Slow news day, eh? Well, except for that Comey thing. 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…
► Former FBI Director James Comey testified today in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee about President Trump and allegations of illegal ties to Russia. There’s no shortage of coverage on Comey’s testimony online and in the media, but here’s one take from the Washington Post:
Former FBI director James B. Comey on Thursday essentially laid out an obstruction of justice case against President Trump and suggested senior leaders in the bureau might have actually contemplated the matter before Trump removed him as director.
Comey did not explicitly draw any legal conclusions. Whether justice was obstructed, he said, was a question for recently appointed special counsel Robert Mueller. But he said Trump’s request to terminate the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn left him “stunned,” and senior FBI officials considered it to be of “investigative interest.”…
…Legal analysts have said previously that there was reason to believe Trump might have obstructed justice — both in asking him to shut down the probe into Flynn and then, later, in firing Comey. Comey’s testimony, they said Thursday, clarified and bolstered the case.
Comey testified that he was skeptical of Trump almost from the outset, and he decided to document their interactions because he was “concerned [Trump] might lie about the nature of our meeting.”
This really no sugarcoating Comey’s testimony if you are a Trump ally — this was even more brutal for the President than anyone might have expected. For more on Comeypalooza, here’s another good summary from the Washington Post. More thoughtful analysis is available via CNN and the New York Times. To subject yourself to the entire transcript of Comey’s testimony — which lasted nearly three hours — Politico has you covered.
Locally, the editorial board of the Denver Post didn’t wait long to weigh in on the Comey testimony:
Even if Trump isn’t implicated in colluding with the Russians, even if none of his campaign staffers are found guilty, Comey’s sworn testimony and the known facts about his firing cripple the president’s credibility.
► How is the White House reacting to Comey’s testimony? It has been reported that Trump is apoplectic about the entire Russian “cloud” hanging over his presidency, but we haven’t yet heard from the President himself.
Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, is peddling some nonsense about how this actually benefits Trump. Conservative media are also trying hard to make the case that Comey’s testimony somehow clears Trump of wrongdoing, or something. From NBC News:
In the aftermath of former FBI Director James Comey’s highly-anticipated testimony, President Donald Trump’s outside counsel says the president feels “vindicated” and ready to move forward with his agenda for the country.
Marc Kasowitz maintained Thursday in a statement to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. that Trump never asked Comey for his loyalty, contradicting a key part of the ousted FBI director’s testimony. President Trump’s personal lawyer took no questions and departed the room after delivering the short statement in support of the White House.
“The president also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,’ in form or substance,” Kasowitz told reporters.
The White House appears to be trying to deflect Comey’s testimony by hoping to paint the former FBI Director as “one of these leakers.”
► According to new poll results from Quinnipiac University, President Trump’s approval ratings have dropped to a new low. Again.
► Polls are open in the United Kingdom in what has become a bitter general election campaign. Prime Minister Theresa May is nonetheless expected to maintain control once the votes are counted.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► If anyone fared worse than President Trump from the Comey testimony, it was Sen. John McCain. The Arizona Senator’s rambling, nonsensical questions for Comey were not a good look for the former GOP Presidential candidate. From Chris Cillizza with CNN:
The strangest moment of the nearly three-hour Senate Intelligence Committee hearing featuring testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey came at the very end. And it came courtesy of a somewhat-unlikely source: Arizona Sen. John McCain…
…I’ll admit that I was — and am — as lost as Comey appeared to be as to what McCain was driving at. The two investigations — Clinton’s decision to establish a private email server and the Russians meddling in the 2016 election — are not the same thing.
► Governor John Hickenlooper has until late Friday afternoon to decide on how he will proceed with a civil asset forfeiture bill passed by the Colorado legislature.
► Sorry about body-slamming you, bro. From NBC News:
Republican Montana Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte on Wednesday apologized to a reporter that he body slammed on the eve of last month’s special election, admitting his conduct was “unprofessional, unacceptable and unlawful.”
“Notwithstanding anyone’s statement to the contrary, you did not initiate any physical contact with me, and I had no right to assault you,” Gianforte said in a letter to reporter Ben Jacobs. “I am sorry for what I did and the unwanted notoriety this has created for you. I take full responsibility.”
Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian newspaper accepted the apology. Gianforte also said in the letter dated Wednesday that he will make a $50,000 donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Gianforte won the May 25 special election to take Montana’s single U.S. House of Representatives seat, which was vacated by Ryan Zinke, who was nominated and confirmed as Interior Secretary.
► The Colorado Mills Mall in Lakewood remains closed following last month’s massive hailstorm, but as 9News reports, it’s difficult to find out more information about the status of the mall — and the many hundreds of jobs related to the situation:
The parent company of Colorado Mills Mall in Lakewood is giving the city mayor as much of the cold shoulder as it is giving to Next.
At a study session on Monday night, Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul ended the meeting by lamenting the lack of information he’s getting from the mall’s parent company, Simon Property Group…
…It’s that same lack of information that forced Next to do an open records request with the city of Lakewood to see what Simon Property Group was doing in the weeks after the hailstorm.Colorado Mills owner won’t give many answers, so we looked at their emails
In those emails, we found out there is an HOA-like organization exists that helps determine how Colorado Mills gets rebuilt, at least on the outside.
► President Trump’s proposed federal budget is bad news for rural America — and could create particular problems related to flight connections with smaller communities.
► As with most things surrounding the issue of legal marijuana in Colorado, there’s good news and bad news. From The Cannabist:
A three-judge panel for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Wednesday largely upheld lower courts’ dismissals of several cases seeking to overturn major parts of Colorado’s marijuana laws, including efforts by two neighboring states.
The appeals court panel did, however, reverse a district court decision against a Pueblo-area ranch that sued a neighboring cultivation facility, claiming noxious odors and diminished property values. In remanding that case to district court, the judges left the door open for something that legal experts and case attorneys say could rattle the legal marijuana industry: that private-property owners could potentially bring federal racketeering claims against neighboring marijuana grows and dispensaries.
► Sage grouse!
► President Trump formally nominated Denver judge Allison Eid as the replacement for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
► Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback may go down as one of the worst state leaders in modern U.S. history…but he refuses to admit that his boneheaded fiscal ideas were a bad idea.
► Republican state Rep. Paul Lundeen will run for the open State Senate seat in Colorado Springs. Senator Kent Lambert (SD-9) is term-limited in 2018.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Unemployed? At least you live in Colorado, reports the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
► The Denver City Council has advanced a proposed tax measure aimed at expanding the Colorado Convention Center.
► House Speaker Paul Ryan demonstrates how NOT to respond to the Comey hearings.