Can we just declare July “Fried Chicken Month?” One day just isn’t enough. 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…
► Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock…President Trump’s Russia problem is only growing larger by the day. The New York Times dropped a bombshell on the story over the weekend with news that Donald Trump, Jr. and other leaders of Trump’s campaign met with a Russian lawyer after being promised “dirt” on Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. As a follow-up story in the New York Times explains:
President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton before agreeing to meet with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign, according to three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two others with knowledge of it.
The meeting was also attended by the president’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, as well as by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Mr. Manafort and Mr. Kushner recently disclosed the meeting, though not its content, in confidential government documents described to The New York Times…
…The meeting — at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, two weeks after Donald J. Trumpclinched the Republican nomination — points to the central question in federal investigations of the Kremlin’s meddling in the presidential election: whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians. The accounts of the meeting represent the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.
While President Trump has been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings between his associates and the Russians, the episode at Trump Tower is the first such confirmed private meeting involving his inner circle during the campaign — as well as the first one known to have included his eldest son.
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is calling for Donald Trump Jr. to speak with the Senate Intelligence Committee about the reported meeting.
► You can set aside the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” analogy for the moment, because as The Atlantic reports, “If there was no collusion, it wasn’t for lack of trying.” Trump Jr. initially claimed that the point of the alleged meeting was to discuss issues of adoption under the Magnitsky Act…but that was only the initial explanation:
Trump Jr. then changed his story, claiming he’d been promised only information relevant to the campaign, by an intermediary he met at the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, owned by his father and hosted in Moscow. (The Washington Post later identified him as Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who said he was working on behalf of an unnamed Russian client.) Trump Jr. brought his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort to the meeting. He said that attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya offered him damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but that when it became clear she did not have the goods, he ended the meeting…
…In other words, Trump Jr. admitted (while acknowledging a prior lie) that he was open to receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian lawyer; he was just frustrated that she didn’t seem to have it. If there was no collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump inner circle, it was not because top Trump aides were against it.
Trump Jr.’s admission here is remarkable. Donald Trump’s tendency to speak unwisely remains one of his greatest weaknesses—his threat to release apparently fictive tapes resulted in a special-counsel investigation that has rocked his still-young presidency—and his children are a chip off the old block. (Eric Trump has admitted, contra claims of separation, that he continues to talk business with his father.)
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has always tried to present himself as a “moderate” or “centrist” Republican, but as the Denver Post writes, the Trumpcare debate has shown Gardner’s true colors — and they are all red. From Mark Matthews:
Though the bill’s final language remains in flux, there is little doubt in Colorado political circles about where Gardner will stand at the end of the day — despite Gardner not taking a public position on the first Senate version when it was released in late June.
“In the end Colorado conservatives know that Cory Gardner is going to vote to repeal Obamacare and when there is a final bill Cory Gardner is going to be there,” said Guy Short, a political consultant and longtime Colorado delegate to the Republican National Convention.
ICYMI, Gardner spoke to a small group of constituents in a phone call on Thursday. Gardner’s answers to several pointed healthcare questions were astonishingly awful.
As for healthcare legislation, Congressional Republicans are back at work this week after the July 4th recess, and there are plenty of signs that Trumpcare is in trouble on Capitol Hill. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said over the weekend that the healthcare legislation is “probably going to be dead.”
► Don’t miss the newest episode of The Get More Smarter Show, featuring an interview with state Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver).
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► It sucks to be a spokesperson for Donald Trump.
► A federal investigation into Jane Sanders, the wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), is picking up steam. Jane Sanders faces serious questions about some potential deals she made while serving as the President of Burlington College several years ago.
► The controversy surrounding the Trump administration’s request of voter data from all 50 states has become a growing headache for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who is one of a handful of state election officials around the country who have agreed to submit information to Trump’s “voter fraud” commission.
► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is warning against underestimating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the topic of healthcare. Bennet also attended a big healthcare rally in Denver on Saturday and made his opposition clear to
“[Event attendees] are very frustrated with our health care system as it exists,” Bennet told CBS4 reporter Dillon Thomas. “This is a terrible bill. This is a bill that is terrible, that Republicans in Colorado don’t even support. Much less, the Democrats or Independents.”
► Jason Crow continues to pick up important endorsements in his bid to become the Democratic nominee in CD-6.
► Mitt Romney’s nephew had a pretty good fundraising quarter in his bid to become the Republican nominee for Governor in 2018.
► Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett may be considering a challenge against Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020.
► As the Grand Junction Sentinel reports, not all oil and gas drilling is good for the local economy:
A new report by a North Fork Valley activist group contends that there would be more economic negatives than positives for Delta County from a 35-well drilling project proposed by Gunnison Energy 12 miles north of Paonia.
The report by Citizens for a Healthy Community says Delta County would receive property and severance tax revenue from just three wells that would be located in the county, with the rest to be located in Gunnison County. But the impact of the project to the surrounding area would result in hits to agritourism; to hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation revenues; and to residential and agricultural property tax revenues because of a decline in property values, it says.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Here’s another reason to dislike Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
State Sen. Owen Hill knocked El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn as “long on talk and short on accomplishments” after news broke Friday that Glenn was planning to join Hill in a Republican primary challenging U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District.
► There is a new episode of The Get More Smarter Show available on your Internet tubes. Check out the show and get smarter thanks to an interview with state Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver).