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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Most political eyes in Colorado today are focused on the State Legislature, where the House is debating a measure to expel Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) one day after Republican lawmakers tried (unsuccessfully) to delay the process. Here’s more on today’s events from the Denver Post.
► Chaos. From CNN:
The chaos and bombast that have driven President Donald Trump’s White House into its deepest crisis yet just burst America’s borders.
Trump’s sudden announcement Thursday of punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, after a typically disorganized and opaque rollout, left much of the world feeling the whiplash that has rocked Washington all week…
…Given the on-again-off-again nature of Thursday’s announcement and subsequent lack of details, there was more than a suspicion that the trade move had been fast-tracked to distract from a disastrous week.
A feud between Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the resignation of his confidante Hope Hicks, successive political blows to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and signs of multiple lines of inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller leading deep into the President’s inner circle mean Trump has plenty of incentive to try to change the subject.
According to NBC News, Trump’s “trade war” declaration came out of a dark place:
According to two officials, Trump’s decision to launch a potential trade war was born out of anger at other simmering issues and the result of a broken internal process that has failed to deliver him consensus views that represent the best advice of his team.
On Wednesday evening, the president became “unglued,” in the words of one official familiar with the president’s state of mind.
Trump mad! Trump impose tariffs!
► As the Washington Post explains, the White House was still struggling on Friday to defend Trump’s “trade war”:
President Trump on Friday declared a global trade war and said it would be “easy to win,” promising to hammer “reciprocal taxes” on any country that charges tariffs on U.S. goods and services.
His threats, made in a series of Twitter posts, looked to escalate his new protectionist policies far beyond the steel and aluminum tariffs he said he would impose next week. Instead, he vowed to impose trade restrictions on any country that he felt had an unfair trade relationship with the United States, following through on nationalist threats that many aides had spent more than one year trying to contain.
Over the past 24 hours, Trump has drawn the blueprints for the more restrictionist U.S. trade policy in roughly 100 years. The White House has provided no information or details about how these trade practices would go into effect. Instead, they’ve been sketched out in rough terms in off-the-cuff remarks after a meeting with steel and aluminum executives and in a series of social media posts that many trade experts said grossly misrepresented how trade works. [Pols emphasis]
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► As the Washington Post explains, things are looking grim for the “first son-in-law”:
Once the prince of Trump’s Washington, Kushner is now stripped of his access to the nation’s deepest secrets, isolated and badly weakened inside the administration, under scrutiny for his mixing of business and government work and facing the possibility of grave legal peril in the Russia probe.
Kushner’s tensions with chief of staff John F. Kelly have spilled into public view, while other dormant rivalries have resurfaced. Some colleagues privately mock Kushner as a shadow of his former self; one official likened the work of his Office of American Innovation to headlines in “The Onion,” the satirical news website. Others said fear of the Russia probe has made some officials wary of interacting with Kushner on sensitive matters. And his reputation as an interlocutor for foreign governments has been undermined by the lowering of his security clearance level, which generated embarrassing headlines worldwide…
…But privately, the president has reiterated his long-standing concerns. He was angry that Kushner — and, by extension, daughter Ivanka — were in his view being dishonestly maligned. But he also mused this week that everything might be better for them if they simply gave up their government jobs and returned to New York, according to a White House official who has discussed it with him.
► Democrat Jason Crow picks up the endorsement of NARAL in his bid to unseat Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).
► Check out this long story from 5280 on Colorado Christian University and its aggressive political leanings.
► Politico reports on a trove of new radio interviews from Oklahoma that essentially show Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt to be a complete lunatic:
Pruitt dismissed evolution as an unproven theory, lamented that “minority religions” were pushing Christianity out of “the public square” and advocated amending the Constitution to ban abortion, prohibit same-sex marriage and protect the Pledge of Allegiance and the Ten Commandments, according to a newly unearthed series of Oklahoma talk radio shows from 2005.
Pruitt, who at the time was a state senator, also described the Second Amendment as divinely granted and condemned federal judges as a “judicial monarchy” that is “the most grievous threat that we have today.” And he did not object when the program’s host described Islam as “not so much a religion as it is a terrorist organization in many instances.”…
…The views he states, in discussions peppered with references to inalienable rights and the faith of the nation’s founders, are in line with those of millions of other conservative, devout Christians. But they also show stances that at times are at odds with the broader American mainstream, and in some cases with accepted scientific findings — an issue that has more recently come up with his skepticism about the science behind climate change.
► Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman will not allow Colorado to join 18 other states in opposing a proposal from President Trump to dismantle the Clean Power Plan.
► Republican George Brauchler, a candidate for Attorney General, just can’t stop sticking his foot into his mouth.
► The Greeley Tribune reports on the “fear, hope, and uncertainty” for DACA students at the University of Northern Colorado.
► Money seems to be flooding into the Democrat running in a special election for Congress in Pennsylvania. From Politico:
Democrat Conor Lamb outraised his GOP opponent in this month’s special congressional election in Western Pennsylvania by a nearly five-to-one margin over the first seven weeks of the year, according to new campaign finance filings Thursday night.
Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone’s poor fundraising — he raised just $703,000 from January 1 through February 21, compared to Lamb’s $3.3 million haul — has forced Republican outside groups to spend valuable dollars to drag Saccone across the finish line in a district President Donald Trump carried by nearly 20 percentage points.
The special election will be held on March 13.
► Colorado breweries have some strong opinions on President Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum.
► The Colorado Independent reports on the issue of gun safety as it relates to the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor.
► The State House will consider legislation to get rid of Columbus Day, as the Pueblo Chieftain reports:
The political tug of war over the Columbus Day holiday resumed this week in the General Assembly when a House committee narrowly approved a bill to establish an Election Day holiday for state workers instead.
House Bill 1231 is the latest offering in the ongoing battle between the Italian-American community and groups who argue that honoring Columbus ignores the widespread death and devastation that Europeans brought to native American populations.
The House Local Government Committee listened to three hours of passionate, if familiar, testimony from all sides Wednesday afternoon before approving the bill on a 7-6 vote. It was a bill that broke partisan lines.
► John Frank of the Denver Post previews Tuesday’s Party caucuses.
► Colorado needs a lot more snow, but the forecast doesn’t look good.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Momentum may be growing to remove Rep. Devin Nunes from his position as chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
► The New York Times examines the process for acquiring a gun in 15 countries across the world.
► The Huffington Post looks at the grim legacy of Billy Graham.