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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The New York Times obtained a list of questions that special prosecutor Robert Mueller would like to ask President Trump:
The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.
But they also touch on the president’s businesses; any discussions with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition; any contacts he had with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser who claimed to have inside information about Democratic email hackings; and what happened during Mr. Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.
Mr. Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that it was “disgraceful” that questions the special counsel would like to ask him were publicly disclosed, and he incorrectly noted that there were no questions about collusion. The president also said collusion was a “phony” crime.
The questions provide the most detailed look yet inside Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which has been shrouded in secrecy since he was appointed nearly a year ago.
► Teacher walkouts across the country aren’t just about low salaries, as Brian Eason reports for the Associated Press:
Teachers usually say a persistent funding shortage, which has cost public schools $6.6 billion since 2009, led them to walk off the job and close down schools last week. But among the biggest reasons for lagging pay is one of the least understood: The rising cost of state pensions…
…In Colorado, school district payments to the public pension fund have roughly doubled since 2006, from around 10 percent of payroll to 20 percent. That has squeezed personnel budgets when the state also was cutting funding during the economic downturn.
In that time, average teacher salaries have grown 21 percent, from $44,439 to $53,768, according to salary data from the National Education Association. But inflation in the greater Denver area has outpaced it, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving teachers with an 8 percentage point drop in buying power.
► The Republican sponsor of boneheaded legislation that would have jailed teachers for going on strike has decided to pull his bill from consideration. As the Denver Post reports:
The Republican state senator who brought a bill seeking to prohibit Colorado teachers from strikingby threatening firings, fines or even jail time said Monday he will kill his own measure, citing concerns over lawmakers’ already large workloadin the waning days of this legislative session.
“We don’t have time to have two hours of testimony for a bill that won’t move forward,” said Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs. “You introduce bills for public policy discussions as much as anything, and the bill certainly caused that.”
Gardner’s legislation, Senate Bill 264, which came as thousands of teachers were gearing up to protest education funding and educator payat the state Capitol, drew swift outrage from teachers across Colorado and statehouse Democrats after it was introduced earlier this month.
Even Gardner’s fellow Republicans were wary of the bill.
Pulling the SB-264 from consideration will help mitigate some of the damage for Republicans in November, but this asinine bill should have never been allowed to move forward in the first place.
► The political future of Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is now in the hands of a federal judge after a hearing Monday in which Lamborn’s campaign appealed a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court that has left his name off of the June Primary ballot. As KRDO in Colorado Springs reports, a decision is expected to be made public by this afternoon.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Colorado legislators are debating a “red flag” bill that seeks to temporarily remove firearms from the hands of people who are deemed to be an elevated risk to themselves or others. As Denver7 reports:
The measure, House Bill 1436, will be named after Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish, who was shot and killed while on duty on New Year’s Eve. The man accused of killing him and wounding several other deputies and officers had mental health issues and weapons – which Parrish and his fellow officers knew ahead of their encounter.
Unveiling the proposal Monday were lawmakers from both parties, several metro-area sheriffs, 18th Judicial District Attorney and Republican Attorney General candidate George Brauchler, and mental health professionals…
…The measure would allow families or law enforcement officers to obtain protection orders from a judge that would keep people experiencing a mental health crisis from having guns or ammunition in their home for a certain amount of time.
The “red flag” bill was introduced on Monday with bipartisan support but quickly earned the ire of gun groups like Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO).
► Democrat Joe Neguse received a big endorsement from California Sen. Kamala Harris in his bid for the Democratic nomination in CD-2.
► Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton is standing up for rich people in other states.
► Unaffiliated voters in Colorado may be leaning toward supporting Democrats in 2018. As Blair Miller writes for Denver7:
As of Monday, nearly 35,000 unaffiliated Colorado voters had selected a ballot – and they are so far leaning toward the Democrats, according to figures from the secretary of state’s office.
Of those voters, 55.2 percent had selected a Democratic primary ballot, while 38.1 percent picked a Republican ballot. The roughly 6.7 percent of other ballots selected were for third parties, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Unaffiliated voters make up the largest percentage of Colorado’s electorate, with about 1.1 million active registered voters as of April 1, compared to 1.01 million Democrats and 1 million Republicans.
► Republicans have long demonized Obamacare, but health care in the United States is considerably worse under Trumpcare. From the Washington Post:
More rate hikes are looming large in May and June as insurers face even more potential losses under a Republican administration.
The CEO of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the insurers gearing up to release prices for next year’s plans sold on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, has in the past has warned the marketplaces are in a “death spiral.” Now Chet Burrell fears things are “materially worse.”…
…“Continuing actions on the part of the administration to systematically undermine the market and make it almost impossible to carry out the mission,” Burrell said.
► Colorado lawmakers are still trying to finalize deals on PERA reform and transportation improvements with just one week to go in the 2018 legislative session.
► Governor John Hickenlooper signed Colorado’s $28.9 billion state budget into law on Monday.
► The White House is pumping the brakes on an all-out trade war. As the New York Times reports:
The Trump administration said on Monday that it would delay a decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada and Mexico for another 30 days, giving key allies a reprieve as the White House tries to extract concessions from trading partners who have resisted those demands.
The extension reflects concerns by the Trump administration of a swift retaliation on American products by European Union nations, and will also give the Trump administration more breathing room to work on a separate trade battle with China.
The 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminum were set to go into effect on Tuesday and had set off a global scramble by nations trying to secure permanent exemptions.
► Congress approved a five year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration that includes a new helicopter safety measure that was pushed by Colorado Reps. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Republican candidates across the country are running on the strength of their criminal records, as the Washington Post explains:
Former New York congressman Michael Grimm is a felon who has admitted to hiring undocumented workers, hiding $900,000 from tax authorities and making false statements under oath. To hear him tell it, that’s a reason Staten Island Republicans should vote him back into office…
…Grimm has uncovered a new reality in the constantly changing world of Republican politics: Criminal convictions, once seen as career-enders, are no longer disqualifying. In the era of President Trump, even time spent in prison can be turned into a positive talking point, demonstrating a candidate’s battle scars in a broader fight against what he perceives as liberal corruption.
In a startling shift from “law-and-order Republicans,” Trump has attacked some branches of law enforcement, especially those pursuing white-collar malfeasance, as his allies and former campaign officials are ensnared in various investigations.
Following his lead, Republican Senate candidates with criminal convictions in West Virginia and Arizona have cast themselves as victims of the Obama administration’s legal overreach. Another former Trump adviser who has pleaded guilty to a felony has also become an in-demand surrogate, as Republicans jump at the chance to show their opposition to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
► House Republicans have drafted “articles of impeachment” targeting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
► Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson (Mitt Romney’s Nephew) talks petition fraud, Walker Stapleton’s criminal background, and how he would respond to allegations of sexual harassment in the state legislature. Click here to watch the full interview on The Get More Smarter Show.