BREAKING: Jared Kushner is in Big, Big Trouble

President Trump, left, embraces son-in-law Jared Kushner.

From the Washington Post:

Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser…

…Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that although Russian diplomats have secure means of communicating with Moscow, Kushner’s apparent request for access to such channels was extraordinary.

It’s really become impossible to foresee a scenario in which this doesn’t end badly for President TrumpJared Kushner, and Trump’s family in general. Good luck explaining this one, Trump supporters.

 

Finish Your Damn Job, Faye Griffin (Again)

Jeffco Republican Faye Griffin is (politically) immortal.

Faye Griffin will still be serving as an elected official in Jefferson County long after your children’s children have come and gone — even if Jeffco Republicans have to get her cryogenically frozen in order to make it happen.

It looks like we need to update a long-running saga involving Griffin’s political history in Jefferson County. Current Jeffco Commissioner Libby Szabo is rumored to be considering leaving the Commissioner’s office in order to focus her energy full-time on the open Congressional seat in CD-7. If Szabo does resign early from the Commissioner’s office, we hear that current Jeffco Clerk and Recorder Faye Griffin may be in line to replace Szabo. If this is indeed true, it would mean that the 78-year-old Griffin was leaving the Clerk and Recorder’s office in the middle of her third (non-consecutive) term in order to complete her third term as a County Commissioner. This is absolutely ridiculous, and it needs to stop.

We’ve talked about Griffin’s serial seat-hopping in the past, as well as the fact that her constant movement allows Jeffco Republicans to essentially subvert the will of voters. In the last 10 years or so, numerous Republican candidates have “run” for office for the first time with the power of an unearned-incumbency behind them. The Denver Post has also waded into this story and condemned the political malpractice. Take a look at what the Post wrote in October 2014:

When voters support a candidate, they should expect that person will serve the full term of office. It’s not too much to ask…

…Make no mistake, this isn’t about Griffin’s political affiliation. This is about a vacancy system that empowers party honchos instead of requiring special elections for vacancies, and Griffin’s willingness to abandon a commitment in order to continue in public office.

One of the more amazing parts of that editorial comes from an interview with Griffin herself:

We asked Griffin why she would leave the commission two years early, and she was candid in saying it was due to term limits.

Griffin is in the middle of her second term, and if she stayed in the position, she couldn’t run for the commission again — and there would be no other palatable options for her, in her mind.

“In two years, there’s no county office that is open,” Griffin said. So, she is seeking the office she held for eight years, starting in 1998.

Ahead of the 2018 election, there’s good reason for Jeffco Republicans to continue convincing Griffin to keep moving offices. Democrats appear to have a strong candidate for Clerk and Recorder in George Stern, so it is in the best interests of the GOP to try to place a new Clerk and Recorder now in order to give that person enough time to build up their name ID before 2018. And by moving Griffin back to County Commissioner in the meantime, she wouldn’t need to run again until 2020.

After the 2014 election, Griffin was quoted by the Golden Transcript with this comment about her future plans: “I am going to retire sometime, I just don’t know when.” We’re not saying that Griffin should retire — she just needs to finish her damn job for once.

 

Faye Griffin’s Seat-Hopping History
♦ 1998-2006: Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder (2 terms).
♦ 2006: Elected as County Treasurer (4-year term).
♦ 2008: Elected as County Commissioner after ditching Treasurer’s office mid-term. Republican-controlled Commissioners appoint Republican Tim Kauffman to fill remainder of Griffin’s term as Treasurer.
♦ 2012: Elected to second term as Jefferson County Commissioner
♦ 2013: Griffin announces that she will run for Jeffco Clerk and Recorder again in 2014. For the second time in 5 years, Griffin leaves elected office well before end of term.
♦ 2014: Elected as Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder for third time (1998, 2002). Libby Szabo later appointed to rest of Griffin’s term as Commissioner; Szabo elected to full term in 2016.
♦ 2017: Szabo rumored to consider resigning as County Commissioner in order to run full-time for Congress in CD-7. Szabo’s rumored replacement? Faye Griffin, of course.

 

Colorado Week in Review: 5/26/17

Offering no solution for millions who stand to lose insurance, Gardner maintains that Obamacare must be replaced

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

In what appear to be his first public comments on the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that 23 million Americans would lose health insurance under the House Republicans’ bill to replace Obamacare, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) expressed no alarm over the finding, maintaining instead that Obamacare must be replaced and that “shortcomings” in the House bill will be taken care of.

But he offered only the vaguest ideas, which provide no basis for substantive judgement, on how this would be accomplished. (listen: May 25, hour 1)

“I think this gives the Senate a good look at what the House bill did, so that we can draft a policy that will actually do the job to replace the Affordable Care Act,” Gardner old KDMT 1690-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger yesterday. “There’s a number of ideas that we’re talking about, that will be a solution to some of the shortcomings of the House bill, the bottom line being, thought, we need to be able to reduce the cost of insurance to Americans around the country. And we do so by allowing them to buy the insurance policy that they want to buy.”

Asked by Sengenberger for an explanation of how the Senate aims to accomplish this, Gardner told Sengenberger that he and his colleagues are looking at adjusting the tax credits proposed in the House bill.

Gardner: I think what members of the Senate are talking about is how to adjust the tax credit to make it accountable to more of an income means tested manner. So, if you’re older, or you have more health problems, you’ll get more assistance. If you’re younger, and you have higher income, that may mean the tax credit is a little bit lower — less tax credit because you don’t need the assistance of somebody who may have lower income or who may be older, or [in] a little bit less-good health. So we can put those tax credits to reflect the needs of the population.

Gardner also pointed to the idea, proposed repeatedly by Republicans, of allowing for insurance to be sold across state lines.

And he said he wants to push people who currently buy insurance on the higher-priced individual market into group health-insurance plans, which are cheaper. But he gave no details on how this would be done–particularly at a time when employers are shedding benefits packages that include health insurance.

Gardner: “There’s talk of insurance programs that would allow [the sale of] insurance across state lines, association health plans, to get people into group plans, to get people into employer-based plans.

What we’re talking about with the individual market is only about 6 percent of the people who are covered by health insurance. So we can restore competitiveness into the health marketplace, and into individual marketplace for health insurance, and then do everything we can to try to help grow this pool of people in group insurance through employer-based coverage because that’s where most people get their insurance through anyway.

And then we can help start using technology and other means to drive down the cost, overall.

So those are some of the ideas that we’re going to focus on. Health savings accounts, the tax credits, — you know– how do we make sure that states have the right flexibilities and functionalities needed, if they take over Medicaid, so that they can be better responsive to the needs of their state’s population, those are all parts of the Senate conversation.

Tipton Doesn’t Believe CBO Score That Makes Him Look Terrible

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of the GOP healthcare legislation (Trumpcare 2.0/American Health Care Act) late Wednesday, and the numbers are absolutely terrible for Congressional Republicans. Thursday’s front page of the Denver Post summed up the bad news in pretty stark terms, as you can see from the image at right.

Colorado Republicans took a variety of different approaches in response to the CBO score. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) — who voted YES on the bill earlier this month — talked about how the AHCA was “just the first step” in a long process of “replacing our flawed healthcare system.” Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), meanwhile, did his best to distance the Senate from the House healthcare bill altogether.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) does not believe in UFOs, Bigfoot, or the CBO.

And then there’s Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), also a YES vote on the latest bill, who took a decidedly different approach in responding to the CBO score. Tipton’s full statement is remarkably obtuse, but his argument boils down to this: Tipton doesn’t believe the CBO score is accurate.

This is a completely illogical response, but since Tipton voted in favor of Trumpcare 2.0 before he even knew the impact of the bill, he doesn’t really have anything else to say in his defense:

“The CBO has a long history of making inaccurate predictions about the ACA and has acknowledged that its 2016 baseline measurement of the number of people insured was off by at least 5 million. Despite missing the mark, the CBO has used the inaccurate 2016 baseline as the measuring stick for coverage under the AHCA.”

Tipton says the CBO might have been off by “at least 5 million” people in its 2016 baseline measurement of uninsured Americans, which implies that the CBO score on the AHCA (Trumpcare 2.0) is mathematically inaccurate. Even if Tipton’s math is correct here, that still means at least 18 million more people would lose health coverage under Trumpcare 2.0 compared to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

“Additionally, the CBO cannot predict the decisions individuals will make when they are no longer forced by the federal government to buy an insurance product they don’t want.”

The Congressional Budget Office cannot predict the future, therefore it is worthless. This particular sentence does not end up making more sense if you re-read it again and again (trust us — we tried).

“As the House has worked towards repealing and replacing the ACA, my focus has been on the cost of health care, because measuring success by the number of people who are insured doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when most of these people can’t afford to use their insurance.”

This is dumb. The corollary here is that it makes more sense to measure the number of people who might end up with health insurance that is cheaper but doesn’t actually cover anything. You can also buy a used car for a couple hundred bucks; you won’t be able to start the engine, but look at how much money you saved!

“The AHCA is designed to give Coloradans more choice over their insurance plans, affordable premiums and deductibles, and better access to health care services.”

It may very well be true that the AHCA was “designed” to provide more choice in healthcare, more affordable premiums and deductibles, and better access to services. But that’s not what the AHCA actually does, and the CBO score makes this abundantly clear.

As political statements go, this response from Tipton is pretty awful. Tipton would have been better off following Rep. Buck’s lead by calling the AHCA just a “first step” in a longer process. Instead, Tipton decided to “shoot the messenger” — never a good strategy when it’s clear to most everyone else that the “messenger” isn’t the problem.

The Daily D’oh: Kushner Now a Focus of Investigation

There is so much breaking news lately on the ever-widening allegations about Russian ties to the Trump campaign that it can be difficult to keep track of everything. With that in mind, we’ve created what we’re calling “The Daily D’oh!” to help you stay up-to-date on President Trump and the rest of the White House staff as more news emerges about Russia, James ComeyRobert Mueller, special investigations and everything else related to this ongoing crisis…

 

♦ D’OH!
We’re going to just stick with one “D’oh!” today — and it’s a doozy. From the Washington Post:

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow , is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.

The Washington Post reported last week that a senior White House official close to the president was a significant focus of the high-stakes investigation, though it did not name Kushner.

FBI agents also remain keenly interested in former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but Kushner is the only current White House official known to be considered a key person in the probe.

This is where the Russia investigation gets much trickier for President Trump. With family members starting to pop up as persons of interest, Trump may soon have to decide whether he wants to make a deal with federal investigators to save his kin.

Tim Neville isn’t anti-abortion, he is anti-woman

Colorado State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) has never been shy to broadcast his supposed “pro-life” position. When you look under the hood, however, it seems that he must not care about reducing the abortion rate. How else could you explain his support for policies that would increase abortion rates and make it harder for women to receive life-saving medical care? Today’s example is his support for the so-called “Mexico City Policy” first implemented by Ronald Reagan:

Over the years, this policy has been rescinded by Democratic presidents and re-instituted by Republican ones.

To Neville’s supporters, the policy probably sounds good: stop giving money to organizations that offer abortion as part of their family planning services. Unfortunately, superficial appearances tend to dissipate when they come in contact with the real world, and this is no different.

There are a bunch of studies that show the devastating effect this policy has had on abortion rates, along with maternal and infant mortality. For example, Kelly M. Jones, who works for the International Food Policy Research Institute conducted one such study and lays out the result in stark relief:

Employing a woman-by-month panel of pregnancies and woman fixed effects, I estimate whether a given woman is less likely to abort a pregnancy during two policy periods versus two nonpolicy periods. I find no evidence that any demographic group reduces the use of abortion as a result of the policy. On the contrary, rural women significantly increase abortions. This effect seems to arise from their increased rate of conception during these times. The policy-induced budget shortfalls reportedly forced NGOs to cut rural outreach services, reducing the availability of contraceptives in rural areas. The lack of contraceptives likely caused the observed 12 percent increase in rural pregnancies, ultimately resulting in about 200,000 additional abortions and between 500,000 and 750,000 additional unintended births. I find that these additional unwanted children have significantly reduced height and weight for age, relative to their siblings. Rather than reducing abortion, this policy increased pregnancy, abortion, and unintended births, resulting in more than a half-million children of significantly reduced nutritional status.

Got that? Neville favors a policy that resulted in 200,000 additional abortions. Anyone with more of a thimble-deep understanding of women’s health would have known this. As a sitting member of Colorado’s state legislature, Neville should know the consequences of these funding cuts. If he does, then he is the worst kind of cynic. If he doesn’t, then he’s willfully ignorant. Perhaps both?

Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 25)

Don’t worry — it will totally be warm again some day next week. Maybe. 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…

► The Congressional Budget Office finally released its score of the latest Republican health care legislation, and the numbers are very bad. As the New York Times explains:

A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House this month would leave 14 million more people uninsured next year than under President Barack Obama’s health law — and 23 million more in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Some of the nation’s sickest would pay much more for health care…

…The forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Capitol Hill’s official scorekeeper, is another potential blow to efforts to undo Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Republican senators have said they will make substantial changes to the measure passed by the House, but even Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, sounds uncertain about his chances of finding a majority to repeal and replace the health law.

Oh, and insurance premiums for people older than 65 would rise by more than 800%. None of this made Colorado lawmakers particularly happy. Here’s the front page of today’s Denver Post:

 

 Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) made a candid admission to Politico in a story published today: Congressional Republicans are obliged to bend and twist in order to accommodate the Trump administration.

 

► Attorney General Jeff Sessions apparently lied to investigators when he was being interviewed for his security clearance. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:

The problem here for Sessions — and the Trump administration more broadly — is that the meetings the Attorney General failed to disclose are with the Russian ambassador. Not the ambassador to France or England or literally any other place in the world.

And that means the omissions matter. Because they land amid a federal investigation now being run by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign. And two congressional investigations into the matter. And the firing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn due to his misleading comments about his own conversations with Kislyak. And the Russia ties of former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Carter Page. And Sessions’ own recusal from the federal investigation due to his meetings with Kislyak. And the reports that Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn and the Russians during a Feb. 14 meeting.

 

► Today’s special election for a Congressional seat in Montana was thrown into a tizzy when the Republican candidate literally body-slammed a reporter on WednesdayGreg Pianoforte is being charged with misdemeanor assault on Election Day.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

Gardner says Obama and Trump budgets faced similar opposition in Congress

In a radio appearance this morning, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) compared the opposition to Trump’s proposed budget to challenges faced by “every president’s budget.”

“Like every president’s budget, it is met with significant challenges on Capitol Hill. I think President Obama’s budgets over eight years probably gathered a cumulative handful of votes in support of it, maybe less than 10 votes in eight years,” Gardner told KOA 850-AM’s April Zesbaugh. “Every president puts forward a budget, and then Congress under the Constitution writes the budget and the appropriations bills that we have.”

Gardner praised Trump for increasing military spending and said he’d “keep an eye” on funding for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as “we work to reverse some of the changes the Trump budget made.”

Gardner made no mention of Trump’s budget proposal to cut multiple programs for the poor, including $800 billion from Medicaid, the state-federal health-insurance program for low-income people.

Trump’s budget, which partially funds a U.S.-Mexico border wall, also cuts student loans, food stamps, disability assistance, and more.

The New York Times described the Trump budget as encapsulating “much of the ‘America first’ message that powered Mr. Trump’s campaign.”

Listen to Gardner here:

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 24)

By the time you finish reading this post, George Brauchler will have come up with another position on dealing with Colorado’s budget problems. 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…

► The Congressional Budget Office is expected today to release its score of the latest House Republican version of Trumpcare. As the Washington Post explains, Senate Republicans are about to take the baton of stupid:

The Senate can begin health-care discussions in earnest today when it finally gets an official word from the Congressional Budget Office on how much money there is to work with on an overhaul of President Obama’s health-care law.

Remember that crazy roller-coaster ride a few weeks ago, as the House started and stopped…and stopped and started…and finally gained enough speed to pass its health-care measure (and, I might add, gave reporters the legislative equivalent of motion sickness)? Ever since then, senators have been waiting in line for their own wild ride to start.

But now the cars can start chugging down the tracks, when the CBO releases its anxiously anticipated and final estimate of how much the House’s American Health Care Act would cost and how many people it would cover…

…the Senate needs a CBO score for very practical reasons. Anything it wants to do regarding replacing the ACA hangs on this score. That’s because if Senate Republicans want to pass a health-care bill without any help from Democrats, they must use the budget bill currently housing the House health-care measure. Using the budget measure allows them to pass it with just a simple majority instead of the typical 60-vote threshold.

Here in Colorado, the health care spotlight now turns to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is among the Senate leaders tapped to come up with some sort of health care legislation of its own.

 

“Waffler Brauchler?” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is running for governor, and he’s already flip-flopping in a manner that would make “Both Ways” Bob Beauprez beam with pride. Within the span of 24 hours, Brauchler told the Colorado Independent that he both supported and opposed efforts by the Colorado legislature to re-classify the Hospital Provider Fee.

 

► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is pushing legislation that seeks to end the “revolving door” of politicians becoming lobbyists on Capitol Hill. From the Colorado Statesman:

“This bill puts power back into the hands of the Coloradans I came here to represent,” Bennet said. “By banning members of Congress from lobbying when they leave Capitol Hill, we can begin to restore confidence in our national politics.”

Along with a lifetime ban, the legislation would increase congressional staff restrictions on lobbying from one year to six years, implement a 6-year ban on lobbyists from joining congressional or committee staff that they previously lobbied and create a more accessible website for public reporting of lobbying efforts.

Results of a new poll, meanwhile, show that Americans are not enthusiastic about President Trump’s prospects for “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

Television, Radio Ads Push Gardner to Dump Trumpcare

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is positioned to take a key role as Senate Republicans attempt to craft something plausible out of the steaming pile of crap health care legislation that the House narrowly passed earlier this month. As we noted on Monday, Gardner is saying lots of words about his perspective on Trumpcare (the “American Health Care Act,” or “AHCA”) though most of those words are little more than inane partisan talking points.

While Gardner may be avoiding talking specifics on health care, one local advocacy group is not wasting any time on the issue. The organization “Healthier Colorado” is spending $125,000 on two weeks worth of television and radio ads in an effort to convince Gardner to stay far away from the AHCA. The ads feature Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger delivering a message highlighting the negative effect Trumpcare could have on rural Colorado.

 

According to a press release:

“People across Colorado stand to lose under Trump’s health care plan, but rural communities would be hit the hardest,” said Monger. “I know that Sen. Gardner has stood up for rural Colorado on other issues, so we need to make sure he knows what’s at stake on this one.”

With the Medicaid expansion enacted under the Affordable Care Act, 87,000 rural Coloradans have gained health coverage, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Trump-endorsed American Health Care Act would end this coverage. The proposed Medicaid cuts in the bill would also put the bottom lines of rural hospitals in peril and slash access to addiction treatment at a time when opioid addiction is at crisis level in rural communities. Overall, the cuts would shift $14 billion in costs to the State of Colorado by 2030.

The “Healthier Colorado” ads are well-timed; the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to release a new score on the impact of the AHCA on Wednesday.

Trump thanked for “giving up billionaire lifestyle” to “save the American people”

(With a straight face – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Donald Trump.

The Chaffee County Republicans posted a meme on their Facebook page this week featuring a photo of President Donald with the text, “TRUMP, the man that gave up his billionaire lifestyle to be humiliated and ridiculed and slandered in order to save the American people.”

“It’s good to see Donald Trump tearing down the established Old Guard Republican Party and calling out the Socialists that have hijacked the Democratic Party,” wrote the Chaffee Republicans in a comment above the meme.

Trump has been criticized for numerous actions, such as his request of former FBI director James Comey, whom Trump fired, to drop the FBI investigation of Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who later resigned.

But Trump’s highest profile critics haven’t been accused of slander.

A message left for the Chaffee GOP was not responded to.

The accusation of slander may be connected by the belief by some, like U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, that Trump has been the object of unfair media coverage. Buck stated recently that journalists are “inventing this Russia story.” However, there’s no evidence that Buck has asked journalists to correct their reporting on Russia. And technically, a newspaper would be subject to libel.

However, Trump has endured endless ridicule on late-night TV and elsewhere, with many, including Trump himself, suggesting that NBC’s Stephen Colbert is enjoying a ratings surge due to his skewering of Trump.

The strong support of Trump is a theme on the Chaffee GOP Facebook page. Another post reads:

The hysteria on the hard left should energizes us to stay involved and increase our efforts to take back America from the socialistic influence of the last 8 years!

Socialism is birthed in hatred and greed!

The United States of America is the strongest nation on earth, because it has had a united people, until recently! But we are getting dangerously close to Socialism, because a godless ideology has gained a stronghold in our educational system, the media and Hollywood, those tools are being used to persuade people that America is not great and to promote mistrust and hatred between races, between classes of people and a hatred toward the rule of law!

The goal is to divide America so that it will fail and then the one world crowd, the ruling elite can have full power over the masses! That is not good for our children and grandchildren, in fact it is the worst form of slavery!

George Brauchler Gets Schooled on SEO

For ordinary voters looking for more information about a candidate for office they hear about through word of mouth or see on the news, more often than not the first stop is Google. That’s one of the reasons why smart campaigns pay to make sure their content comes up at the top of search engines, as well as design their sites to be search-engine optimized (SEO). There is a whole industry of companies who specialize in this fine art.

Unfortunately, if you Google GOP gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler’s name, his campaign website is nowhere to be found:

There are a couple of news stories about Brauchler running, and of course Brauchler’s infamous Twitter account–but not Brauchler’s own website. That’s a sure sign that nobody on his team has made it a priority. And trying some other search term combinations, it might not just be his campaign’s incompetence:

(more…)

Michael Dougherty Makes Three for A.G.

Michael Dougherty

As Joey Bunch writes for the Colorado Springs Gazette, Democrats now have three candidates for Attorney General in 2018:

“As attorney general, I will do what I have done for my entire career, fight for what is right,” Dougherty said in a statement. “Our attorney general should share the same values of everyday Coloradans, such as protecting our water, environment and public safety.

“The attorney General has to be above politics and do the right thing for all the people of Colorado. Consumer protection, public safety, and transparency of government are non-partisan issues and I plan to work with people from all across Colorado to make real progress.”

Before joining the DA’s office in Golden, Dougherty ran the criminal justice Section of the Attorney General’s Office, supervising special prosecutions, environmental crimes, financial fraud and the Peace Officer Standards and Training Unit, according to his website.

He also represented the office in hearings and meetings with the legislature. Before taking over the Criminal Justice Section, Before that, he supervised the the Colorado DNA Justice Review Project for the AG’s office.

State Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) and University of Colorado Law Professor Phil Weiser have previously announced their intentions to seek the Democratic nomination for Attorney General in 2018. Incumbent Republican Cynthia Coffman continues to threaten to run for Governor, but she is more likely to run for a second term instead.

The Daily D’oh: Former CIA Chief Drops Anvil on Trump’s Head

There is so much breaking news lately on the ever-widening allegations about Russian ties to the Trump campaign that it can be difficult to keep track of everything. With that in mind, we’ve created what we’re calling “The Daily D’oh!” to help you stay up-to-date on President Trump and the rest of the White House staff as more news emerges about Russia, James ComeyRobert Mueller, special investigations and everything else related to this ongoing crisis…

 

♦ D’OH!
Former CIA Director John Brennan testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee today. From the Washington Post:

Former CIA director John Brennan said Tuesday that he personally warned the head of Russia’s intelligence service last year that Moscow’s interference in the U.S. election would backfire and damage the country’s relationship with the United States.

And here’s the New York Times:

As Russian hackers and propagandists tried to manipulate the American election last year, the C.I.A. noticed a series of suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and associates of Donald J. Trump’s campaign, John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, said Tuesday.

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Brennan described a nerve-fraying few months as American authorities realized that the election was under attack and worried that Mr. Trump’s campaign might be aiding that fight. His remarks were the fullest public account to date of the origins of an F.B.I. investigation that continues to shadow the Trump administration.

“I know what the Russians try to do. They try to suborn individual and try to get individuals, including U.S. individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly,” Mr. Brennan said. When he left office in January, he said, “I had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf.”

Mr. Brennan acknowledged that he did not know whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives and said the contacts might be benign. But his confirmation of those contacts was the latest revelation to undermine Mr. Trump’s changing account of his campaign’s links to Russia.

Gah! Er, D’oh!


♦ D’OH!
As Chris Cillizza outlines for CNN, Trump needs a new narrative on the Russia investigation:

And Brennan isn’t just some guy. He’s not only a former CIA director under the Obama administration, but also someone with decades of experience in the intelligence world.

This is not someone reading the papers or watching TV and making a snap judgment about Trump and the Russians. This is someone who was intimately familiar with the intelligence gathering regarding Russian attempts to meddle in the election. His voice matters more than most.

So when Brennan says the Russian efforts to “suborn” members of the Trump campaign “raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals,” it makes it far more difficult for Trump and his senior aides to dismiss all of the questions about Russia’s involvement in the election as simply a media-created conspiracy.

Here’s the definition of “suborn.”


♦ D’OH!

Michael Flynn, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015

Evidence continues to mount that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn flat-out lied about his ties to foreign governments when he was being vetted for his security clearance. From CNN:

According to the Report of Investigation, which Rep. Elijah Cummings refers to in his letter to committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Flynn made false statements to investigators about who funded his foreign trips, including a 2015 trip to Russia where Flynn was paid roughly $45,000 to speak at an event in Moscow. According to the letter released Monday by Democrats on the committee, Flynn claimed that his trips were funded by “US companies.”

The report stated that Flynn said he “had not received any benefit from a foreign country.”

Flynn also claimed to investigators he had no substantial contacts with foreign government officials, saying he only had “insubstantial contact.”

Flynn was shown sitting next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2015 dinner. [Pols emphasis]


♦ D’OH!
The Senate Intelligence Committee is considering taking stronger action to compel Flynn to cooperate with investigators, as Politico reports:

The Senate Intelligence Committee will likely take new actions Tuesday to force President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn to comply with a subpoena, Chairman Richard Burr said in an interview.

The committee served Flynn with a subpoena to compel him to turn over documents regarding his contacts with Russian officials, but Flynn has asserted his right not to incriminate himself. The committee is mulling compelling him to appear before the panel and perhaps subsequently holding Flynn in contempt of Congress, among other options designed to make him produce the documents.

 

♦ D’OH!
President Trump leaned on top intelligence officials to publicly downplay allegations that his campaign illegally coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election. From the Washington Post:

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.


♦ D’OH!

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain does not like where this story is heading.