The Denver Broncos have a new quarterback, and it’s not who you thought it would be. 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…
► Rex Tillerson is out. Mike Pompeo is in. The New York Times tries to make sense of the latest White House carnage:
President Trump on Tuesday ousted his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, extending a shake-up of his administration, 14 months into his tumultuous presidency, and potentially transforming the nation’s economic and foreign policy.
Mr. Trump announced he would replace Mr. Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director and former Tea Party congressman, who forged a close relationship with the president and is viewed as being more in sync with Mr. Trump’s America First credo.
Mr. Tillerson learned he had been fired on Tuesday morning when a top aide showed him a tweet from Mr. Trump announcing the change, according to senior State Department official. But he had gotten an oblique warning of what was coming the previous Friday from the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, who called to tell him to cut short a trip to Africa and advised him “you may get a tweet.”…
…At the C.I.A., Mr. Pompeo will be replaced by the current deputy director, Gina Haspel, who will be the first woman to head the spy agency. Both she and Mr. Pompeo would need confirmation by the Senate to take the positions.
And the hits keep on coming:
AP NEWSALERT: Officials: White House Fires Top Tillerson Aide Who Contradicted Account of Secretary of State’s Dismissal.
— Laura Litvan (@LauraLitvan) March 13, 2018
If it’s any consolation, at least this Tillerson aide wasn’t taken outside and shot. We think.
► Longtime Trump aide and personal assistant John McEntee was apparently fired and escorted from the White House on Monday because he is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security for serious financial crimes. Or, perhaps, because he was no longer needed until we roll back our clocks in November:
In his role in the White House, McEntee did tasks such as giving the president messages and making sure the clocks were correctly set for daylight saving time.
► Republicans are terrified about losing a special Congressional election in Pennsylvania today. As Politico explains, the GOP is already jettisoning its “tax cut” message:
Republicans backed away from their signature tax-cut law in the final days of a closely watched special House election in the Pittsburgh suburbs — even though it’s the very accomplishment on which they had banked their midterm election hopes.
Instead, GOP groups that once proudly declared the tax law would be the central fight of the midterms are now airing ads on so-called sanctuary cities and attacking Democrat Conor Lamb’s record as a prosecutor as they try to drag GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone over the finish line in Tuesday‘s election.
The strategy shift has been dramatic…
…If the tax law isn’t a reliable vote-winner, it means Republicans may have to find different midterm messaging to go along with a consistent wave of attacks linking Democratic candidates to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Pennsylvania race will mark the second major contest of the cycle, following the Virginia governor’s race, where Republicans abandoned a tax cut-focused message to hammer a Democrat over immigration and crime.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Not all Congressional Republicans are pleased with efforts to sweep concerns about Russian election interference under the rug. From the Huffington Post:
A GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee is breaking ranks with his fellow Republicans over a contentious report released Monday on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to the campaign of Donald Trump.
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) told CNN that “there is evidence” the Russians worked to help Trump.
“I don’t know that necessarily there was a full-fledged campaign to do everything that they could to help elect Donald Trump,” he added. “I think that their goal was chaos.”
The draft report released by his fellow Republicans on Monday claims otherwise, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the election but not with the goal of aiding Trump.
► Remember that “No Labels” group that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) likes to tout? As the Chicago Sun-Times reports, the group is actually a big fan of labels.
► The Denver Post previews some of the school walkouts planned for Wednesday as a means for drawing attention to the need for more gun violence prevention. Meanwhile, the Colorado Republican Party is taking a stand in support of the NRA.
► As NBC News reports, a spokesman for ICE is resigning to avoid lying:
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman quit and accused top Trump administration officials of releasing “misleading facts” over recent raids in California.
The spokesman, James Schwab, 38, said he resigned from the San Francisco branch of the agency last week. He informed news outlets late Monday and cited claims by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan that 800 undocumented immigrants had evaded an operation last month because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf had issued a public warning of upcoming raids.
“I quit because I didn’t want to perpetuate misleading facts,” Schwab told TheSan Francisco Chronicle, which first reported his resignation. “I asked them to change the information. I told them that the information was wrong, they asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that. Then I took some time and I quit.”
► Adams County Republicans can agree on one thing in 2018: They don’t like anybody with the last name “Coffman.”
► You may get a Tweet, Betsy DeVos.
► Vice President Mike Pence will visit Colorado Springs in April to talk about space.
► You can add MillerCoors to the list of companies that would like an exemption from President Trump’s aluminum tariffs.
► The Colorado Independent asks whether candidates for Governor would support asking the voters for a tax increase to fund transportation and infrastructure improvements.
► Colorado Senate Republicans insist that they will reject attempts at banning so-called “bump stocks.” Marianne Goodland follows the money trail for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman.
► Brian Eason of the Denver Post takes another deep dive into PERA.
► Senate Republicans are pushing legislation in Colorado that would prohibit state employees from talking about employment issues while at work. Good luck stopping that from happening in any workplace.
► Colorado’s unemployment rate remains well below the national average.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Senate President Kevin Grantham’s mustache is very sad.
► President Trump’s pick to become the new head of the CIA, Gina Haspel, is apparently a big fan of torture. As the Washington Post explains:
Haspel’s selection faced immediate opposition from some lawmakers and human rights groups because of her prominent role in one of the agency’s darkest chapters.
Haspel was in charge of one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons where detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harrowing interrogation measures widely condemned as torture.
When those methods were exposed and their legality came under scrutiny, Haspel was among a group of CIA officials involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of interrogation sessions that left some detainees on the brink of physical collapse.
► And the award for best loser goes to…