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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg testifies before Congress this week about the social media giant’s failures to protect against outside efforts to influence U.S. elections. From the New York Times:
When he goes before Congress this week, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, will issue a broad apology for letting the website be used as a conduit for fake news, election meddling by foreign entities, hate speech and privacy abuses, according to a copy of his testimony released on Monday.
“We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in comments published by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”
Facebook is entering a week of intense scrutiny in Washington, with Mr. Zuckerberg scheduled to testify before congressional committees on Tuesday and Wednesday. The company is confronting a surge in criticism over how it handled the private data of as many as 87 million users that was harvested by Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm tied to President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Zuckerberg’s testimony will likely further the storyline of Cambridge Analytica and its involvement in campaigns here in Colorado.
► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) narrowly avoided a Primary challenge when Roger Edwards failed to reach the 30% threshold for ballot access at Saturday’s CD-6 Republican assembly.
► To Trump, or not to Trump? That is the question for many Republican candidates in Colorado in 2018. It’s also a question for many Coloradans who voted for President Trump but worry now about their own business interests because of Trump’s trade war with China.
► Republicans are growing increasingly concerned about potentially losing control of the House of Representatives in 2018 and may start directing more resources toward maintaining their thin majority in the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, Republican House leaders are jockeying to succeed Paul Ryan as Speaker amid growing rumors that the Wisconsin Republican will not seek re-election this fall.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► President Trump says the United States will make a decision “soon” about how to respond to reports of another chemical weapon attack in Syria. From the Washington Post:
President Trump said Monday that his administration would be making “major decisions” about its response to a suspected chemical attack in Syria within the next 24 to 48 hours, decrying the action as “atrocious” and “horrible.”
“We are very concerned when a thing like that can happen,” Trump said at the outset of a Cabinet meeting while reporters were present. “This is about humanity, and it can’t be allowed to happen.”
U.S. officials said Sunday that they were weighing options to strike Syrian government targets after at least 40 people were killed in the opposition-held town of Douma, roughly 10 miles from the Syrian capital.
Trump said Sunday on Twitter that there would be a “big price to pay” for the attack. His comments on Monday were his first publicly spoken remarks on the subject.
In a series of Tweets over the weekend, Trump blamed former President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the situation in Syria. But Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) spoke out and pointed a finger at Trump himself. Again, from the Washington Post:
In a statement, McCain indirectly blamed Trump for the chemical weapons attack in Syria, suggesting that Trump’s recent comments about U.S. troops leaving Syria “very soon” and his noninterventionist approach have “emboldened” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria,” McCain said. “Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma.”…
…McCain did choose his words carefully so as not to completely lay what happened at Trump’s feet. He doesn’t directly tie Trump’s withdrawal comments to the chemical weapons attack. But he does seem to lump them in with “American inaction,” and the clear implication is that the Assad regime has decided to act in a way it might not otherwise have acted — were it not for Trump signaling that the United States would soon be gone and doesn’t really want to be there.
► Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has been making more noise lately about making a potential run for President in 2020. Should Hickenlooper seek the Democratic nomination, he’ll need to figure out a way to explain decisions like this one, as the Denver Post reports:
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will not protest a Trump administration effort to allow oil and gas drilling on 18,000 acres near the Great Sand Dunes National Park, even though Democratic state lawmakers and environmentalists are challenging the plan.
Hickenlooper, a two-term Democrat and former energy industry geologist, initially expressed concerns and planned to send a letter opposing the federal Bureau of Land Management’s plan to auction mineral rights on 11 parcels, one of which critics say is within a mile as the crow flies from the dunes.
“Obviously, I’m not excited about it,” he told reporters March 13. “And I am concerned about it and plan to look into it.”
But the governor since softened his stance — and allowed Friday’s deadline for public comment to pass without an objection — because he learned that the energy development would take place on the eastern side of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, not on the western side, where the dunes are located.
► Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulderish) says that President Trump is standing in the way of a potential deal for immigrants through DACA legislation.
► Walker Stapleton is on the Republican Primary ballot for Governor…for now, anyway.
► People living near oil and gas drilling operations are 8 times more likely to develop cancer, according to a new study.
► Educators in the Fort Collins area are considering a new wave of activism on their own in the wake of teacher walkouts in Oklahoma and Kentucky.
► State Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver) will not win re-election in 2018 after failing to qualify for the June primary ballot. Democrats Ashley Wheeland and Emily Sirota will battle it out to replace Rosenthal in a heavily-Democratic district.
► The race for Governor in Colorado is starting to take shape, as Denver7 reports.
► The Denver Post issues a public plea to be saved from its bloodsucking hedge fund owners. Journalist David Sirota points out the irony:
The Denver Post editorial page has been a powerful pro-corporate, anti-union voice, but now editors are railing on corporate control & trying to save workers’ jobs. I hope they succeed. Perhaps their own experience will change their larger ideology about corporate power & workers https://t.co/RiX40z5KcX
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) April 8, 2018
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► We asked Colorado Pols readers about walling off Colorado after a broad reference to “border security” in a new ad for Walker Stapleton. By an overwhelming margin, our readers think Kansas should be the first to get walled off.
► Perhaps the most high-profile Senate race of 2018 will be in Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott officially entered the field to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
► Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Barlock says that GOP frontrunner Walker Stapleton donated big money to the History Colorado Museum while encouraging them to scrub references of his great-grandfather’s known ties to the Ku Klux Klan.