Mr. Vice President, Jesus is on line one. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Top intelligence officials in the U.S. told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee today that they fully expect Russia to attempt to disrupt the 2018 midterm elections. From the Washington Post:
Appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said that Russia will continue using propaganda, false personas and social media to undermine the upcoming elections.
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts” to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign “as a success,” and it “views the 2018 midterm elections” as another opportunity to conduct an attack, said Coats, testifying at the committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing.
His assessment was echoed by all five other intelligence agency heads present at the hearing, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who two weeks ago stated publicly he had “every expectation” that Russia will try to influence the coming elections.
The committee’s Democratic vice chairman faulted the Trump administration for not preparing for potential Russian interference in the 2018 elections.
► The White House under President Trump is setting an historic pace…for staff departures. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:
More than one in three Trump administration staffers have left the White House in its first year, a pace that far eclipses the rate of departures in the previous five White Houses, according to a study done by Kathryn Dunn Tenpas of the Brookings Institute.
The pace of resignations, firings and other assorted departures from the Trump White House is twice what it was in George W. Bush’s first year as president and triple that of Barack Obama’s first year in office.
And, it’s not just any sorts of departures; a large number of Trump’s senior-most staff have left in the first year alone.
One in three. Incredible.
► Senate President Kevin Grantham continues to sit on his hands regarding sexual harassment allegations in the State Senate. A second formal complaint of harassment against Sen. Randy Baumgardner has now been filed; investigations are complete into an earlier complaint against Baumgardner and state Sen. Jack Tate.
That’s how much the U.S. deficit would expand over the next decade under a budget proposal introduced Monday by President Trump. From Politico:
The result is to exacerbate the nation’s already tenuous fiscal situation. Even if Trump were to get all the spending cuts he wants, plus his ambitious 3 percent growth, deficits over the next decade would total $7.1 trillion. That’s twice what the Office of Management and Budget forecast last spring.
Indeed, the level of red ink could be understated, since all these calculations rest on very favorable economic assumptions and do not include a full accounting of the recent spending increases and additional tax cuts enacted in recent weeks.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Not only was the White House slow to respond to allegations of domestic violence against former staff secretary Rob Porter, but as CNN reports, he was almost promoted:
One of the areas Porter was set to delve further into was trade policy, according to the person. Porter was a regular attendee at a weekly trade meeting among top-level administration officials.
He was also being considered for the deputy chief of staff position, another source familiar with the situation said. CNN reported Friday that Jim Carroll, who served as the deputy chief of staff for less than three months, was stepping down to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Several White House officials, including chief of staff John Kelly, were receptive to promoting Porter.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that the FBI had completed a background check on Porter last July, which does not jibe with White House claims that the FBI “process” was ongoing. In other words, the buck stops at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
► Did Colorado Republicans really think that their attempts to withhold funding for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission would not be met with swift condemnation?
► Last September, Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) set a March 2018 deadline for a House vote on a DREAMER bill. Today is February 13.
If you’re interested in asking Coffman about this issue, or any other, make plans to attend his town hall meeting in Greenwood Village on February 20.
► A coalition of elected officials from across the country are urging the U.S. government to avoid including a question on citizenship in the next U.S. Census. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is among the state leaders who are concerned that a citizenship query could dramatically effect the accuracy of the 2020 Census.
► Support for changing Colorado’s school funding formula continues to pick up widespread support, as the Pueblo Chieftain reports:
…if it comes to fruition, the Colorado Superintendents Modernized School Finance Formula would replace the existing, and much-maligned, funding formula established in 1994…
…Currently supported by at least 170 of the state’s 178 superintendents — and the result of 18 months of legwork — HB 1232 is but half of the equation.
If it makes it through the Legislature, the bill would restructure school funding based on a multi-point formula — provided the dollars to fund it are found.
► Two House Democrats are pushing a bill in the Colorado legislature to create a “renter’s bill of rights” to address concerns that residents are being overcharged for merely submitting a rental application.
► Three Democrats will compete to succeed state Rep. Mike Foote of Louisville after the incumbent announced that he would seek the office of Boulder District Attorney in 2018.
► A decision on an ethics complaint against Republican state Sen. Vicki Marble has been postponed until at least March 5.
► The Trump administration is considering a plan to replace Food Stamps with a box of stuff.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► When your own parents are max-out donors to your political opponent, perhaps you should reconsider your ambitions.
► Once upon a time, Republicans pretended to be opposed to massive budget deficits.