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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Gardner promised Obamacare replacement wouldn’t be drafted “behind closed doors”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

During a conference call in February, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner assured worried constituents that they would have plenty of opportunities to weigh in on any legislation to replace Obamacare.

“It’s important to me that this debate be open and that the American people see what’s happening and taking place,” said Gardner. “So Sandy, I think as this committee hearings and legislation is being is drafted, it’s not going to be something behind closed doors, everybody is going to be a part of it. It’s important that we get this right.”

Now, about four months later, the Republican leadership of the U.S. Senate, which includes Gardner himself, has no plans to hold public hearings on their Obamacare replacement legislation, currently being drafted in secret by 13 senators, including Gardner.

As U.S. Senate President Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained this week after invoking a rule that would move the health-care bill to a full Senate vote with little or no chance for amendments:

“We’ve been dealing with this issue for seven years. It’s not a new thing,” McConnell said, arguing that there was little new left to be discussed in a public forum.

“Nobody’s hiding the ball here,” he said. “You’re free to ask anybody anything. But there have been gazillions of hearings on this subject, when they were in the majority, when we were in the majority. We understand this issue pretty well and we’re now working on coming up with a solution.”

Despite his previous promises, Gardner hasn’t objected to the secrecy–and it doesn’t appear that reporters have asked him about it.

But U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has objected, saying she “has a problem with it” and the secrecy is “just not a good way to handle something that is as significant and important as health care.”

In fact, Gardner has said very little of substance about the senate bill. But based on what he has said, he’s apparently not fighting to keep 400,000 Coloradans on the Obamacare health insurance rolls but instead is advocating for throwing them off slowly, in a “glide path.”

Gardner is doubling down on hypocrisy here, because he’s been apoplectic for years over what he says was Democrats’ failure to offer sufficient public input into the formulation of Obamacare, even though, in 2009 with Democrats in control, the full U.S. Senate debated the Obamacare bill for 25 straight days, the Senate Health Committee held 60 hours of public hearings, and the Senate Finance Committee considered 130 amendments and held 79 roll-call votes.

“This President [Obama] has claimed to be one of the most transparent in history, yet his health care overhaul was passed behind closed doors and ended up cutting $500 billion from Medicare,” Gardner said in 2013. “The American people deserve better than that.”

And Gardner repeated this false accusation just three months ago on KNUS 710-AM.

“This is an idea [the Obamacare replacement] that will go through regular order, through committees, and have an opportunity to be openly debated and talked about — something that is completely different than what happened six years ago when the Affordable Care Act was written behind closed doors and the leadership offices, and then crammed down on the Senate floor directly,” Gardner told KNUS 710-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger. “So, this is something that is going to go through an open process — regular order.”

Gardner is in a good position to influence the senate’s health-care bill, not only due to his Senate leadership role but also as a member of the committee of 13 senators selected by McConnell that’s drafting the senate’s Obamacare replacement in secret. Gardner was among a group of senators who had lunch with Trump Tuesday to discuss the legislation.

Gardner continued to keep his cards close to his chest this week, saying he’s not seen any text of the bill and not offering any details.

It appears that Senate Republicans plan to send their legislation to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for a “score.” A quick vote by the House Republicans last month came before the CBO analysis, which later showed that 14 million more people uninsured next year and 12 million more within 10 years.

On conservative talk radio in March, Gardner suggested that the dismantlement of Obamacare should begin without a CBO analysis, thus avoiding public outcry over the prospect of so many people losing health insurance.

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Gardner Wants To End, Not Protect, Insurance Coverage For 400,000 Coloradans

(Words mean things – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Back in March, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner joined fellow Republican Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, in stating that “we will not support a [Obamacare replacement] plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states.”

Since then, Portman and Capito have added a measure of definition to this vague statement by endorsing a seven-year phaseout of Obama’s Medicaid expansion, which provided over 400,00 Coloradans with health insurance. Portman called it a “glide path” that would gradually reduce federal Medicaid funding to the states beginning in 2020.

But Murkowski and Gardner are refusing to discuss their current thinking on the Medicaid expansion. The Hill asked Murkowski twice last week if she’d agree to a gradual phaseout, and she declined to say.

In May, Gardner declined to answer a direct question from The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews about whether he supports the plan, in the Obamacare replacement bill passed by the House, to begin the Medicaid-expansion phaseout in 2020.

But Gardner did tell Matthews,“We need to have a glide path that works for the states.”

In the absence of more details from Gardner, journalists are on solid ground reporting that Gardner is on board with ending the Obamacare Medicaid program that covers over 400,000 Coloradans. The only question is the time frame, the number of years in the glide path.

And journalists are also completely justified in reporting that Gardner’s phaseout doesn’t square Gardner’s promise to defend the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, as stated in the The Denver Post’s March 6 article headlined, “Sen. Cory Gardner defends Medicaid expansion as GOP reveals Obamacare replacement.”

During the 2014 campaign, and ever since the first Ryan budget introduced a partial privatization of Medicare, the often repeated message from Gardner was that making dramatic cuts to health programs was a way to protect them for future generations.

Now Gardner is talking about a “glide path.”

These sort of policy justifications can make sense within their own inverted logic, but the plain meaning of the words are likely lost on the average voter. Journalists have the burden of making sure the facts are presented alongside the spin.

“I want to be a ‘person of interest,'” writes Colorado Trump official

(Career aspirations! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: Former Colorado Trump Campaign staffer Dede Laugesen replied to my request for clarification of her Facebook post below: “Facebook is a place of friendly comments and such, and I was just making an off-the-cuff remark about what it must be like to be a celebrity like Nigil Farage,” said Laugesen. “That’s all.”

——

At this point, you’d think no one in the Trump campaign is running around saying, “I want to be a ‘person of interest.'”

But wait, there is such a person, and her name is Dede Laugesen, the Trump Campaign’s Colorado Coalitions Director.

She’s been on Facebook promoting the June 17 appearance in Colorado of Nigel Farage, the Brexit leader who’s reportedly a “person of interest” in FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling in the last election.

In one post promoting Farage, obtained from a source,  Laugesen wrote, “I want to be a ‘person of interest’! That’s why I’m going to learn from the master himself. Nigel Farage visits Colorado June 17.”

Laguesen did not return a call seeking clarification, so I’m forced to speculate here, but if Laugesen is joking, it symbolizes the extent to which the Trump campaign itself isn’t taking the FBI investigation–or the attack by Russia on our elections–seriously.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) showed the same indifference when he recently told a conservative radio station that journalists are “inventing this Russia story.” So did U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) when he suggested in February that the FBI should be investigated for Russia-related leaks.

If it’s not a joke, then you wonder if Laugesen knows why Farage is reportedly a person of interest. After all, she says she wants to learn from him. I mean, Laugesen was Trump’s Colorado coalitions director. Did the coalition include Russia?

That’s a serious question for a Trump official who’s telling the world she wants to be a person of interest in the FBI’s investigation of the president’s election campaign. I’m sorry, this is not a joking matter.

What you can do to fight back this week (June 12)

In Colorado the state of the resistance is strong.

On Saturday, hundreds of Coloradans from all walks of life came together at Denver’s Shorter AME Community Church for the Resist Forward Summit. The event brought together some our state’s communities of color, LGBTQ and women’s advocates, immigrant rights supporters, environmentalists, leaders in the faith community, and newly activated groups to discuss meaningful resistance work in response to Trump and the far-right agenda in Washington.

The result was an invaluable day of learning and collaboration. Members of our community who don’t talk to each other enough sat down and learned about our shared priorities and values. The partnerships forged this weekend at the Resist Forward Summit will take the resistance in Colorado to the next level, and help ensure that everyone in this fight has a voice.

And there’s no time to lose. This week in Washington, Sen. Cory Gardner and the Republican-controlled Congress are trying once again to repeal health reform and take away coverage from millions of Americans. Despite even Fox News polls showing fewer than 20% of Americans in support of the latest health repeal bill, Gardner is determined to pass it no matter what.

Priority #1 this week: Call Cory Gardner at (202) 224-5941 and tell him to stop trying to take away health coverage from thousands of Coloradans. Gardner may publicly dismiss you as “paid protesters,” but his staff pays attention to the calls. We have to keep the pressure on every time to make sure Gardner knows he can’t get away with this.

Once you’re done, check out more ways to take action for the week of June 12th:


Postcard Huddle!

Join COS CAN and 350 Colorado Springs at the Ivywild School while we write postcards to our representatives! Our focus will be the most important one there is, the environment! We’ll write to everyone from Trump to Gardner to Mayor Suthers no one is off limits in the fight for mother earth. We will also have a petition for everyone to sign demanding Mayor Suthers commits to lowering emissions in our city. We have plenty of postcards thanks to the many people that have been donating, all you need to bring is yourself and some money for food if you desire! Postcard stamp donations are always appreciated but not required! Thank you!

Where: The Principal’s Office, 1604 S Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs
When: Monday, June 12 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Orlando United Event: 1 Year Anniversary of the Pulse Tragedy

On the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, it is time to bring the community together in love and remembrance. Since the tragedy, the strength of the LGBTQ+ and ally community has grown. It is more important now than ever to continue to come together. Join us for an evening of support, reflection and love as we honor the 49 victims. There will be song, speakers and most importantly a community of individuals committed to love and kindness. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude with a candlelight vigil.

Where: Cheesman Park, Denver
When: Monday, June 12 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Showing Up For Racial Justice Fort Collins General Membership Meeting

We are excited to see you at our next general membership meeting. For those who are returning, we are excited to see you again. If this is your first time, we look forward to meeting you and welcoming you into SURJ. If it is your first meeting, please try to attend 15 minutes early so we can meet you, get to know you, and give you a little background of SURJ Fort Collins before we begin the meeting.

Where: FoCo Cafe, 225 Maple St, Fort Collins
When: Monday, June 12 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Pay your respects to the end of health care

Healthcare repeal is bad for Colorado. 271, 500 Coloradans will lose their plan under the GOP backed bill. March with us, tell Cory Gardner his agenda is a death sentence for Colorado. Hosted by SEIU Local 105.

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 101 E 14th Ave, Denver
When: Tuesday, June 13 at 10:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado People’s Alliance 2nd Annual The People’s Party

COPA has been hard at work resisting the attacks from the current administration and working for our vision for Colorado – join us and help us raise the much needed funds we need to continue our work. We need your support to continue our resistence but also to move our vision forward for a Colorado that is welcoming to all regardless of their immigration status or background, a Colorado that protects our air and water rather than corporate intersts, an economy that works for all and not just the wealthy few, and to work to change our Criminal in-justice system into a criminal justice system that sees people as people and not as an object or dollar sign.

Where: City Park Pavilion 1700 N. York St., Denver
When: Wednesday, June 14 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Local Environmental Activism Night

Join us at Shine Restaurant and Gathering place to take action in support of local and national environmental conservation issues! Especially now, with every indication our national government has no interest in conservationism, it is the time to take grassroots, local action on climate change and land conservation.

Where: Shine Restaurant & Gathering Place, 2027 13th St, Boulder
When: Wednesday, June 14 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Orbis Salon: Activism and Social Change

Join us for the next Orbis Salon where we’ll be taking a critical look at activism and social change – we’ll discuss what it is, what works, and what feels like it works but really doesn’t. Our conversation for the evening will be guided by a central question: What is a more effective strategy – trying to change the existing system within its confines or creating an alternative system entirely? The evening will start out with an interactive voting activity, then we’ll have a panel discussion with local and international change-makers. We’ll close out the evening by breaking out into small discussion groups with our panelists.

Where: Orbis Institute, 1818 Gaylord St., Denver
When: Wednesday, June 14 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Mourning the Death of Public Education in Denver

Join Our Denver, Our Schools, Indivisible Colorado Education Team, parents, teachers, community members and other collaborating organizations in protest of DPS policies surrounding school closures. We will mourn the closure of schools and stand in protest of more closures to come this coming school year.

Where: 1860 Lincoln St, Denver
When: Thursday, June 15 at 4:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado Pride Kickoff and Sign Making Party

Come join One Colorado and help us get ready for Denver Pride this summer! This will be a great opportunity to hang out, enjoy the June weather and help us make some great signs for the Denver Pride Parade on Sunday, June 18th.

Where: 10 Barrel Brewing Company, 2620 Walnut Street, Denver
When: Thursday, June 15 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Proceed without caution: individual resistance might work in a pinch, but how can we create solidarity? “If you agree with everyone in your coalition, you’re not in a coalition.” Hosted by Warm Cookies of the Revolution.

Where: McNichols Building, 144 W. Colfax, Denver
When: Thursday, June 15 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Sit-in at Sen. Gardner’s office: Save the Affordable Care Act

Senate Republicans just announced they’ll vote on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act by the end of June. That means we have just two weeks to save the Affordable Care Act – or 23 million people will lose health insurance, and the rest of us will return to the days of junk plans that aren’t there for us when we need them. To protest, we’re staging a sit-in at Senator Gardner’s Denver office. We plan to show up and refuse to leave until Senator Gardner commits to voting ‘No’. We need to make sure he knows that if he votes to take away the Affordable Care Act, his days as a Colorado senator are numbered – and massive outrage in the form of a sit-in at his local office will do just that.

Where: Sen. Cory Gardner’s office, 1125 17th St, Denver
When: Friday, June 16 at 2:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Denver Pride Fest

Produced by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of Colorado (The Center), Denver PrideFest is now the third largest pride festival, and seventh largest pride parade in the United States, drawing 375,000 guests annually. Denver PrideFest takes place annually in June in downtown Civic Center Park. PrideFest features the CoorsLight PrideFest Parade, a Dance Stage with DJs, a Latin Stage with cultural programming, and the Center Stage with live entertainment, and plenty of celebrating both days. The festival also features more than 250 vendor booths with arts, crafts, food and more. We provide a VIP area with food and drinks for sponsors and contributors to enjoy, and there’s also a family area, youth alley, and a transgender resource area.

Where: Denver’s Civic Center Park
When: Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18

Click here to RSVP.


March with One Colorado at Denver Pridefest!

It’s Pride Season! Come celebrate the fun and sun with us! We will provide a light breakfast! We’re excited to see you there!

Where: Cheesman Park, Denver
When: Sunday, June 18 at 8:30am

Click here to RSVP.


March with Labor in the Denver LGBT Pride Parade!

Organized labor will once gain be marching in Denver’s LGBT Pride Parade. We will line up starting at 8:30a in Cheesman Park. All supporters of LGBT rights and economic justice are welcome to march with us, whether gay or straight, union member or no! Our theme this year will be “RESIST with PRIDE” , and it looks like our contingent will be bigger & better than ever before! If you are a union member, feel free to wear your union colors/ gear.

Where: Cheesman Park, Denver
When: Sunday, June 18 at 8:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Thanks again for everything you’re doing to fight back, this week and every week. As always, watch your email for breaking news and updates as they happen.

We’ll see you at the Pride march!

Donald Trump is the Greatest President in the History of History

President Donald Trump.

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, the White House just keeps getting weirder, and weirder, and weirder…

Donald Trump did something very different in his Cabinet meeting Monday.

First, he reviewed the various alleged successes of his first 143 days and made this remarkable claim: “Never has there been a president….with few exceptions…who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than I have.” [Pols emphasis]

Um, ok.  While Trump has signed a number of executive orders and actions — the most high profile of which, the so-called “travel ban” was, again, blocked by a court on Monday — what he hasn’t really done is pass actual legislation through Congress. The health care bill is tied up in Senate machinations. Tax reform hasn’t moved an inch. Funding for the border wall hasn’t happened. And so on…

…But, that wasn’t even close to the weirdest part of the Cabinet meeting!

Once Trump finished touting his administration’s accomplishments, he turned to several of his newly-minted Cabinet secretaries like Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Each of those Cabinet secretaries lavished praise on Trump, which he accepted without comment but with a broad smile.

At first, I thought Trump was just going to have the new members of the Cabinet spend a few minutes praising him. NOPE!  It soon became clear that Trump planned to have every Cabinet member speak. And when I say “speak” what I really mean is “praise Trump for his accomplishments, his foresight, his just being awesome.”

Cillizza quotes White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus as saying the following about President Trump: “We thank you for the opportunity and blessing to serve your agenda.”

This is probably going to get worse before it gets anywhere close to better. If you are a member of Trump’s cabinet or senior staff, how do you look yourself in the mirror?

Watch out for the “Proud Boys” and other violent racists today

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At the State Capitol now (Saturday, July 10, 2017) at 4 pm. Antifa counterprotesters at the bottom of the hill, #marchagainstsharia protesters at the top, marshalls in between. Via twitter, Anna V Smith, High Country News.

From Unicorn Riot, (@UR_ninja)  pictures of the Proud Boys and others ready to spread hate and fear today:

From Unicorn Riot, photos of Proud Boys, neo-nazis, and other racists at the Capitol today.

Proud Boys, a white supremacist, violent organization of young males , had a rally in Boulder on June 3, 2017, and plan another “Anti-Sharia March” in Denver at the Capitol from 3:30 – 6 pm on Saturday, July 10. EDIT: The Anti-Sharia Marches are organized by ACT for America, (Facebook link here) .  These anti-Sharia Marches are in 19 cities nationwide. A wide coalition of racist, violent, anti-Muslim groups are attending, including ACTforamerica, the ProudBoys, the Oathkeepers, and the Threepercenters (shown below in Atlanta).  The Southern Poverty Law Center is live-blogging them. You can follow the hashtag #hatewatch or #CounterActHate.

Proud Boys in Boulder June 3, 2017

Proud Boys, Boulder 6/3/17
Attribution: Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer, Boulder Daily Camera

On June 3, in Boulder, a dozen or so of  the “Boys” demonstrated at the Boulder courthouse, behind police barricades. They were met by about 250 counter-protesters, including some “AntiFa” (Antifascists) dressed in black, with black kerchiefs covering their faces. At some point during the counter-protest, someone threw firecrackers at the Proud Boys, and one of the counter-demonstrators was arrested.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (June 9)

The President is not a liar.” Welcome to the history books, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. 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…

► Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the fate of the free world, finally responded to FBI Director James Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. As the Washington Post explains:

President Trump broke his public silence Friday morning on former FBI director James B. Comey’s testimony to Congress in the Russia probe, accusing him in a tweet of lying under oath and calling him a “leaker.”

A day after he had allowed surrogates to respond for him, Trump took to Twitter to attack Comey directly, writing: “Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication … and WOW, Comey is a leaker!”

Trump’s statement came as surrogates fanned out to defend the president and his personal lawyer was preparing to file a “complaint” early next week over Comey’s testimony to the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s Office and the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a person close to the legal team.

A spokesman for the Justice Department Inspector General declined to comment on the matter, which was first reported by Fox News and CNN.

Trump’s personal lawyer is preparing to file a “complaint,” eh? Nothing screams innocence like a strongly-worded letter. There will be exclamation points!!!

And what about other high-profile Republicans? Incredibly, they appear to be sticking by Trump’s side.

 

► President Trump will take a few questions from reporters today — theoretically, anyway — when he holds a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohanni at the White House. Chris Cillizza of CNN has a list of eight questions he’d love to ask Trump. One of the biggest questions on that list is whether or not there are audiotapes of Trump’s Oval Office discussion with Comey. The former FBI Director certainly hopes they exist.

 

► Colorado politicos reacted to the Comey hearings along largely partisan lines, though Senators Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) agreed on the need for further investigations into Trump’s Russian ties. The three Colorado Democrats running for Attorney General also weighed in on the story.

Elsewhere, the Colorado Independent takes a look at how Colorado media outlets reported on Comey’s testimony.

 

► Voters in the United Kingdom dealt a serious blow to Prime Minister Theresa May and her Conservative Party on Thursday. May’s decision last month to call a snap election backfired bigly, as The Guardian explains:

Jeremy Corbyn said the face of British politics had changed and called on Theresa May to resign after her snap general election left Britain with a hung parliament 11 days before Brexit talks begin.

Speaking as he was returned as MP for Islington North, the Labour leader declared: “Politics has changed. Politics isn’t going back into the box where it was before. What’s happened is people have said they’ve had quite enough of austerity politics.”

Corbyn said May had called the election to assert her authority. “She wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that is enough for her to go.”

The Conservative leader appeared crushed as she accepted her victory in the constituency of Maidenhead with a shaky speech in which she repeated her resolve to provide the stability the country needed before Brexit talks.

Heavy losses by Conservative candidates left May without a true majority in Parliament, forcing the Conservative leader into a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party to maintain her tenuous hold on the top job in England. The New York Times has more coverage on the U.K. election results and what it means for the United States.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

Colorado Week in Review: 6/9/17

Get More Smarter on Thursday (June 8)

Slow news day, eh? Well, except for that Comey thing. It’s time to Get More Smarter! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Former FBI Director James Comey testified today in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee about President Trump and allegations of illegal ties to Russia. There’s no shortage of coverage on Comey’s testimony online and in the media, but here’s one take from the Washington Post:

Former FBI director James B. Comey on Thursday essentially laid out an obstruction of justice case against President Trump and suggested senior leaders in the bureau might have actually contemplated the matter before Trump removed him as director.

Comey did not explicitly draw any legal conclusions. Whether justice was obstructed, he said, was a question for recently appointed special counsel Robert Mueller. But he said Trump’s request to terminate the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn left him “stunned,” and senior FBI officials considered it to be of “investigative interest.”…

…Legal analysts have said previously that there was reason to believe Trump might have obstructed justice — both in asking him to shut down the probe into Flynn and then, later, in firing Comey. Comey’s testimony, they said Thursday, clarified and bolstered the case.

Comey testified that he was skeptical of Trump almost from the outset, and he decided to document their interactions because he was “concerned [Trump] might lie about the nature of our meeting.”

This really no sugarcoating Comey’s testimony if you are a Trump ally — this was even more brutal for the President than anyone might have expected. For more on Comeypalooza, here’s another good summary from the Washington Post. More thoughtful analysis is available via CNN and the New York Times. To subject yourself to the entire transcript of Comey’s testimony — which lasted nearly three hours — Politico has you covered.

Locally, the editorial board of the Denver Post didn’t wait long to weigh in on the Comey testimony:

Even if Trump isn’t implicated in colluding with the Russians, even if none of his campaign staffers are found guilty, Comey’s sworn testimony and the known facts about his firing cripple the president’s credibility.

 

► How is the White House reacting to Comey’s testimony? It has been reported that Trump is apoplectic about the entire Russian “cloud” hanging over his presidency, but we haven’t yet heard from the President himself.

Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, is peddling some nonsense about how this actually benefits Trump. Conservative media are also trying hard to make the case that Comey’s testimony somehow clears Trump of wrongdoing, or something. From NBC News:

In the aftermath of former FBI Director James Comey’s highly-anticipated testimony, President Donald Trump’s outside counsel says the president feels “vindicated” and ready to move forward with his agenda for the country.

Marc Kasowitz maintained Thursday in a statement to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. that Trump never asked Comey for his loyalty, contradicting a key part of the ousted FBI director’s testimony. President Trump’s personal lawyer took no questions and departed the room after delivering the short statement in support of the White House.

“The president also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,’ in form or substance,” Kasowitz told reporters.

The White House appears to be trying to deflect Comey’s testimony by hoping to paint the former FBI Director as “one of these leakers.”

 

► According to new poll results from Quinnipiac University, President Trump’s approval ratings have dropped to a new low. Again.

 

► Polls are open in the United Kingdom in what has become a bitter general election campaign. Prime Minister Theresa May is nonetheless expected to maintain control once the votes are counted.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

State senator alleges that local chamber “refused” to read his statement at annual breakfast

scott on gj chamber

Jon Caldara’s sniffling Denver Post op-ed last month, decrying fellow Republicans who voted to save rural hospitals via a budget maneuver, prompted ColoradoPols to write a post headlined, “World’s smallest violin plays for legislative loser Jon Caldara.”

But, in case you missed it, Caldara took heat from fellow Republicans too, such as State Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa), who wrote a letter to The Post in response to Caldara, who heads up the conservative/libertarian Independence Institute.

Crowder pointed out that doing nothing would have resulted in “demise and closure of a vast number of these rural hospitals.”

Crowder took issue with Caldara for thanking Republicans who voted against the measure, which reclassified the “hosptital provider fee” as a business under TABOR.

Caldara: Let me thank the courageous Republican senators who stood up to leadership and the pressure cooker of the takings coalition and voted no: John Cooke, Chris Holbert, Kent Lambert, Kevin Lundberg, Vicki Marble, Beth Martinez-Humenik, Tim Neville, Ray Scott and Jim Smallwood. Heroes all.

Crowder: The lawmakers Jon Caldara thanked for voting against the bill all happen to represent metropolitan areas, where hospitals are big business. But that isn’t true for rural hospitals, many of which are just trying to stay open. Closure of these facilities would mean real hardship for rural Colorado.

But Republican state senators who voted against the reclassification of the HPF were doing more than rejecting the painful cries from rural hospitals.

They were turning their backs on pretty much the entire business community, with deep ties to Republicans, which stood together in favor of the HPF reclassification. Recall this list of biz groups that backed the HPF reclassification last year.

So, it’s no surprise that State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), is apparently a persona non grata at the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce these days.

In a recent Facebook post, Scott wrote that the GJ Chamber “refused” to read his statement at their annual breakfast because, Scott wrote, he’s “chopped liver or they wanted to see how many would notice.”

Scott posted his rejected statement, which stated that “cities and counties put immense pressure on legislators to help fulfill their budget demands especially in the 44 counties that are distressed as Mesa County is. It was so hard to say no to many times but the reality is the state budget has been a runaway train for 12 years are we are tasked with holding the line.”

Scott, who was unable to attend the Grand Junction Chamber’s event, went on to blame Democrats for the budget problem, but he didn’t mention that some of his fellow Republicans, like Crowder, inched toward a solution. While Scott’s success was getting thanked by Caldara in The Denver Post.

Daily D’oh: Comey’s Senate Testimony Will be BRUTAL for Trump

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!
There are plenty of “D’oh!” moments to discuss today, but nothing bigger than an early preview of remarks that FBI Director James Comey will make on Thursday when he testifies in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on President Trump and his Russian problem. From the New York Times:

The former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, plans to testify on Thursday that President Trump repeatedly pressured him to publicly announce that he was not personally under federal investigation in connection with the Justice Department inquiry into Russian meddling in last year’s election.

Mr. Comey will say that he told Mr. Trump on at least one occasion in January that he was not under investigation at that time. Mr. Comey has said that investigators are looking into possible links between associates of Mr. Trump and the Russian election interference.

Mr. Trump, in a previously undisclosed phone call on March 30, also asked Mr. Comey what could be done to “lift the cloud” over Mr. Trump from the investigation, according to remarks written by Mr. Comey and published Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee, before which he will appear. During the call, the president told Mr. Comey that the Russia investigation was hurting his ability to govern.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has published online a “Statement for the Record” from Comey prior to Thursday’s hearings. You can read the full seven-page document yourself, or check out some of the highlights we pulled after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 7)

Prince Day?” WTF? 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…

► We’re just one day away from Comey-mania on Capitol Hill, and President Trump is doing his damnedest to distract from the upcoming testimony from former FBI Director James Comey. As CNN reports:

In short: Donald Trump has spent his whole life manipulating his image through the news and TV.  Which brings me to Trump’s Wednesdaymorning tweet that he had selected Christopher Wray to succeed deposed director James Comey at the FBI.

It is impossible to see the move as anything other than Trump throwing some chum to the news gods — and some news that tells a much more positive story for this White House than the testimony expected later today from deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and, especially, from Comey on Thursday.

Trump knows that the next 48 hours are going to be very, very rough for him. No matter how confident he acts publicly about the Comey testimony — “I wish him luck,” Trump said on Tuesday when asked about it — Trump has to be worried about the prospect of the former FBI director directly contradicting the idea that he reassured the president that Trump was not under investigation.

 

► As for that aforementioned piece of chum, Trump has apparently found someone who is actually willing to submit to the confirmation process for becoming the next FBI Chief. From the Washington Post:

President Trump announced Wednesday that he would nominate Christopher A. Wray — a white-collar criminal defense attorney who led the Justice Department’s Criminal Division during the George W. Bush administration — to serve as the next FBI director…

…Wray, now a partner at King & Spalding, led the Justice Department’s Criminal Division from 2003 to 2005, and his firm biography says that he “helped lead the Department’s efforts to address the wave of corporate fraud scandals and restore integrity to U.S. financial markets.” He oversaw the president’s corporate fraud task force and oversaw the Enron Task Force. Before that, he worked in a variety of other Justice Department roles, including as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta.

Trump announced Wray’s nomination via Twitter, of course. Twitter is the same medium that White House staffers insisted days ago should not be cited as official Trump policy news.

Also, if there is a worse job right now than “FBI Director,” you’d be hard-pressed to make that argument.

 

► They aren’t getting the same headlines that James Comey is getting, but some top intelligence officials are testifying today in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee about Trump’s Russian connections. Politico highlights some of the key moments from today’s testimonials, featuring Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The New York Times is also providing live updates on today’s hearings.

 

► Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be the next big name in the Trump administration to nab a spot under the bus. As the New York Times reported on Tuesday:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered to resign in recent weeks as he told President Trump he needed the freedom to do his job, according to two people who were briefed on the discussion.

The president turned down the offer, but on Tuesday, the White House declined to say whether Mr. Trump still had confidence in his attorney general.

“I have not had that discussion with him,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, told reporters, responding to questions about whether the president had soured on Mr. Sessions.

Mr. Spicer’s remarks came after The New York Times reported that Mr. Trump had vented intermittently about Mr. Sessions since the attorney general recused himself from any Russia-related investigations conducted by the Justice Department. Mr. Trump has fumed to allies and advisers ever since, suggesting that Mr. Sessions’s decision was needless.

If recent history is any indication, Sessions is probably a goner. The White House operates under the “law of the jungle,” and by showing weakness to the head of the pack (Trump, if you’re still following this tortured analogy), Sessions probably sealed his fate.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

What’s on George Brauchler’s “Busy” Calendar, You Ask?

UPDATE: Looks like Team Brauchler fixed the “busy” problem. This is the second time we’ve done troubleshooting for Brauchler’s web presence, and we need to re-evaluate lest we be accused of making an in-kind donation. Lots of competent web talent out there…they just don’t work for George Brauchler.

—–

If you visit the website of Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler–which appears to be somewhat easier to find via Google now after spending some cash to loosen his opponents’ grip on his own name in search queries–one of the top-level menu selections for visitors is Brauchler’s Google calendar. When we first ran across this calendar, we had every intention of complimenting Brauchler for being so up-front about disclosing his schedule as a candidate for the state’s highest office.

That is, until we looked at it:

For a relatively unknown candidate running in a crowded primary against well-funded challengers, George Brauchler has an awful lot of free time on his calendar, don’t you think? For example, he appears to have nothing whatsoever scheduled for this week. But that’s not the weirdest part: from what we can see, the events present on Brauchler’s calendar aren’t identified in any way except for a one-word description: “busy.”

Don’t get us wrong–we’re glad that Brauchler is at least occasionally busy! But why on earth would you go through the trouble of publicly embedding your calendar on your campaign website if there is no useful information in it? It’s more than just a waste of website space, it’s a waste of your site visitors’ time. And it’s the kind of avoidable amateur thoughtlessness that invites basic questions about one’s competency as a candidate.

Our advice to Brauchler: find some stuff to do. Add some descriptions to the stuff you’re doing.

That, or take your Google calendar offline. Because this doesn’t make you look good.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (June 6)

Do not cuddle up with your chickens. 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 is…ugh. From the New York Times:

President Trump thrust himself into a bitter Persian Gulf dispute on Tuesday, claiming credit for Saudi Arabia’s move to isolate its smaller neighbor, Qatar, which is a major American military partner.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” Mr. Trump said in a morning post on Twitter. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!”

On Monday, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen broke diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar, citing its support for terrorist groups. Mr. Trump, who made the cutting of terrorist funding a centerpiece of his trip to Saudi Arabia in May, said he was responsible…

…Mr. Trump’s Twitter messages also appeared to contradict that of the American ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, who tweeted earlier in the week that Qatar had made “great progress” in curbing financial support for terrorists. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been previously accused of support for extremist militants.

At the Pentagon, some Defense Department officials said they were taken aback by Mr. Trump’s decision to thrust the United States into the middle of a fight with its close partners, particularly given the American military’s deep ties to Qatar.

We can’t even…

 

 If the Super Bowl and Election Day were held at the same time, it might approximate the level of coverage you can expect to see on Thursday when former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee. All of the major television networks will cover the Comey hearings LIVE, and you can be sure that there will be many hours worth of follow-up news coverage throughout the rest of the day. Corey’s testimony is scheduled to begin at 8:00 am (MST) on Thursday.

 

► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) will have dinner tonight at the White House with “Two Scoops” Trump. From the Denver Post:

President Donald Trump plans to discuss foreign policy — including his first overseas trip as chief executive — during a Tuesday night dinner at the White House with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado and five other congressional Republicans…

…The dinner also could provide a platform for Gardner to talk about his own overseas travels, including a controversial meeting with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte that Gardner said last week included a discussion of Duterte’s brutal crackdown on drug dealers and users that’s left thousands dead. Trump has praised that bloody approach and has invited Duterte to the White House in the future.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall for this dinner meeting…So, Cory, how about that Duterte fellow?

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…