached a record low, and the total number of births in 2018 was the lowest it has been in more than 30 years, Axios' Stef Kight reports. Why it matters: The long-term economic implications of a shrinking future workforce could be dire, as Axios has reported. But it's important to remember that these trends are also a result of progress: a falling number of teenage pregnancies, the education and empowerment of women, more accessible birth control and lower child mortality rates. New CDC figures show that while birth rates fell for younger women in 2018, they rose slightly for women in their late 30s and early 40s. Women waiting longer to start their families has been a growing, global trend. As women wait longer to have kids, they tend to have fewer of them.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: We should be alarmed by two things, that Russian hackers accessed two Florida election databases, and President Trump has not made securing the election system a top priority. Instead, he continues to talk about a "rigged system" and rampant domestic voter fraud that has not existed in U.S. elections. The nightmare scenario for 2020 is for Russian hackers to breach and change results in just a few places, which would then undermine the confidence in the entire system. Then we would have a a possible transition of power crisis that would be unprecedented in the history of this republic. Wake up, folks. - Brian A. Howey


HAMILTON ELECTION BOARD THROWS OUT BRIBERY CASE: A week after Carmel’s election for mayor, the Hamilton County Election Board has tossed out a claim of bribery (Berman, WIBC). The race took on an ugly tone it never relinquished after Hamilton County Councilman Fred Glynn accused Mayor Jim Brainard of offering him $140,000 to quit the race. Brainard beat Glynn in last week's Republican primary by 12 percentage points, but Hamilton County Democratic Chairman Joe Weingarten asked the election board to either turn the accusations over to the county prosecutor or conduct its own investigation. Glynn didn't appear at an election board hearing, but attorneys for Hamilton County Republican Chair Laura Campbell, Brainard's campaign manager, and a Glynn campaign adviser who jumped to Brainard's campaign submitted sworn statements denying Glynn's claim of bribery. a characterization even Democrats conceded was a gross exaggeration. Campbell says Brainard's campaign dangled the possibility of donating to a future Glynn campaign if he'd abandon this one. She says no amount was proposed -- the $140,000 figure was the total balance in Brainard's campaign war chest at the time. Campbell's attorney David Brooks says a powwow to seek party unity and find the best candidate to put on the ballot is common practice and not inappropriate, let alone illegal. Even if there were legal concerns, he argues it wouldn't matter since neither Brainard nor Glynn was part of the meeting, and the potential deal fell through anyway.

GENTRY WINS LEBANON MAYORAL PRIMARY: In Boone County Tuesday night, most incumbents who faced challenges clinched their party’s nomination, including Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry (Quinn, IBJ). Gentry, 30, was first elected mayor of the city of about 16,000 in 2015. In the Republican primary, he was challenged by Robert Hawkins and Deborah Ottinger in a race in which 2,587 votes were cast. Gentry won with about 48% of the vote. Ottinger took 31%, and Hawkins earned 21%. No Democrats ran for mayor in the primary, but the local Democratic party and other minor parties will have the opportunity to slate candidates against Gentry later this year, if they choose to.

Presidential 2020

BUTTIGIEG SEEKS TO BREAK DOWN OBSTACLES: Joe Darby, a prominent pastor in Charleston, S.C., was discussing the Democratic presidential field with fellow clergymen when Pete Buttigieg’s name came up. A fellow pastor quickly interjected (Politico). “Isn’t that the dude who kissed his husband on TV?” the person asked skeptically, according to Darby. The exchange highlights a major obstacle for Buttigieg, who’s vaulted into the top tier of Democratic candidates without gaining traction among African Americans, according to recent surveys of national and South Carolina Democrats. But as the mayor of South Bend, Ind., devotes more effort to campaigning for black votes in the South and elsewhere, he will have to break down some resistance over his sexual orientation, particularly among older voters, according to interviews with more than a dozen African American activists, political strategists and clergy, as well as a review of public polling. “He’s white, male and gay, all three of those things are going to create obstacles for various communities — specifically, I think, the white and the gay, for the black community, are definitely going to be obstacles for him,” said Harrison Guy, a Houston-based choreographer and LGBTQ activist who led the discussion with the mayor. “He’s very aware of that.”

BIDEN'S IRAQ WAR VOTE COULD HAUNT HIM SAYS POLL: Democrats view Joe Biden’s terms in the Senate and White House as his greatest asset, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll out Wednesday. But his vote on Iraq could cost him support, the poll showed. Seventy-three percent of Democratic respondents said Biden’s experience in the Senate and as President Barack Obama’s No. 2 makes them more likely to back him in the primary. But nearly 3 in 10 Democrats said they were turned off by his Iraq War vote, and more than 40 percent of participants between the ages of 18 and 29 said his record on the issue made them less likely to support him.

VOTERS SEE TRUMP AS A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN: According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, a majority, 54 percent, say they think Trump has been successful in business, the poll shows, while 36 percent say he has been unsuccessful. One in 10 voters say they have no opinion about his success. Fully 85 percent of Republican voters say Trump has been successful, while only 10 percent say he’s been unsuccessful. Democratic voters see Trump’s business career differently: Three in 10, 30 percent, say he’s been successful, while 61 percent say he’s been unsuccessful. Among independents, 49 percent say Trump has been successful, and 34 percent say he’s been unsuccessful.

DEMS PLEAD WITH BULLOCK TO RUN FOR SENATE: Top Democrats in Montana and Washington are really excited about Gov. Steve Bullock running — for the Senate, not the presidency (Politico). The Montana governor's seemingly quixotic presidential run comes as nearly everyone in the party is begging him to challenge GOP Sen. Steve Daines and transform the 2020 Senate map. Unlike any other Democratic candidate in the country, Bullock could make a virtually unwinnable Senate race competitive and give the party a real shot at knocking off a GOP incumbent and getting closer to a Senate majority. “I wish he would have run for the Senate,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “Sure you’d rather have Beto in the [Texas Senate] race. But it doesn’t go from solid red to toss-up instantly. This is the one that would change the game.”

WARREN CALLS FOX NEWS 'HATE FOR PROFIT RACKET': Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday she is giving a "hard pass" to holding a town hall on Fox News, calling the channel "a hate-for-profit racket." Her decision comes after some other 2020 presidential contenders agreed to appear on the network, seeing it as an effective way to reach voters (CBS News). "I love town halls. I've done more than 70 since January, and I'm glad to have a television audience be a part of them. Fox News has invited me to do a town hall, but I'm turning them down," Warren wrote in one of several tweets explaining her decision. "Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists—it's designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that's rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class," she wrote.


BRAUN SAYS TRADE NOT DRIVING ECONOMY: Trade is not the driving force of this economy, so the talk you're hearing about tariffs on China is not as relevant as other actions by President Trump, said Sen. Mike Braun. He was on CNBC, Tuesday (WIBC). "What's driving this economy, and believe me, I've had a business for 38 years. It's never been hotter and it's not due to trade. What's driving things is tax reform and rolling back regulations," said Braun.

BUCSHON ANNOUNCES $24M IN RURAL OPIOID GRANTS: U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08) today announced that the Health Resources and Services Administration's Federal Office of Rural Health Policy awarded $24 million for the second round of Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) planning grants including $200,000 for Judiciary Courts of the State of Indiana in Vincennes and the United Way of The Wabash Valley Inc. in Terre Haute (Howey Politics Indiana). “These grants are a vital component in battling the opioid epidemic that continues ravage our rural communities. We are fortunate to have clinics and programs in Southwest Indiana that are working tirelessly to help our friends, family members, and neighbors recover from addiction.”

SEN. YOUNG HONORS FALLEN POLICE OFFICERS:  U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today recognized Indiana law enforcement officers who are being honored as part of National Police Week 2019. The annual memorial honors law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty (Howey Politics Indiana). Seven officers from Indiana are being honored this year: Sergeant Benton Hurley Bertram, Charlestown Police Department, Dec. 2018; Sergeant Edward Ronald Bollman, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Feb. 2018; Sergeant Joseph Alan Cox Jr., Allen County Sheriff’s Department, Feb. 2017; Deputy Sheriff Jacob Matthew Pickett, Boone County Sheriff’s Dept, March 2018; Patrolman Robert Shawn Pitts, Terre Haute Police Department, May 2018; Officer Charles W. Schmitt, Evansville Police Department, Jan. 1932; and Officer David Alexander Tinsley, Fort Wayne Police Department, Sept. 2018. “This morning I had an opportunity to visit with the family of Robert Pitts. Roberts Pitts spent 16 years honorably serving the people of Terre Haute, Indiana on their police department. He was killed in the line of duty last May, and we honor him, we honor our other police officers and their families during this National Police Week, of which I was proud to be a cosponsor,” said Senator Young.

YOUNG SEEKS TO CREATE RETIREMENT COMMISSION: U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) today announced they have reintroduced the Federal Retirement Commission Act, which calls for the creation of a federal retirement commission. The commission would be charged with reviewing private retirement benefit programs and submitting a report to Congress on how to improve private retirement security in the United States. The commission would not review the Social Security program (Howey Politics Indiana). “With many individuals reaching retirement with little to no savings of their own, we must take a serious look at our current retirement programs and make the changes necessary to help secure the futures of so many hardworking Americans,” said Senator Young. “Our bill would enact a commission to better understand how we can strengthen private benefit programs and ensure our current and future generations have the tools necessary to plan for retirement. As a new member of the Senate Finance Committee this Congress, I’m glad that Chairman Grassley is making this a priority issue for the committee.”

LEWIS & CLARK TRAIL DESIGNATED:  Monday at a ceremony dedicating a 1,200-mile Eastern Legacy expansion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail with national recognition (News & Tribune). The recognition, which local, state and national leaders have been pursuing for nearly two decades, includes areas in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and new portions of trail in Illinois and Missouri. The total length of the trail spans more than 4,900 miles from Pittsburgh to Oregon. "This is a magnificent day," U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, said. "It's hard to believe it has been 200 years in the making but today we will make it happen." Young sponsored the legislation that was signed into law on March 12 by President Donald Trump. Indiana was the last state to get a national trail. "That made today's event even more meaningful," Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said. "Indiana and Clarksville played such an important role in westward expansion. It was all about the future of our country. Today we celebrated the history part of it."

BANKS INTRODUCES MILITARY MENTAL HEALTH BILL: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03) and Scott Peters (CA-52) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Daniel Somers Network of Support Act, which would create a network of support for servicemembers and their families. These networks are intended to improve servicemembers’ mental health by engaging directly with families on the challenges servicemembers experience, potentially preventing isolation and suicide (Howey Politics Indiana). The bill directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish a Network of Support, a pilot program that will provide friends and family of servicemembers a better understanding of the rigors, challenges, and needs associated with military service. Said Rep. Banks, “The suicide rate among our veteran community is heartbreaking, and we must do more to prevent such tragedies. I hope to honor the life of Daniel Somers by introducing this legislation and increasing mental health awareness among our nation’s heroes and those that love them.  By connecting close family and friends of service members, we can better prevent suicide and get our veterans the help they need.”

TRUMP JR. TO TESTIFY: Donald Trump Jr. has agreed to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee, ending — for now — a heated fight within the GOP over the Republican-led panel's Russia investigation (Politico). "Trump Jr. will be interviewed behind closed doors for up to four hours, according to a source familiar with the situation, following a subpoena from Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to follow-up on his earlier testimony. Trump is set to appear in mid June and the questioning will be limited to five or six topics, the source said.

McCONNELL DEFENDS BURR: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr on Tuesday, signaling that the embattled Republican chairman will be able to stay the course on his committee’s subpoena for Donald Trump Jr. (Politico). “None of us tell Chairman Burr how to run his committee,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. “I asked him to undertake this investigation with Russian collusion a couple of years ago. He’s indicated publicly that he believes they will find no collusion.”


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB WELCOMES META CX INVESTMENT - The chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based tech company MetaCX says Indiana's tech scene has become part of a national conversation. The company announced today it is investing $1.4 million to set up shop on the 10th floor of Salesforce Tower in downtown Indy with plans to add up to 75 jobs by 2023 (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). Scott McCorkle, former ExactTarget president and Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO, says he couldn't imagine starting a business anywhere other than Indiana, which has a long history of successful software companies. Governor Eric Holcomb says the investment from MetaCX adds to a growing tech sector throughout the state. "What we've been able to do here right in the heart of the country has been special to watch," said Holcomb. "This is an industry and a sector that affects every other sector. We're known for our timber industry and our limestone and our life sciences and our auto industry and manufacturing; these products touch them all and, again, add value to them all. It's not surprising anymore because we're on this roll; we've experienced such momentum here in the state of Indiana and it's because of their vision and their focus and the state, the city partnering together and saying, 'How can we approach this together and attract more people to this pursuit?'"

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB ORDERS FLAGS LOWERED -  Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags across the state to remain at half-staff on May 15, 2019 in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day. Flags should remain at half-staff until sunset on Friday, May 15, 2019 for Peace Officers Memorial Day as well as honoring the life of former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar. Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents across the state to lower their flags to half-staff.

STATEHOUSE: HILL FILES MOTION TO STRIKE APPEARANCE - Attorney General Curtis Hill today filed a motion to strike the appearance of an attorney enlisted by Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry to represent the prosecutor in a case involving a challenge to an Indiana abortion law (Howey Politics Indiana). On April 25, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Indiana Medical Licensing Board and the Marion County prosecutor challenging the constitutionality of an Indiana statute signed into law April 24. “The legislature has designated only one official — the attorney general — to be the voice of all state officials in court,” Attorney General Hill said. “To permit others to speak for the state would engender chaos and confusion as to the position of the people of Indiana before state and federal courts.”

DOE: NUTRITION PROGRAM PARTNERSHIP - In partnership with Piazza Produce, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced today South East Neighborhood School of Excellence has been named the 2018-2019 Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program School of the Year. South East Neighborhood School of Excellence is located in Indianapolis (Howey Politics Indiana). “Every day schools across Indiana provide students access to healthy and nutritious meals and snacks, said Julie Sutton, IDOE School and Community Nutrition Director. “Ensuring students eat well during the school day is key to creating positive learning environments, and I want to thank South East Neighborhood School of Excellence for their dedication to proper nutrition.”

INDOT: I-65 CLOSURE DOWNTOWN THIS WEEKEND - The Indiana Department of Transportation will continue construction on I-65 NB this weekend downtown. Friday, May 17: Segment 2 (I-65 NB from 465 to the south split) will be completely closed from 9 a.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.  Segment 3 (I-65 NB from the south split to the north split) will be completely closed from 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.

EDUCATION: PURDUE LANDS $5M GIFT - An executive with a private equity firm and his wife have given Purdue University a $5 million gift to support the business analytics center in the Krannert School of Management, Purdue announced Tuesday (IBJ). The Business and Information Analytics Center will be renamed the John and Donna Krenicki Center for Business Analytics and Machine Learning, pending board of trustees approval. Purdue said the gift from the Krenickis will be used to leverage additional support from corporate partners for the consulting services of the center, eventually providing a $10 million initiative. “Our center connects businesses with Purdue researchers to find answers to data-driven business challenges,” said Karthik Kannan, director of the center, in a written statement. “We team faculty and graduate students from science, engineering, agriculture and management to utilize business data analytics to solve deep specialized problems.”


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP PONDERS IRAN MILITARY ACTION - At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said (New York Times). The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said. The development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP DISMISSES IRAN REPORT - President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed a New York Times report that the administration is reviewing a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacked U.S. forces as "fake news" (ABC News). But even as the president sought to brush off the report, he added that he would "send a hell of lot more" troops if he did have to respond to a military attack from Iran. "I think it's fake news, okay?” Trump said when questioned by ABC News’ Cecilia Vega about the reported plan Tuesday. “Would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that.”

WHITE HOUSE: CIA, FBI, INTEL EYE RUSSIA PROBE - Attorney General William Barr is working closely with the CIA to review the origins of the Russia investigation and surveillance issues surrounding Donald Trump's presidential campaign, according to a source familiar with the matter, broadening an effort that the President has long demanded to involve all major national security agencies (CNN). Barr is working in close collaboration with CIA Director Gina Haspel, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and FBI Director Christopher Wray, the source said. There had been speculation as to why Haspel had been spotted at the Justice Department in recent weeks. Wray testified last week he was assisting Barr. Trump often called for the Justice Department and others to review how the FBI began investigating the connection between his campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He told reporters Tuesday he did not direct Barr to call on intelligence agencies to join his review of the Russia probe. "I didn't ask him to do that," Trump said at the White House ahead of his departure to Louisiana. "I didn't know it."

WHITE HOUSE: IVANKA TRUMP TO BE AT INDY'S SALESFORCE THURSDAY - Ivanka Trump, President Trump's oldest daughter and a White House adviser, will be in Indianapolis on Thursday morning to take part in a panel discussion with Salesforce officials including Chairman Marc Benioff (IBJ). According to White House officials, the panel, which will tackle workforce and job training issues, will take place at the Salesforce Tower downtown. A White House source who provided the information did not specify the time. Following the discussion, Salesforce officials will sign the Trump administration's Pledge to America’s Workers and announce their commitment to training programs.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will leave the White House at 10:40 a.m. Eastern en route to the Capitol, where he will deliver remarks at the 38th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service. Afterward, he will return to the White House and meet at 2:45 p.m. in the Oval Office with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Trump and first lady Melania Trump will host a White House Historical Association dinner at 7 p.m. in the East Room.

USDA: McKINNEY SAYS TRADE AID COMING 'SOON' - Rumors were that China was starting to back away from previously negotiated and settled items in trade talks last week, prompting President Trump to increase tariffs again on Chinese goods. Speaking to farm broadcasters in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Under Secretary for Trade and Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney confirmed those rumors (Pfeiffer, Hoosier Ag Today). “I will tell you the discussions on ag had gone well. We were pleased, but I’ll never forget we were on a digital video conference and I looked at Mr. (Gregg) Doud (Chief Agriculture Negotiator, Office of the US Trade Representative) and he looked at me, and we said this is different. We sensed this backsliding starting, and then we compared our notes with other teams, so there was distinctly a change of views by our friends in China. That doesn’t mean we’re mad at them. We do believe, we still believe, I am still optimistic, that we’re going to get there.” McKinney says more trade aid is on the way as the president and Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue have said it’s all hands-on-deck to move quickly on it. How quickly? “I think it’s more like days, not weeks or months. So, that’s as close as I can get because I don’t want to get out ahead of the Secretary or the President, but the intent is to be quick because we want to send a powerful message to, first, our farmers, and ranchers, and the ag world, but also to our friends around the world that ag is not up for debate.”

STATE: U.S. NON-ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEES TO LEAVE IRAQ - The U.S. Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran (AP). The alert, published on the embassy’s website on Wednesday, comes after Washington last week said it had detected new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests.

INTEL: COATS APPEARS AT PURDUE DEFENSE PANEL - Director of National Intelligence – and former Indiana Senator – Dan Coats says the nation’s intelligence apparatus isn’t harmed by a lack of information, but by a lack of ways to process it efficiently (Jastrzebski, Indiana Public Media). That was Coats’ message Tuesday during a speech at a Purdue University symposium on using artificial intelligence for military purposes. Coats didn’t talk much about AI, but did say he worries about a perversion of what he calls the “liberal order” of the world. “This liberal order enfolds representative democracy, limits on government power, the rule of law, free markets, respect for the rights and responsibilities of nation states,” Coats says. Though he didn’t appear to be taking a swipe at his boss, Donald Trump’s administration has been criticized for eroding all of those in the past two years. Coats did mention the need to stop foreign powers from meddling in U.S. elections, but criticized what he called “jihadist” ideologies for terrorism that takes American lives, even though multiple analyses point out the majority of mass killings in America are done by white men.

CRIME: WEINER RELEASED FROM PRISON - Anthony Weiner was released Tuesday from prison custody after serving a 21-month sentence for sexting with a minor (CNN). "It's good to be out," the former Democratic congressman from New York told CNN after his release from Bureau of Prisons custody Tuesday morning. "I hope to be able to live a life of integrity and service. I'm glad this chapter of my life is behind me."

ALABAMA: SENATE PASSES ABORTION BAN - The Alabama Senate on Tuesday approved the nation’s toughest anti-abortion ban, hoping the legislation will spark a legal challenge leading to the demise of Roe v. Wade (Politico). The legislation is even stricter than the wave of so-called heartbeat bills that have recently been passed by Republicans in Georgia and other conservative states, who believe the Supreme Court's new conservative majority is poised to chip away at, or perhaps obliterate, abortion rights. The Alabama bill would outlaw virtually all abortions in the state, and doctors could face up to 99 years in prison — basically a life sentence — for performing an abortion. The House approved the measure last month (New York Times). It now moves to the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican. Although the governor has not publicly committed to signing the legislation, many Republican lawmakers expect her support.


CHINA STATE MEDIA CALLS FOR 'PEOPLE'S WAR': The US-China trade war continues to heat up, with Beijing calling for a "people's war" against Washington and President Donald Trump threatening to impose tariffs on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods (NewsTimes). In a series of editorials and op-ed articles published Monday, Chinese state media slammed what it labeled the Trump administration's "greed and arrogance" and called for a "people's war" against it. Beijing's state-run media effectively serves as a mouthpiece for the Communist Party. "The most important thing is that in the China-US trade war, the US side fights for greed and arrogance ... and morale will break at any point. The Chinese side is fighting back to protect its legitimate interests," the nationalistic Global Times tabloid wrote in a Chinese-language editorial carried by Xinhua News Agency. "The trade war in the US is the creation of one person and one administration, but it affects that country's entire population. In China, the entire country and all its people are being threatened. For us, this is a real 'people's war.'"


CITIES: EXPECT TRAFFIC RESTRICTIONS FOR LUGAR FUNERAL - Indianapolis drivers can expect traffic restrictions due to former Senator Richard Lugar’s funeral procession (WIBC). According to IMPD, street closures and traffic delays will begin at 9am and end at 4pm. Vice President Mike Pence will be attending the funeral, which will cause delays on the west side near the Indianapolis International Airport. Here’s what we know: Near the airport and on the north and west side, expect delays on the interstate around 9am, and then again when the funeral concludes from 2:50pm – 4:00pm. Metro street closures will begin at 11:30 a.m.

CITIES: INDY COUNCIL ADVANCES PACER, CIB DEAL - A City-County Council committee on Tuesday opted to advance a funding plan for the city's Capital Improvement Board, but held off on approving a related funding plan for a proposed overhaul of Bankers Life Fieldhouse (IBJ). The unanimous votes by the Rules and Public Policy Committee came as part of an effort by the members to better understand the CIB’s finances and its plan to spend about $270 million to make capital improvements to the arena as part of a 25-year deal with the Indiana Pacers. The committee approved three resolutions on Tuesday, including an expansion of a Professional Sports Development Area, or PSDA, that would capture tax revenue from nine additional downtown hotels through at least 2040.

CITIES: FORT WAYNE COUNCIL RESTRICTS DRONES - In a 5-2 vote Tuesday, the Fort Wayne City Council approved an ordinance that requires drone operators to notify the city police department of plans to fly in specific areas and during large public events (Gong, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). “The idea of the ordinance is to craft a notification requirement for flights that occur in the downtown area and then in and around city permitted public events,” Fort Wayne Police Lt. Jonathan Bowers said. “So those places where there's the highest public safety threat and risk to people.” Under the ordinance, drone operators who wish to fly downtown or during a large public event such as the Three Rivers Festival would have to fill out a form located on the city website with their name, address, telephone number and an explanation of the purpose of the drone flight. The documentation is meant to be nonprohibitive and give the police department knowledge of who is flying at any given time in the downtown area. “We don't approve or disapprove the flights there at all. We're requiring notification of those flights,” Bowers said.

CITIES: COUNCIL PASSES ROCKY RIPPLE FLOOD PLAN - The City-County Council approved the creation of a district to provide money for flood protection in the Rocky Ripple neighborhood on the north side (WTHR-TV). Councilors voted 21-1 in favor of the measure. The Department of Public Works noted the district does not create a new tax, but instead would direct money collected from a positive change in property tax revenue assessed from properties in the district. The money will go toward constructing or maintaining the infrastructure to reduce the risk of flood damage. "This is a historic opportunity to provide flood protection to the residents of Rocky Ripple and Butler University," said Dan Parker, director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission will provide a final review of the proposed district and take a vote on the plan Wednesday.

COUNTIES: 1 CLARK JUDGE RETURNS HOME - One of the judges shot in downtown Indianapolis almost two weeks ago is finally home from the hospital (WIBC). Judge Bradley Jacobs was released from Eskanazi Hospital and taken back to his home in Clark County this week. His family  says "this has been a very emotional and trying time" and they asked for "more time alone to let Brad gain more strength." The other judge shot that night, Judge Andrew Adams, is still in the hospital and has a long recovery ahead of him. The two men arrested for shooting the judges were released this week. Marion County prosecutors say they can't file charges until more investigation is completed.

COUNTIES: VANDERBURGH NEEDS MORE JAIL BEDS: Vanderburgh County officials said they are on board with expanding their routinely overcrowded jail, but their next steps require cost estimates (Martin, Evansville Courier & Press). County officials agreed there's little doubt the jail must grow. It has 512 beds, but population often tops 800 inmates. A consultant working with the county on jail planning said Wednesday it would take a 750-bed addition to meet projected incarceration needs 20 years into the future. Building 600 beds would likely be a 10-year solution, while a 500-bed addition could be full on its opening day, said Mark Van Allen, vice president and director of justice architecture with Rosser International.

CITIES: VIGO APPROVES CONVENTION FUNDING - The Vigo County Council on Tuesday took the final steps toward approving a downtown convention center (Greninger, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The unanimously approved an interlocal agreement which sets funding for the center from the county and the city of Terre Haute, as well as the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Terre Haute Department of Redevelopment. The council also approved the sale of up to $22 million in general revenue bonds, with a property tax backup to secure a lower interest rate. Additionally the council approved a cash payment of $5 million from the county's Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT), which reduced the total amount the county needed to bond. With the bonds, it makes the county's total contribution $27 million of the $32.5 million project, to be about 42,000 square feet with a parking garage with about 500 parking spaces.