Trump Tweets New National Security Adviser

John Bolton

As the New York Times reports, bring on the ‘stache:

Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer tapped as President Trump’s national security adviser last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation, will resign and be replaced by John R. Bolton, a hard-line former United States ambassador to the United Nations, White House officials said Thursday.

General McMaster will retire from the military, the officials said. He has been discussing his departure with President Trump for several weeks, they said, but decided to speed up his departure, in part because questions about his status were casting a shadow over his conversations with foreign officials…

…Mr. Bolton, who will take office April 9, has met regularly with Mr. Trump to discuss foreign policy, and was on a list of candidates for national security adviser. He was in the West Wing with Mr. Trump to discuss the job on Thursday.

Bolton will be Trump’s third National Security Adviser in 14 months. Trump made the official announcement via Twitter.

As David Rothkopf writes for CNN, this is probably not good:

Bolton has distinguished himself as one of America’s most hawkish and ineffective diplomats for decades. He is known as an architect of the Iraq War, an enemy of multilateralism and foe of the United Nations, where he served during the George W. Bush administration through a recess appointment when he could not win Senate confirmation. He is also a harsh critic of the Iran nuclear deal and of North Korea, and is seen as someone who might promote conflict in both cases.

Few prominent national security figures are as ill-suited to the job of national security adviser as Bolton when you consider his views, his temperament and his ability be an honest broker. In fact, he is actually one of the few people on earth who would be worse than Mike Flynn, who was the worst national security adviser of all time.

Yup. Not good.

Ken Buck: Leave Donald Trump Alone!

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

As the Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy reports, Rep. Ken Buck, the former District Attorney for Weld County before being elected to Congress, is tired of all this investigating of our Dear Leader already:

Rep. Ken Buck said Wednesday he’s concerned the special counsel investigation has gone beyond its original scope, saying the law allowing the special prosecutor undermines the integrity of U.S. elections.

The Greeley Tribune reached out to Buck and Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in the wake of the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, statements from President Donald Trump’s attorney regarding the special counsel investigation and tweets from the president on the same topic…

Buck, a former federal prosecutor, didn’t directly answer whether he ever found things he wasn’t looking for during the course of his investigations. Instead, he said he was never given unlimited resources or unlimited time to investigate someone.

“No federal prosecutor has ever worked on a case like this,” Buck said. “This law is fundamentally flawed. It undermines the integrity of our elections if we’re going to investigate anything a president could have done wrong.” [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Buck seems to forget the expansive prosecutorial discretion enjoyed by the special prosecutor charged by Republicans in Congress to investigate…well, anything they could possibly find or conjure to impugn the integrity of former President Bill Clinton. An investigation that began with real estate deals ended up producing articles of impeachment over oral sex with an intern. The fact remains that crimes committed during the course of an investigation, like perjury and obstruction, are still crimes. By contrast, the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russians to win the election has been hewing pretty closely to the original stated scope–and, we might add, fruitfully.

But seriously, folks. If you poll 100 people about whether we should “investigate anything a president could have done wrong,” we’re pretty sure the answer is going to be an enthusiastic yes in about 99% of cases. The only exception to that would most likely be sycophant cronies of the president.

Perhaps Rep. Buck just self-ID’ed as one?

House Passes Omnibus Bill Nobody Had Time to Read

UPDATE #2: All four Republicans in Colorado’s Congressional delegation sided with leadership on a narrow 211-207 vote to move the discussion forward. As CNN explains:

The internal GOP backlash to the amount of spending and the process of rushing the measure through just 16 hours after it was released was on full display on the House floor on Thursday. Twenty-five House Republicans broke with their leadership and opposed the usually party line procedural vote bringing up the legislation. But the measure narrowly passed 211-207.

After the vote to move the omnibus debate forward, the House approved the bill with a 256-167 margin…with Republican Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and Ken Buck (R-Greeley) conveniently voting “NO.”


UPDATE: House Republicans rammed through the omnibus bill without even waiting for every member to vote. Here’s more from Politico.


Via @RepJayapal

Chris Cillizza of CNN takes note of the absolutely massive new omnibus spending bill that Congress is trying to pass before tomorrow’s deadline for funding the federal government:

On Wednesday night, congressional leaders unveiled a spending bill that will fund the entire federal government through September — at a whopping estimated cost of $1.3 trillion. The bill is 2,322 pages long. It has be to be passed through both chambers of Congress by midnight Friday or else the government shuts down. Again.

Some quick back-of-the-envelope math shows that if every lawmaker stayed up for 48 straight hours — the time, roughly, between when the so-called “omnibus” bill was unveiled and when it needs to be passed — they would need to read an average of 48 pages per hour, every hour, to read the entire thing. Which seems, um, unlikely.

Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is a big fan of pretending to read bills before he votes on them, but it’s going to be tough for him to continue that lark with a new omnibus bill that might be taller than the Congressman himself.

As a freshman in Congress in 2009, Coffman had a speaking role in Republican efforts to promote “transparency” and a “read the bill” initiative. Just last March, Coffman Tweeted a photo of himself “reading” Obamacare repeal legislation at his desk in Washington D.C. — at about the same time he was promoting a radio appearance in Colorado to discuss his support of said legislation.

Perhaps we should give Coffman the benefit of the doubt and assume that he has a superhero-esque ability to read and digest complex information in a matter of minutes. Or, perhaps, there is a simpler explanation here.

Victim-Blaming Broservative, Hack Reporting Do Grantham’s Dirty Work For Him

UPDATE #2: Next question–didn’t all these Senate aides get ordered not to talk to the press?

More than 100 Senate staff, aides and interns have been warned against speaking to journalists about workplace issues, including sexual harassment, and the trainings aimed at preventing it…

Grantham responded: “As staff members they should understand that confidentiality is important and blowing something up via the media is not what I would expect from a senator or from staff.”

And yet GOP legislative aide Andrew Knarr did talk to the press. And that’s interesting because:

Knarr said he was fired by Smallwood, but claimed the Senate Republicans “didn’t want to do it.”

Does that mean Knarr had permission to violate the directive that he not talk to the press? Perhaps because he intended to help an accused Republican? Given the big deal that was made about clamming all these staffers up, this is a question crying out for an answer.

Lots here for the press to run down–just not by Joey Bunch please. He should probably clock out.


UPDATE: So much for “broservative” legislative aide Andrew Knarr’s career in politics, ladies and gentlemen:

Sen. Jim Smallwood’s statement:

Today, screenshots from my legislative aide’s Snapchat account were shown to me for the first time, and within minutes, I made the decision to dismiss Andrew Knarr. Andrew’s actions were unacceptable and unbecoming of an employee of the Colorado State Senate, and I hope he takes the time to reflect and build upon this experience in his future endeavors.


GOP legislative aide Andrew Knarr (via Snapchat).

Yesterday afternoon, the ongoing controversy over allegations of widespread sexual harassment by members of the Colorado General Assembly took an unexpected and ugly turn. A story published by Joey Bunch of the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette discussed the public release of the investigative report that found credible an allegation of harassment against GOP Sen. Jack Tate. The alleged victim in that case, having waited almost two months for action from Senate President Kevin Grantham since the investigation was completed, released the report in hope of moving the process along.

Bunch’s story went in a very different direction, quoting a legislative aide who claims to have known the victim. The original version of Bunch’s story, since heavily edited, featured aide Andrew Knarr (undoctored Snapchat photo above right) disparaging the victim’s so-called “personal indiscretions” and asserting that although he does not “know everything about Senator Tate’s interactions” with the victim, he doesn’t believe her story.

Sometime yesterday evening, the story was edited to remove all of Knarr’s smearing of the victim. It retains the comments about not believing her story, even after the investigation found her allegations credible, but removed the comments about her “personal integrity.”

And then last night, we were forwarded the Snapchat photo of Mr. Knarr you can see above, where he lets known his true views on the matter of sexual harassment. Needless to say, it’s very difficult to accept him as a credible source after seeing this–and the journalistic malpractice on the part of Joey Bunch that allowed this sickening victim-blaming invective into the printed record is all the worse for it. We’re obliged to note that this is the second instance of the Anschutz-owned Gazette engaging in ethically dubious reporting to defend Sen. Tate from harassment allegations, the first being a story by another reporter featuring a gaggle of lobbyists who as it turns out had lots of business before Tate’s committee “vouching” for him.

But this was worse. Much, much worse. It would be tempting in this case to vent all the outrage over this latest ham-fisted attempt to shield a Republican Colorado legislator from sexual harassment allegations on the junior staffer who was willing to put his name on this kind of despicable victim-blaming, or the reporter who unconscionably and knowingly printed his smears.

But this is not about Andrew Knarr, and it’s not about Joey Bunch. Their misdeeds are, in the end, merely symptoms: of a toxic environment of permissible sexual harassment that has been created by Senate President Kevin Grantham. Grantham’s unilateral declaration that only instances of sexual harassment rising to the level of a crime would be punished in his chamber, and continuous undermining of the outside investigations into the actions of Republican Senators at every step of the process, has created the climate in which victims of harassment by Republican Senators are subjected to further abuse. Where victim’s allegations are presumed false, where accountability is farcical to nonexistent, and where men come out of the woodwork to smear your reputation even after an investigation proves you right.

All told, what is unfolding here is truly one of the most disgraceful episodes we’ve ever witnessed in over a decade writing about Colorado politics. And every time we think it can’t get worse, something happens to prove us wrong.

The end of this legislative session–not to mention November–cannot come quickly enough.

Lucia Guzman Steps Down as Senate Minority Leader

State Sen. Lucia Guzman (D-Denver)

Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman resigned her leadership post on Thursday. Senate Democrats elected Pueblo Democrat Leroy Garcia as her replacement.

The term-limited Guzman will serve out the remainder of her time in the Senate as Assistant Minority Leader. In a statement, Guzman explained her decision thusly:

“Sometimes leadership means stepping back so others can step forward. Traditionally, those in leadership hold onto their role and title until the very end of their term, but I’m passing the torch now. I believe providing more time for leaders to learn and grow is the best way to set up future caucuses for success.”

As the Associated Press reports, Guzman had grown understandably frustrated with Senate Republicans and their refusal to take any action regarding multiple accusations of sexual harassment against its members. Guzman also said that an attack from Senate Republicans on Democrat Daniel Kagan was the “final straw” in her decision-making process.

We certainly can’t fault Guzman for being fed up with trying to work with Senate President Kevin Grantham and pals.

Thursday Open Thread

“Compassion has enemies, and those enemies are things like pity, moral outrage, fear.”

–Joan Halifax

Fix NICS: Cory Gardner Clings To Hope That You’re Stupid

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Denver7’s Blair Miller follows up on a big story we’ve been trying to get more information on since it broke over a week ago–an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation by Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, in which Gardner was unexpectedly questioned about a secret hold he allegedly has placed on a bill to strengthen background checks on gun purchases.

Apparently Gardner really doesn’t want to cop to this one:

Many Senate bills often pass by unanimous consent so they don’t have to undergo dozens of hours of hearings and markups before a possible roll call vote. As such, some wondered how a bill that has a veto-proof number of cosponsors in the Senate was held up from being pushed through via unanimous consent, and whether the NRA was behind the hold. Fortune reported last month, citing the Center for Responsive Politics and the New York Times, that Gardner and his associated committees have received about $3.8 million from the NRA during his time in Congress.

ThinkProgress reported that Gardner was behind the hold, but did not cite any sources.

On CBS’s Face the Nation on March 11, Gardner was asked about the Fix NICS bill and said there were “some” senators talking about “due process issues in the bill and legislation.”

“I’ve talked to Sen. Cornyn and I hope that Sen. Cornyn will realize that we need to work this due process matter out. This isn’t an issue of whether you like this or not, it’s a question of constitutional rights and protecting the people of this country, protecting them from harm,” he said…

As for an honest admission from Gardner one way or the other, it’s not forthcoming:

Denver7 asked Gardner repeatedly over the past week whether he was indeed holding up the bill. Our news partners at The Denver Post asked as well, but did not receive a response. [Pols emphasis]

Tuesday evening, when asked about the prospects of Fix NICS being put into the omnibus bill, Gardner’s spokesman, Casey Contres, referred Denver7 back to Gardner’s Face the Nation comments, adding that, “Gardner supports this bill coming to the floor for a robust and open debate.”

Presumably Gardner’s spokesperson is referring to the omnibus spending bill the Fix NICS language was attached to, though it’s left unclear–and we strongly suspect that is Sen. Gardner’s deliberate choice. The fact is, Gardner’s refusal to confirm or deny that he placed a hold on the legislation makes it quite likely that, as all of these news reports suggest, he is. If Gardner was not the originator of the secret hold, by now it would have been far less damaging politically to simply say so.

We haven’t heard the specific reason why Fix NICS was bundled into this larger omnibus spending bill, but it’s reasonable to speculate it was done in order to bypass Gardner’s hold on the bill. At any point, Gardner and the gun lobby which prevailed upon him to take this action could decide that it is not worth the damage and relent.

One thing is for sure, at least two separate media outlets reporting that Gardner was the Senator behind this secret hold on a very popular bill most likely didn’t make it up. Combine that with Gardner’s refusal to clarify that he didn’t do it…

And you mostly likely know all you need to know.

More Colorado Republicans Linked to Cambridge Analytica

Former Senate President Bill Cadman is among the prominent Republicans tied to Cambridge Analytica

We wrote on Tuesday about the connections between disgraced data firm Cambridge Analytica and Republican efforts to win control of the Colorado State Senate in 2014. Today, Blair Miller of Denver7 drops another related bombshell linking Cambridge Analytica with two shadowy Republican organizations called “Centennial Coalition” and “Concerned Citizens for Colorado” that targeted State Sen. Andy Kerr over what were dubbed “‘partial birth and gender-elected abortion’ ideals”:

Denver7 also obtained mailers sent by the Centennial Coalition during the election, in which the recipients were urged to call Kerr, with a message: “Let’s remind Senator Andy Kerr that Coloradans cherish girls and boys equally and, we don’t support his extreme agenda.”

Other mailers included messages like “Senator Andy Kerr Makes Me Uncomfortable” and “Senator Andy Kerr Doesn’t Play Well With Others.”

“Knowing that there are these very shadowy groups, with foreign connections and very dark political connections nationally, is pretty disturbing,” Kerr told Denver7. “Knowing that my races and some of my colleague’s races have come down to, sometimes, a few hundred votes one way or the other…this kind of data, $400,000 here or there, can have huge impacts.”

Miller’s reporting quotes Republican operatives Andy George and Katie Kennedy on their connections to the organizations in question. Their responses are…questionable:

George told Denver7 Tuesday he didn’t know who the Centennial Coalition was. He did not respond to a follow-up question about why the Centennial Coalition was named in the Concerned Citizens tax filing as receiving the $100,000 grant, the same year the Centennial Coalition spent $100,000.

Kennedy told Denver7 Monday that the Centennial Coalition “did only issue work in 2014 and hasn’t done anything since then” and did not answer questions about the company’s work with Cambridge Analytica. She renewed the Centennial Coalition LLC’s good standing in December 2017, filings show.

Denver7 notes several other prominent Republicans connected to these organizations through tax documents — including former Senate President Bill Cadman, former Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel, and Jesse Mallory, a former Cadman chief of staff and the current state director for the Koch-funded group Americans for Prosperity.

Tate’s Harassment Victim Sick of Senate GOP Stonewall

Sen. Jack Tate (R-Handsy).

KUNC’s Bente Birkeland once again breaks news that casts Senate Republicans in an unfavorable light as the foot-dragging reluctance by Senate President Kevin Grantham to take action against Senators found by independent investigations to have committed harassment becomes the story–despite desperate attempts to muddy the waters:

It has been nearly two months since an independent investigator with the Employer’s Council concluded and found the accuser to be credible in allegations of sexual harassment against Sen. Jack Tate. Weeks later, there have been no consequences as a result and the accuser said she wants to know why. So she says she now wants to make the investigator’s report public, which is allowed under the General Assembly’s workplace harassment policy, in hopes it will spur action.

Senate President Kevin Grantham is charged with determining consequences for Tate, R-Centennial. When asked about it in early March Grantham, also a Republican, said he didn’t feel obligated to rush to a conclusion when dealing with something this serious.

“If we’re going to take action on these we have to make sure we’re crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s,” Grantham said. “If I cross t’s and dot i’s to a fault, I’ll take that. But I want to make sure that we do things right.”

Two months since the investigation into Sen. Jack Tate’s conduct was completed with a finding that the alleged harassment occurred based on the preponderance of the evidence. Two months that Grantham has known the allegations were credible, and the victim has known that her voice has been heard–yet nothing has been done.

So the victim authorized the release of the investigative report in its redacted entirety:

The investigator said she found the accuser credible generally because of the specific details she gave that made the allegations seem plausible, and because she didn’t appear to have a reason to make up the allegations. The report said the accuser gave Tate the benefit of the doubt, “that his actions were based on not understanding personal space. This leniency… bolsters her credibility.”

The investigator questioned Tate’s credibility because she said he attempted to sway the investigation with outside information, because his answers appeared rehearsed with his attorney by his side and because of Tate’s general demeanor. [Pols emphasis]

It’s very easy to see from the full contents of the investigative report documenting the allegations against Sen. Tate why Senate Republicans attempted to distract the press and public with their ill-conceived attack on Sen. Daniel Kagan. It didn’t work, and appears to be backfiring–but that doesn’t mean we can’t understand why they tried.

It’s because this is a PR disaster of the highest order. It indicts the entire GOP Senate leadership, which has been sitting on the results of this investigation for almost two months while women have no choice but come to work at the Capitol with Tate and other lawmakers credibly accused of harassment. And after the House took bipartisan action to expel Rep. Steve Lebsock, the Senate’s failure to take any meaningful action to deal with their own sexual harassment problem has created an unacceptable double standard.

If the Republican leadership of the Colorado Senate won’t fix this, it falls to the voters in every single Colorado Senate district to ensure Republicans no longer hold the majority in that chamber in 2019. All we can say is this: Republican Senate leadership is giving Democrats everything they need to accomplish that goal and then some.

“BathroomGate” Cheap Shot Goes Over Very, Very Badly

Senate President Kevin Grantham.

Colorado Public Radio’s Sam Brasch updates the bizarre turn that the controversy over widespread sexual harassment at the Colorado General Assembly took earlier this week–in an apparent attempt to distract from investigated and credible allegations of sexual harassment by at least three Republican state senators, a complaint alleging that a Democratic senator used an unmarked women’s bathroom at the state capitol:

[Sen. Daniel] Kagan said the story is a massive exaggeration. Like other Democrats, he believes the claim is nothing more than an effort to distract from harassment complaints filed against Republicans. Even so, the story has resulted in a formal complaint against Kagan, and a new round of partisan rancor in the Capitol.

This situation started Friday when Kagan joined a chorus of Democratic senators who took to the chamber’s microphone to call for the expulsion of Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner. An investigation has found Baumgardner likely groped an aide in 2016. Senate leadership has so-far declined to act on the findings beyond a letter that acknowledged he had voluntarily agreed to take sensitivity training and resign as chair of the Senate Transportation Committee…

Democrats have been increasingly confrontational in their demands for leadership to do more. During his turn at the mic, Kagan took a graphic approach, reciting the legal details of what constitutes sexual assault, and noted, “many butt-slappers and thigh-strokers fancy that they are merely flirting and flattering.”

On Monday, Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham called Kagan’s remarks “despicable.” He said many members were visibly shaken. Then, Grantham dropped a new allegation from his Republican members, noting the speech came from a man “that is known — known — to frequent the women’s restroom.”

Today’s story explains the details that most readers already know: the two second-floor bathrooms used by senators and senate staff are not marked as gender-specific bathrooms, or even as bathrooms at all. The bathroom that includes urinals suitable for men is unlocked and publicly accessible, while the “women’s bathroom” has a keypad to limit access. Sen. Kagan claims he made the mistake of using the wrong unmarked bathroom only once, but the simple fact that the bathroom is unmarked–and that there is no allegation of any improper behavior beyond using the wrong unmarked bathroom–severely limits the amount of scandal that can be reasonably derived from his mistake.

Once you understand that, the GOP’s over-the-top freakout on Sen. Kagan compounds the disgrace of the Senate Republican majority’s failure to address multiple credible allegations of sexual harassment by Republican lawmakers. Yes, Sen. Kagan may have used the wrong bathroom. With no allegation of any accompanying misconduct, that is not even in the same ballpark as repeatedly touching the posterior of a teenage legislative aide, or suggesting a date to further an aide’s career.

In fact, we shouldn’t even have to say so. It should be obvious.

The real issue appears to be that Sen. Kagan called out Republicans for protecting sexual harassers in their midst in explicit terms on the floor of the Senate last Friday. Unfortunately for the GOP, their retaliation against Kagan invites such an easy charge of hypocrisy–not to mention hyperbole–that in the end it is counterproductive for Republicans hoping to muddy the waters around their own misdeeds. Instead of taking the pressure off Senate Republicans, this nonsensical clamor actually makes things worse.

And for term-limited Senate President Kevin Grantham, a pathetic legacy is taking shape.

Wednesday Open Thread

“The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.”

–Douglas Adams

Barry Farah for Governor? Bring the Chaos

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Farah confirms his candidacy with Ernest Luning at the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman and John Frank at the Denver Post. Here’s what Farah said in an interview with the Post:

“I have not seen a genuine conservative that has a credible chance of winning in November being represented at the assembly…”

…”Conservatives don’t really want a non-conservative to win — that’s not accomplishing anything,” he added, referring to Coffman. “So that doesn’t make sense. And the rest of the field at the assembly doesn’t seem to really be gaining any traction.”

You heard it here first.


UPDATE: Judging by updates made to Farah’s YouTube account this afternoon, a campaign announcement would seem to be forthcoming:


Barry Farah

Colorado Springs Republican guy Barry Farah made a bit of noise last year when he appeared to be on the brink of joining the race for Governor. Farah never emerged from the shadows of those rumors as an actual candidate, but we’re hearing that an actual campaign announcement may now be imminent.

We know what you’re thinking — why now? Today is the deadline to submit petition signatures for ballot access, so Farah would have to get at least 30% of the vote through the caucus/assembly process in order to qualify for the June Primary. But it is the relative weakness of the Republican caucus/assembly field that may have convinced Farah that it isn’t too late to make a run for the GOP nomination.

The Republican Party’s state convention is on April 14 in Boulder, and while that doesn’t give Farah a lot of time to make his case, it’s plenty reasonable to think that he could attract at least 30% of the vote in a field where Cynthia Coffman and Steve Barlock seem to be at the front of the line. Republican turnout at county assemblies has been fairly weak, so Farah might already have a pretty good idea of where he stands with the GOP base.

Presumed Republican frontrunner Walker Stapleton may also have to make a major effort to qualify for the ballot through the state assembly because of concerns about his petition signatures. Stapleton submitted 21,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office for ballot access, but after Democrat Michael Johnston barely made the ballot with a 56% validity rate (and 1,500 more signatures than Stapleton), there is concern in Republican circles that Stapleton might need the convention process in order to get his name on the June Primary ballot. In this scenario, the GOP state convention could be an absolute free-for-all in the battle for delegates — which makes Farah’s potential late entry into the race all the more plausible.

Colorado Senate GOP Used Cambridge Analytica To Win

John Frank and Mark Matthews of the Denver Post break yet another big story about manipulation of Colorado elections by outside actors, plying novel–and as it turns out, improper–social media engagement tactics to “microtarget” Colorado voters in what appears to have been a preview of Donald Trump’s unprecedented manipulation of social media to win the presidency in 2016.

Take a deep breath and keep reading, this is a big deal:

The political firm that obtained private data on millions of Facebook users worked in Colorado to help Republicans win a crucial majority in the state Senate.

Cambridge Analytica used its data to create “psychographic” profiles that allowed Republican operatives to target specific Colorado voters in battleground state Senate districts in 2014.

The company — now under investigation in two countries — touted its work with the Senate Majority Fund in 2014 as key to Republicans winning a one-vote majority in the state chamber for the first time in a decade. “These victories ultimately gave the GOP control over the Colorado state Senate,” the Cambridge Analytica website once touted. [Pols emphasis]

That’s a bold claim, and we’re obviously very interested in seeing the details behind it. Cambridge Analytica is under fire for having allegedly gone distantly beyond Facebook’s policies governing data aggregation on site users to build these so-called “psychographic profiles” of American voters–profiles that allowed the Trump campaign to identify and deploy precise messaging to individuals to persuade them to first support the Trump campaign, and then get out the vote. Or, failing that, to demotivate voters who could not be won over and persuade them to opt out of voting.

And apparently, our state was a practice run.

Given the extremely small margin by which Colorado Republicans won the Senate in 2014, fewer than 1,000 votes in a single suburban senate district, the work that Cambridge takes credit for in the story above could easily have made the difference. And everything that has happened since GOP won the Senate majority in 2014, to include the present impasse over sexual harassment under GOP leadership in the Colorado Senate, can be fairly considered the fruits of Cambridge Analytica’s work too.

Which means they have a lot to answer for even before we even start talking about Trump.

Trump Praises Putin’s Fraudulent Re-Election

AP’s Vladimir Isachenkov via the Denver Post, hooray comrade!

U.S. President Donald Trump called Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday to congratulate him on his re-election, the Kremlin said.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Trump spoke with Putin Tuesday morning. She said a summary of the call would be released later…

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that the two leaders didn’t discuss the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain. British officials have blamed the nerve agent attack on Skripal and his adult daughter on Russia. Russia has denied the accusations.

As if they were going to talk about anything heavy? That’s not the kind of discussions President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have. It’s more like pillow talk. Which Sen. John McCain (R) astutely points out is…the problem:

And to be clear, this is the “victory” Trump was congratulating, strikingly similar–and with factual basis–to the baseless claims of election fraud Trump concocted to explain his popular vote loss in 2016:

Russian election observers denounced what they said were large-scale violations in the presidential vote that handed Vladimir Putin a crushing victory, including ballot-stuffing that was captured on state-controlled cameras.

Golos, an election-monitoring organization, said it registered more than 1,500 violations in regions across Russia. Several cases of people stuffing ballot boxes at polling stations, including near Moscow, were recorded on cameras set up by the authorities to ensure a transparent vote.

But McCain seems to forget: Trump would like to be Presidente por Vida himself.