Only Trump Can Fix Immigration, Says Mike Coffman (Yes, Really)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Rep. Mike Coffman (left).

As the debate over immigration policy in the United States endures the hard shake of President Donald Trump and the hard-line slate of policies he promised on the campaign trail, fellow Republicans hoping to chart a politically survivable path through the chaos on this explosive issue are having a very difficult time. Nationally one of the most frequently-cited examples of this is Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, whose “evolution” on immigration since redistricting forced him out of Tom Tancredo’s old constituency and now placing Coffman necessarily at odds with Trump’s plans for a sweeping crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

Except, as Real Clear Politics reported over the weekend, maybe that’s not true? Does Coffman actually see Trump as a savior on immigration?

Rep. Mike Coffman, who represents a swing district in Colorado and has been a strong supporter of protecting Dreamers, said Trump might be able to convince even his most conservative supporters to back such a deal.

“He’s got the credibility in terms of being tough on immigration and I think he’s the only one, probably, within the Republican Party that can solve this issue,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]

Subsequent to the announced deal with congressional Democratic leadership and the Trump administration on protecting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program beneficiaries, there’s been an uptick in speculation about the possibility that a President elected on what can be accurately described as the most anti-immigrant platform in modern history might be able to broker a grand bargain on the issue–to include resolution of status for all undocumented immigrants in the United States and “border security” consistent with keep Trump’s promises to build a wall on the southern border. Since that time, as Trump sought to reassure his base that he wasn’t “caving” on the campaign’s hard line, much of that confidence has dissipated. Negotiations are nonetheless reportedly ongoing this week, and we’re all obliged to wait for news there.

In the meantime, this is another chance to remind readers that Coffman’s fate is linked to that of the Trump administration–on immigration as just one of a range of issues, and Coffman has done it to himself. This is a man who dramatically outperformed in a district that Trump lost handily by brazenly triangulating off Trump’s various offenses. And now he says it’s Trump who has credibility on immigration? In fact, Coffman says, Trump is the only Republican who can get immigration reform done? Is that what the ticket-splitters in CD-6 expected?

All we can say is, remember this moment.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 13)

Go away, (Hurricane) Jose. 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…

► Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is introducing a “Medicare for All” healthcare plan today with significant support from well-known Senate Democrats. As the Washington Post reports:

Sanders’s bill, the Medicare for All Act of 2017, has no chance of passage in a Republican-run Congress. But after months of behind-the-scenes meetings and a public pressure campaign, the bill is already backed by most of the senators seen as likely 2020 Democratic candidates — if not by most senators facing tough reelection battles in 2018.

The bill would revolutionize America’s health-care system, replacing it with a public system that would be paid for by higher taxes. Everything from emergency surgery to prescription drugs, from mental health to eye care, would be covered, with no co-payments. Americans younger than 18 would immediately obtain “universal Medicare cards,” while Americans not currently eligible for Medicare would be phased into the program over four years. Employer-provided health care would be replaced, with the employers paying higher taxes but no longer on the hook for insurance.

Private insurers would remain, with fewer customers, to pay for elective treatments such as cosmetic surgery — a system similar to that in Australia, which President Trump has praised for having a “much better” insurance regimen than the United States.

Republicans will immediately point to projections showing big tax increases under such a plan, but Americans might actually end up saving money in this scenario because of the reduction or elimination of copays, premiums, and deductibles.

On Tuesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy announced her support for a “Medicaid for All” proposal in Colorado.

 

► Jefferson County Republicans are mad as hell (at Republicans) and they’re not above issuing toothless threats to prove it! As Ernest Luning writes for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

The Jefferson County Republican Party is demanding Congress immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act or, if it can’t, to elect new congressional leadership.

A strongly worded resolution adopted unanimously by the county party’s executive committee Monday night maintains that the failure of congressional Republicans to overturn the sweeping health care legislation known as Obamacare “has caused great consternation and angst among registered Republicans in Jefferson County” and put GOP candidates “in great election peril.”

The county party is giving Congress until Nov. 1 to “repeal the abominable legislation,” but if Republicans “fail to meet our demand … and continue in their deceit of the voters,” the Jefferson County GOP want different Republicans in charge of the House and Senate…

…“[I]t is imperative that we differentiate ourselves from the National GOP,” the county party wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “Otherwise, our local and state candidates will be painted with the same brush as the GOP in Washington. Those in Washington are not doing what they promised, and we intend to hold their feet to the fire.”

The irony is strong with this one. By unanimously demanding that Congress immediately repeal Obamacare, the Jefferson County Republican Party has painted every one of its 2018 candidates into a tight little corner.

 

► Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is in Colorado today touring schools, and will finish her visit with a visit to the Air Force Academy this afternoon.

 

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Coffman Says Dems Want to Score Political Points with “Visual of Mass Deportation” of Immigrants

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a radio interview last week, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) said Democrats would love to exploit imagery of mass deportations of young immigrants.

Asked by KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky how he thought Democrats would feel about Trump’s decision to end Obama’s DACA order, which allowed immigrants who came here as children to remain in the U.S., Coffman said:

Coffman (here at 28 min 30 seconds): “I think they would love a visual of mass deportation of these young people. The young people who are essentially a combination of working and going to school. I mean that’s the visual they want to take them into 2018 midterm… They want to appear to be on the side of these DACA children but, if given the opportunity, they’d just as soon [laughs] let Republicans have their fingerprints on the failure to pass this.”

Coffman did not specify which Democrats told him they’d like to use imagery of deportations, ordered by Republicans, in the political campaigns. Nor did Coffman say he was speculating. Coffman’s office does not return my calls.

And I couldn’t find Democrats who want to have a “visual of mass deportation” on the shelf for future political use.

Coffman has said he supports Trump’s decision to dismantle protections for DACA immigrants, but he also backs legislation to put DACA protections into law.

Coffman’s comment about the Democrats’ views on DACA reflects the thinking of some politicians and political operatives who become so focused on the “optics,” “visuals,” and political strategery of campaigns that they forget about the actual people involved.

In November, Coffman will have served 28 years in elected office, a point his opponents often highlight. His career in politics started in the state legislature in 1989. He was also Colorado’s State Treasurer and Secretary of State, prior to his election to Congress.

No One’s Happy: Tancredo Calls For Coffman Primary Challenge

Rep. Mike Coffman.

With former Congressman, presidential and once-and-future gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo making lots of news lately with his defense of Donald Trump’s immigration policies and criticism of “backsliding” Republicans growing afraid to see those policies carried out, an interview with Tancredo last week pummeling his successor in Congress Rep. Mike Coffman, and calling for Coffman’s ouster by hook or by crook, is vexing so-called “establishment” GOP strategists today. Here’s the transcription of the key moment of audio above:

TANCREDO: …All of the things he said about Trump, you, you just don’t have to do that. Right? He just didn’t have to do that even before the election, all the things he called him. And then…

CAPLIS: Well, I don’t know Congressman, I think he, I think he made a calculation that he had to come out against Trump in that manner to be able to keep his seat. I think we won by such a large margin that, that he didn’t have to. I didn’t like it when he did, I think what was a stake with the presidency and control of the U.S. Supreme Court in Colorado, a possible decision state in the election, I didn’t like it when he did that.

TANCREDO: Yeah–no, neither did I, and to tell you the truth, see I would not mind at all if he failed in his next attempt, if it is to retain his seat.

CAPLIS: Even if it means Pelosi as Speaker?

TANCREDO: Or actually anything he goes for, I wouldn’t care if he failed. But I especially wouldn’t care if he failed, and I would encourage people–I have encouraged people to, to run against him in a primary, and if he lost that would be okay with me because we, I would say a conservative loses nothing if Mike Coffman loses his seat. We are not in, the Republicans are not in jeopardy of losing the House, um, and it’s not the same as a Senate seat, so really it’s not worth it, I don’t think, to have somebody in there doing the things, he you know he’s threatening a um, discharge petition. I don’t know if everybody recognizes this…

CAPLIS: Yeah, yeah.

TANCREDO: But it’s like the ultimate slap in the face, you know, to the leadership and that sort of thing. Um, and it’s not going to work, it’s just simply another little, you know it’s a showpiece that he’s doing, to again, pander, I think…

In their zeal to win over centrist voters and even some low-information liberal votes, Coffman like U.S. Senator Cory Gardner has made great efforts to affect moderation on defining political issues like immigration and reproductive choice. But in doing so, they’ve put their core constituency of conservative Republican voters at risk of, if not voting for their general election opponent, something perhaps even more damaging: base demoralization. It’s fine to make inroads with new constituencies, even formerly opposition voters–as long as you’re not alienating your base.

Because if you do, you end up with someone like Tom Tancredo telling voters you can’t afford to lose that “a conservative loses nothing if Mike Coffman loses his seat.” Obviously Tancredo would prefer that Coffman lose his seat in a Republican primary, and these words would hurt more in the event Coffman attracts a primary challenge.

It’s really not good for Coffman either way though, folks. With bad political moves like unceremoniously yanking a rare discharge petition on legislation to protect DREAM Act-eligible immigrants that he received genuine credit for initiating, Coffman’s path to successfully triangulating this issue in 2018 is more perilous than ever. Coffman definitely can’t afford to lose his right flank now.

Enter Tom Tancredo.

Coffman Caves on BRIDGE Act Discharge Petition

UPDATE: Congressman Mike Coffman’s on-again, off-again support of DREAMERs is back on again. For now.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

—–

The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports–Rep. Mike Coffman got his headlines, and…

Coffman no longer will press Congress to vote on a bill to help young immigrants who are at risk for deportation — an about-face that critics said confirms their suspicions that the Aurora Republican launched the short-lived effort simply for political gain.

Three days ago, Coffman filed what’s called a “discharge petition” to try to force the House to vote on a measure that would suspend the deportation of immigrants registered with the 2012 program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which President Donald Trump is canceling.

It was an unusual move, as discharge petitions typically aren’t used by the members of the party in power, but the fifth-term Republican said it was necessary to compel his GOP colleagues to take steps to protect DACA recipients…

That was then. This is now:

“I had a conversation with House Speaker (Paul) Ryan (on) Wednesday morning and he said that he’s committed to get DACA passed, albeit he wants to do it with some type of border security; I’m fine with that,” Coffman said Friday. [Pols emphasis] “What I told him is I’d hold it back but if I saw that he wasn’t making progress in terms of putting something forward, that I would push the discharge petition.”

After being forced by prudence (not to mention agreement) to praise Coffman’s move a few days ago, Democrats unleashed fury on Coffman for walking back his commitment to press forward, with mostly Democratic support if needed, with a discharge petition to force a vote on the BRIDGE Act:

Although Coffman reportedly signed on without fanfare as a cosponsor of the current version of the full DREAM Act just before the August recess, the BRIDGE Act is a simpler bill that would have extended the DACA protections for three years. Most importantly, the BRIDGE Act and the DREAM Act were standalone pieces of legislation not dependent on some larger bargain on the divisive subject of “border security.” In short, these were bills that would not require a deal to build Donald Trump’s wall in order to give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries peace of mind.

Except now apparently, making DACA contingent on “border security” is “fine” with Mike Coffman! That’s an undeniable step backward from the leadership Coffman was making an effort to show last week, using a legislative tactic normally used by the minority to force a quick vote on a standalone bill to renew the terms of DACA for three years with no strings. In short, if you thought Coffman was going to follow through and match his words with action, you got played. And if you were cynical about Coffman’s true intentions and willingness to buck Republican leadership on this issue, you were right.

Mike Coffman is who he is, a conservative Republican and loyal member of Paul Ryan’s Republican majority. He will never be the right man to represent a district Hillary Clinton won by nine points last year. He can only fake it. What happened today was the end stage of faking it, and it was always inevitable.

Coffman caved.

Get More Smarter on Friday (September 8)

In these times of escalating partisan rancor, it’s nice to know that we can all come together in a shared dislike of Tom Brady. 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…

► Congress this morning gave final approval to a $15 billion disaster relief package in the wake of Hurricane Harvey…just as Hurricane Irma prepares to throttle Florida. President Trump is apparently quite excited that his show of “bipartisanship” this week has attracted so much positive media coverage. As NBC News reports:

Trump expressed that he was thrilled with the positive news coverage the debt limit deal had received, a senior Democratic aide told NBC News.

“The people of the United States want to see a coming together, at least to an extent. We’re different parties, we have different thoughts, different feelings, different ideas. But I think you’re coming to see a much stronger coming together,” Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday.

Earlier in the day he said he looks forward to working with both Republicans and Democrats.

You’re a good wittle President, aren’t you? Yes, you are! 

 

► Anyway, back to the hurricane news…As the New York Times reports, nearly the entire state of Florida is in danger from one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded:

One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded crescendoed over the Caribbean on Thursday, crumpling islands better known as beach paradises into half-habitable emergency zones and sideswiping Puerto Rico before churning north. It is expected to hit the Florida Keys and South Florida by Saturday night…

…Gov. Rick Scott of Florida urged extreme caution in the face of a powerful storm that could quickly change course. “Every Florida family must prepare to evacuate regardless of the coast you live on,” he said.

Hurricane Irma is the size of France — like, the entire country. Miami could take a near-direct hit by Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, a third potentially major hurricane, Jose, is right on the heels of Irma. And a major 8.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded off the southern coast of Mexico.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has already dropped his plans to push a discharge petition for a House vote on DACA. As The Hill reports:

Coffman said he made an agreement with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to hold off on gathering support for his discharge petition for the bill, which would extend protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for three years.

Coffman filed the discharge petition on Tuesday, which would need 218 signatures to trigger a House floor vote. Discharge petitions are typically used by the House minority party to bring attention to legislation ignored by the majority-party leadership — but are rarely successful.

For a member of the House majority like Coffman to file a discharge petition was an exceedingly rare move.

If you were cynical about Coffman’s newfound commitment to DACA, well, go ahead and say, “I told you so.”

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman — Mike Coffman’s former spouse — doesn’t want any part of the controversy surrounding President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program for children of undocumented immigrants. Elsewhere, a group of 11 Democratic Governors are urging Congress to take swift action to assist DREAMERS.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

BREAKING: Trump To Pull The Plug on The American DREAM

UPDATE #2: Politico reports that Rep. Mike Coffman will try to force a vote on legislation to protect DACA beneficiaries next week when Congress reconvenes:

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) said Thursday he’ll attempt to force a vote on a bill that would extend protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors.

When he returns to Washington next week, Coffman said he’ll file what’s known as a “discharge petition” to force action on his proposal, known as the BRIDGE Act. If he can convince a majority of the House — 218 members — to join him, the House will be required to take up the measure later in September.

Coffman’s rarely used gambit comes amid reports that President Donald Trump may roll back an Obama-era program meant to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors. The program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has shielded about 800,000 immigrants from deportation and provided work permits.

Coffman’s move can be expected to pick up Democratic support, but the real question is whether enough Republicans can be persuaded to go along with this to get a majority. If it does, obviously Coffman will get credit for that. But if Republican leadership holds the majority caucus together against it, it’s a futile gesture.

Stay tuned.

—–

UPDATE: From the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR):

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has allowed millions of immigrant young people to come forward and apply for protection from deportation and find opportunities in work and education. Most importantly, it has helped to keep families together and make young people in our community feel safe.

We are hearing that this administration is threatening to eliminate this program – a truly callous and craven move. This would force many people in our community to live in fear. We are disheartened they would even consider getting rid of DACA. Immigrants want to be able to be part of and contribute to their communities and to provide a better life for themselves and their children. It is the archaic and cruel policies that make it difficult for people to do so. We need to fix this broken system and do all we can to keep families together.

—–

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

The Hill reporting–a moment many in the immigrant rights community have dreaded, hard-right anti-immigration demagogues like Tom Tancredo have demanded, and GOP Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado wishes had never come, as word that President Donald Trump will rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, putting hundreds of thousands of America’s most sympathy-inspiring undocumented immigrants–those who came here as children through no fault of their own–in danger of deportation.

President Trump plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “as it exists today” on Friday, Fox News reports.

Under DACA, nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children have received work permits and deferral from deportation.

According to Fox, a senior administration official told correspondent John Roberts that Trump would end the program “as early as” Friday.

The program, instituted through an executive order signed by President Obama in 2012, is facing a legal challenge from Texas and nine other states, which threatened court action to attempt to block it unless Trump rescinds DACA by Sept. 5.

We are awaiting word from local politicos on all sides, and we’ll update with statements as they come in. Rep. Coffman in particular, who once declared “the DREAM Act will be a nightmare for the American people” but did an about-face on the issue after being redistricted into a more diverse district, we assume will be as publicly displeased with this action as possible–along with some other “moderate” Republicans who have paid lip service to protecting DACA beneficiaries.

The reason is simple: although pleasing to a narrow segment of particularly vindictive Americans, stripping these kids, students, and workers of the only life they have ever known is an absolute political disaster for Republicans. Whether or not Coffman’s “Paul on the road to Damascus” conversion on immigration is legitimate or a contrived survival tactic in his new district is now irrelevant. This is an action that will define the Republican Party for years to come with the fastest-growing bloc of voters in the United States.

And Mike Coffman is a Republican. Trump is his President.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 18)

The sun will come out…tomorrow…and Sunday…but not Monday. 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…

So long, Steve BannonPresident Trump’s Chief Strategist is out of a job.

Earlier this week, Bannon told American Prospect magazine that he thought the recent news focus on white supremacists would actually be politically beneficial to Trump and Republicans.

 

► Lawmakers are growing concerned that President Trump might deliberately refuse to spend money allocated by Congress for federal budgets. As Politico reports:

Lawmakers and activists are preparing for the possibility that President Donald Trump’s administration, in its zeal to slash the federal budget, will take the rare step of deliberately not spending all the money Congress gives it — a move sure to trigger legal and political battles.

The concern is mainly focused on the State Department, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has drawn criticism for failing to spend $80 million allocated by Congress to fight Russian and terrorist propaganda and for trying to freezecongressionally authorized fellowships for women and minorities. Activists and congressional officials fear such practices could take hold at other U.S. departments and agencies under Trump…

…Advocacy groups are consulting lawyers and gathering information on current spending and the laws that govern the budget; one nongovernmental-organization network is even surveying humanitarian organizations to gather more facts. Capitol Hill staffers are scouring the fine print of appropriations bills, hunting for loopholes that would allow the executive branch to slow down or stop spending.

The goal is to fend off cuts that they fear could damage foreign aid programs, hobble U.S. diplomacy and ultimately weaken America’s national security.

So, about that separate “branches of government” thing…

 

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“I Wish Republicans Had Stood Up To Birtherism,” Laments GOP Senator

The Hill reports on Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona’s confession to NBC News’ Chuck Todd regarding the years of speculation about President Barack Obama’s American citizenship–part of a combination of factors that resulted in massive electoral gains for Republicans during the time Obama was in office:

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) in an interview broadcast Sunday said he wished the Republican Party had stood up to birtherism…

“Well, I do think that we’ve seen more people ready to stand up. And I wish that we, as a party, would have stood up, for example, when the birtherism thing was going along. A lot of people did stand up but not enough,” Flake told Todd.

Flake said the birther movement, a conspiracy theory that claimed former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, “was particularly ugly.”

President Trump had promoted the theory for years, before rejecting it during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The belief among the low-information American right that President Obama was not an American citizen persisted throughout Obama’s entire presidency, and even persists today despite President Donald Trump’s renunciation of this false story (of which Trump himself was a prime mover). Obama’s citizenship has been exhaustively researched and proven time and time again to be completely legitimate, with claims to the contrary being found not just meritless, but contemptible–and unvarnished racism easy to see right beneath the surface in every single case.

But of course it worked. The massive electoral gains Republicans enjoyed at every level from 2010 onward were undeniably boosted by the racist backlash against President Obama. Obamacare, the 2009 economic stimulus–nothing that Obama actually did as President can fully explain the landslide election in 2010, which set the stage for subsequent years of GOP dominance of Congress. Not to mention the improbable election of Donald Trump in 2016.

The thing is, nobody wants to admit the role of racism against Obama in the GOP’s rapid recovery of power after the nadir of 2008. Certainly not today, now that “birtherism” has been totally discredited by all but the most willfully ignorant. Even many Democrats seem reticent to go there. But in 2010 and again in 2012 as the whisper campaign raged against Obama’s re-election, Republicans freely exploited and benefited from the color of the President’s skin.

In 2012, Rep. Mike Coffman was recorded telling an Elbert County Republican Party crowd, “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.” When audio of these comments surfaced, a public-relations nightmare ensued that ended with Coffman making a series of progressively more sincere-sounding apologies as the damage became clearer. Fortunately for Coffman, his weak 2012 opponent was unable to capitalize on the debacle and he survived. The moment he did, Coffman’s phalanx of staff and surrogates busily set to work declaring this “gaffe” to be “old news.”

Obviously, today’s Mike Coffman would never say what Coffman said in 2012. But whether or not Coffman’s many apologies are legitimate or contrived, whether Coffman really meant the unambiguous things that came out of his mouth in 2012 or he “misspoke,” is something individual voters will evaluate in whatever present context it is presented. That’s a nice way of saying that Coffman’s 2012 “birtherism” could come back to haunt him anew at any time. For our part, we’re inclined to believe that people generally say what they mean–and attempts to put unambiguous statements back in the proverbial bottle are usually the product of damage control, not sincere contrition.

Just remember everybody, racism isn’t cool! At least not anymore.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 2)

Always stretch your brain prior to thinking. 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…

President Trump signed his name to legislation dealing with sanctions on Russia, but he isn’t happy about it. As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump has signed a bill imposing new sanctions on Russia, ending immediate hopes of a reset of U.S. relations with the Kremlin and marking a defeat for his administration, which had expressed concerns that the legislation infringed upon executive power.

In a statement outlining his concerns, Trump called the bill “seriously flawed,” primarily because it limits his ability to negotiate sanctions without congressional approval.

“By limiting the Executive’s flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together,” Trump said in a statement on Wednesday morning. “The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President.”

“This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice,” he added.

White House officials said that the president signed the measure on Wednesday morning, nearly a week after it was passed by the Senate with a veto-proof majority. The bill was also approved in the House last week by an overwhelming bipartisan majority.

It is entirely possible that Trump just signed the bill because he is so desperate to put pen to paper on something from Congress. This only furthers our belief that Trump would sign a napkin if you put it in on his desk.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) held a town hall meeting in Henderson, Colo. on Tuesday night. As CPR reports, Coffman’s staff patted itself on the back for not throwing constituents out of the event:

At the end of an hour of taking questions, Coffman’s press assistant tried to end the town hall. The congressman waved him off and said he wanted to keep going. An aide said after it was over that no one was kicked out, despite strict rules on being considerate. [Pols emphasis]

Congratulations to Mike Coffman’s office for not removing constituents from a public venue where they were invited to discuss issues with their elected Representative! The Associated Press and the Denver Post have more on Coffman’s town hall meeting, in which healthcare continued to be the prime topic on the minds of voters.

Elsewhere, Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is holding a town hall meeting…nah, just kidding. But Gardner is doing another telephone town hall tonight. Here’s how to sign up for the call.

 

► The White House is acknowledging that President Trump “weighed in” on a statement from his sonDonald Trump, Jr., related to a controversial meeting with Russian bigwigs last July. This comes after a Washington Post story that the President himself dictated the entire statement while traveling on Air Force One. As Paul Waldman writes in a separate story for the Washington Post, Trump appears to have directly implicated himself in allegations that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia.

 

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Parade of Democratic Candidates in CD-6 Not Over Yet

State Sen. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora)

As Ernest Luning writes for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, two Colorado Congressmen are at the top of EMILY’s “list” in 2018:

EMILY’s List, a national group that recruits and helps fund Democratic women candidates, put two Colorado Republicans “on notice” Thursday, naming U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton to its list of top GOP targets in next year’s election.

The group charged that Coffman and Tipton have poor records on issues important to women — including funding for Planned Parenthood and support for equal pay legislation — and plans to make it a priority to get behind women candidates in their districts…

…The “On Notice” designation means not only that EMILY’s List finds the incumbents objectionable — they’ve “amassed appallingly anti-woman, anti-family records,” the group said in a release — but also believes they’re vulnerable to a candidate supported by the organization — in other words, a Democratic woman who supports abortion rights.

While Tipton has drawn a challenger who might fit the profile in state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, Coffman is so far only facing male challengers — attorney and Army Ranger combat veteran Jason Crow, author and former Obama administration energy official Levi Tillemann and attorney and former school board candidate David Aarestad.

A source close to EMILY’s List told Colorado Politics the group has spoken with Democratic women who might run in Coffman’s district, although local party sources say the higher profile potential challengers — state Sen. Rhonda Fields, state Rep. Janet Buckner, former state Rep. Karen Middleton and State Board of Education member Rebecca McClellan — have opted against a 2018 campaign. [Pols emphasis]

Democrats have a plethora of serious candidates seeking their Party’s nomination in CD-6, headlined by attorney Jason Crow, who had a solid fundraising quarter in Q2. This field seems far from settled, however, in part because many politicos believe that 2018 could be a good year for Democrats.

We’ve been hearing Sen. Rhonda Fields’ name for months as a potential candidate, and while Luning reports here that Fields has ruled out running in 2018, we’ve also heard plenty of scuttlebutt to indicate that she may yet jump in the race at some point. If EMILY’s List is planning on spending big money on a potential candidate in CD-6, we would expect to see another Democratic candidate emerge — whether it is Fields or someone else — for the ability to challenge incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) next fall.

Good news! Week of June 11- 17, 2017

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Small victories, local heroes, sweet stories, random kindnesses, unexpected grace, cold justice served up on a hot plate…that’s what this diary is about. As always, your interpretation of what is “good news” is probably different than mine. And that’s fine. Something I’m missing? Add it in the comments.

LGBT:

Massive Marches may move us, but the  biggest and gayest parade this year in Colorado will be Pridefest, this Sunday June 18. Civic Center Park will host the celebration all weekend. For your daily minimum requirement of fabulousness, go to Pridefest Denver. (Photo from 2016 Pridefest, Wikipedia Commons)

Pridefest Denver 2016 -from Wikipedia commons

LGBT hero: One of the Capitol Police agents wounded in the recent terrorist attack in DC was Crystal Griner, a married lesbian woman. Griner and her fellow officers, including David Bailey , rushed the shooter, taking him down and preventing a massacre.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 16)

Greetings, comrades! Let us commence with today’s lesson plan. 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…

President Trump’s administration is crumbling faster than Cory Gardner can flee a constituent. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, news that Trump passed highly-confidential information to the Russians just might be the proverbial back-breaking straw on this here camel:

In a number of conversations Monday evening with Republican House members and GOP strategists, there was a widespread feeling that this time Trump might have gone too far…

…consider the following five things Trump has done since coming into office: 1) Twice failed to enact a travel ban 2) Engaged in an extended argument over crowd size at his inauguration 3) Falsely accused then-President Barack Obama of wire-tapping Trump Tower during the election 4) Took 18 days to get rid of national security adviser MIchael Flynn after being informed Flynn was compromised by the Russians 5) Fired Comey, even as he was overseeing the Russia investigation.

Any ONE of those are the sort of thing that would be a major slip-up in any other administration — and might lead to defections from within the president’s own party.  All five of them — plus the new revelations regarding classified information being shared with two top Russian officials — is something close to an avalanche of political malpractice.

How much more can — or will — congressional Republicans take?

If you’re looking for answers as to why Trump would have divulged such sensitive information to the Russians, there aren’t a lot of plausible answers.

If you’re looking for a response to this growing crisis from Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)…well, good luck with that. But Gardner has certainly painted himself into a corner with his previous bold declarations about national security.

Actually, if you’re looking for a response from any Colorado Republicans, you’re not alone.

 

► Things would have to improve at the White House before you could even begin to use the word “disarray.” From the Washington Post:

This time it did not even take 24 hours for Donald Trump to throw his staffers under the bus and contradict their denials.

The president revealed highly classified (code word) information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during an Oval Office meeting last week, potentially endangering a coveted intelligence asset, compromising a crucial alliance and undermining the war effort against the Islamic State.

After The Post broke the story, senior White House aides quickly denied it. “I was in the room. It didn’t happen,” said national security adviser H.R. McMaster. “This story is false,” added Dina Powell, his deputy.

Then, on Twitter this morning, Trump essentially acknowledged that The Post’s reporting is accurate, defended his decision to share the information and complained about the leak that allowed what he’d done to get out.

Working for Trump at the White House certainly appears to be nothing short of awful. It can’t help that Trump’s approval ratings continue to drop and the public is demanding a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.

 

► Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, also the second-longest-serving Attorney General in Colorado history, is apparently no longer on a short list to become the next FBI Director. We’re sure Suthers is absolutely (not) despondent to learn that he won’t be next in line to manage this particular shit show.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Americans Wary of Trump, Want Russia Investigation

This is basically what America thinks of Trump

Last week was not a good week for President Donald Trump. Things are not looking much better.

The newest batch of approval ratings from Gallup are out today, and President Trump is demonstrating a consistently-downward trend. Check out how Trump’s approval ratings stack up to his predecessors at a similar time in their respective administrations:

   Barack Obama:     64%
   George W. Bush:  56%
   Bill Clinton:            45%
   Donald Trump:     38%

Yeah, that’s not good…and it’s probably going to get worse. Results from a separate NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll were released on Sunday showing that 78% of Americans would like to see a “special investigator” assigned to look into potential collaboration between Russian officials and Trump’s campaign for President.

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 5)

Remember, kids: Don’t put the guacamole in your tortilla-chip hat until just before you are ready to leave the house. 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…

► As you may have heard, Congressional Republicans finally passed a bill on Thursday related to the repeal and destruction of Obamacare. Republicans toasted to the (poor) health of Americans at the White House last evening, but the political blowback is already underway. From CNN:

The Cook Political Report, a non-partisan campaign handicapping service, changed the ratings on 20 GOP-held districts Friday morning — all of them moving in Democrats’ favor in advance of the 2018 midterm election…

…Two of the 20 changes affected members who actually opposed the AHCA: Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Mike Coffman of Colorado. Of Coffman, Wasserman wrote: “Coffman ended up voting against the AHCA, but his hesitation to announce his position likely won’t assuage voters who want to send a message to President Trump next year.” [Pols emphasis]

Think about the changes the Cook Report made this way: To win back the House majority, Democrats need to gain 24 GOP seats. Twenty Republican seats just moved toward Democrats — in less than a day and with a single congressional vote.

That’s a big deal.

Aurora Republican Mike Coffman did indeed vote “NO” on Trumpcare 2.0 on Thursday, but it doesn’t appear as though Coffman is going to get any real political cover from the decision. Coffman’s vote on Thursday won’t extinguish the memory of his longstanding support for repealing Obamacare, including the fact that he was one of the biggest cheerleaders of the failed Trumpcare bill in March of this year.

 

► The healthcare legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate, and its future is as uncertain as ever. Republican Senate leaders are already questioning the wisdom of the House passing a bill that many members never even had a chance to read first.

Check out this video of a reporter asking Republican Members of Congress if they had read the healthcare legislation — that’s Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) who walks quickly away from the question near the end of the clip.

 

► Other than Mike Coffman, Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted along party lines on Trumpcare 2.0. Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) had been coy about his support for the latest healthcare bill, but as the Grand Junction Sentinel reports, Tipton is drinking all of the GOP Kool-Aid:

The most recent version of the American Health Care Act passed the House on Thursday with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., saying it met his test of making insurance more affordable.

“As the House developed the American Health Care Act, I was adamant that the replacement plan needed to ensure people with pre-existing conditions would have access to affordable health insurance,” Tipton said in a statement after the vote. “The bill provides these assurances.”…

…Critics took immediate issue with Tipton, among them ProgressNow Colorado, whose executive director noted Tipton’s comment to The Daily Sentinel in February that, “Every policy is still going to be in effect. People are not going to be left without coverage.” Tipton broke his promise to constituents with his vote, said Ian Silverii.

Tipton’s comments are complete and utter nonsense. It has been widely reported that the GOP healthcare bill would all but eliminate the requirement that insurance companies don’t penalize people with pre-existing conditions.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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