In like a lion, out like a lamb…oh, wait, that’s March. 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…
► “Today is a bad day for world trade.” As Politico reports:
President Donald Trump’s move to slap penalties on imports from U.S. allies and China is moving the country to the brink of a global trade war as the White House tries to wrest concessions from trading partners that are threatening to retaliate.
The Trump administration ratcheted up the brinkmanship Thursday by announcing new duties on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico — after failing to reach deals with them to address national security concerns related to the imports.
The decision, which comes just days after Trump broke a cease-fire in an escalating trade dispute with China, is certain to inflame relations and invite retaliation. Mexico quickly announced it would impose penalties on a list of U.S. goods. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also said the EU would respond with penalties of its own on U.S. exports.
“Today is a bad day for world trade,” said Cecilia Malmström, the European trade commissioner.
Today is also a particularly bad day for relations between the United States and its neighbors, Canada and Mexico:
The decision to impose tariffs came as a shock to Canada and Mexico, as both countries thought they would be spared from the levies because of earnest negotiations they have had with administration officials over NAFTA. One U.S. industry official who had been in contact with negotiators from both sides said neither country had been notified by the White House as of Wednesday evening and they were learning of the possibility of tariffs from news reports. [Pols emphasis]
Really? The White House couldn’t even bother to give a heads-up to freaking Canada?
UPDATE: Here come the retaliations already.
► Lawmakers in Virginia voted to expand Medicaid in the state. As the Washington Post reports, this is a pretty significant decision:
As Joe Biden put it a little differently when Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act eight years ago, Virginia’s expansion of Medicaid on Wednesday is a big dang deal. And not just because 400,000 low-income citizens will now have access to government health insurance.
It’s another nail in the coffin for efforts to repeal Obamacare and a fresh reminder of how difficult it is to scale back any entitlement once it’s created. Many Republicans, in purple and red states alike, concluded that Congress is unlikely to get rid of the law, so they’ve become less willing to take political heat for leaving billions in federal money on the table.
Years of obstruction in the commonwealth gave way because key Republicans from rural areas couldn’t bear to deny coverage for their constituents any longer, moderates wanted to cut a deal and, most of all, Democrats made massive gains in November’s off-year elections.
► The judge who presided over the Aurora Theater Shooting trial has been appointed to fill a vacancy in the Colorado Supreme Court. Judge Carlos A. Samour, Jr. replaces retiring Chief Justice Nancy Rice.
► The Colorado Secretary of State’s office is trying to refute comments made by Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson that suggest SOS Wayne Williams could have been involved in helping to cover up petition fraud perpetrated by the gubernatorial campaign of Walker Stapleton.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Colorado’s Primary Election is less than four weeks away, which means its time for the more, um, “negative” ads to start hitting the airwaves. Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell is taking a hard shot at portraying fellow Republican Walker Stapleton as an entitled country club Republican.
Democratic candidates went at each other in a debate recorded on Wednesday.
► Denverite breaks down the big Primary battles in Colorado and includes commentary from longtime Republican adviser Dick Wadhams:
Wadhams said Stapleton has had a few head-scratching moments. They included his decision not to participate in next month’s Colorado Public Television debate (confirmed by the station), allowing controversial former congressman Tom Tancredo to introduce him at the Republican Assembly (which he joined only after having to abandon his petitions) and his awkward Fox News appearance last week following a school shooting in Texas…
…“You add these things up and I think it raises the question, is Walker Stapleton ready for a general election?” Wadhams said.
► President Trump announced Thursday that he will issue a pardon for conservative asshat commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating federal campaign finance laws but has since claimed to have been a victim of conservative bias, or something. Trump says he is also considering pardons for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (who is serving his federal prison sentence in Colorado) and media personality Martha Stewart.
► The Associated Press breaks down efforts from the Trump administration to rollback reproductive rights throughout the country.
► The Colorado Springs Independent updates its story from about EPA attempts to do a run-around settlement on water contamination in the Colorado Springs area:
The latest chapter is a March 25 letter obtained by the Indy from the DOJ to the state Health Department and Colorado Attorney General’s Office. In it, DOJ Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Wood says the federal government will “welcome and anticipate the full involvement of the State and intervenors in any such discussions with the City.”
That contrasts with the EPA’s unilateral action to reopen settlement negotiations with the city recently — without consulting other plaintiffs — after a year-long settlement discussion failed last year. The lawsuit is set for trial in August.
► The Grand Junction Sentinel reports on a Congressional field hearing on energy development scheduled for Friday on the Western Slope of Colorado.
► Incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) will not participate in a debate tonight (the only scheduled debate for GOP candidates) among Republicans running in CD-5. Joey Bunch tries to track down an answer as to why for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
Why? It’s not clear. Lamborn’s camp “declined to participate,” according to Erik Stone, chairman of the Teller County Republicans.
The debate is the only one scheduled before the June 26 primary. It’s being put on by the school’s speech and debate team.
Stone said he didn’t know and couldn’t speculate as to why Lamborn decided to skip it.
Lamborn’s spokesman, Dan Bayens, couldn’t be reached by phone and didn’t respond to a text message from Colorado Politics. The U.S. House calendar lists this as a “district work week,” and lawmakers don’t reconvene in Washington until next Tuesday. Lamborn’s official schedule lists no events this week.
Lamborn is quite clearly trying to run out the clock on another Primary challenge after a recent poll showed him in good shape leading into the June 26 election.
► Governor John Hickenlooper will sign his name to a big transportation infrastructure bill today.
► Anadarko Petroleum Company is (finally) closing down natural gas operations in Colorado because of safety concerns. Earlier this month it was revealed that numerous high-level Anadarko employees had long warned executives about unsafe conditions. Anadarko recently settled a lawsuit with victims of a deadly home explosion in Firestone last year.
► Wednesday was the last day to trigger a potential special election in Arizona in the event of the death of Sen. John McCain. Strategists from both the Republican and Democratic parties are understandably reluctant to discuss McCain’s health, but the May 30th deadline is potentially significant to GOP hopes of retaining control of the U.S. Senate in 2018.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► President Trump continues to insist that he did not fire former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia investigation…despite the fact that President Trump himself said that he fired Comey over the Russia investigation.
► Anybody seen Melania Trump?
► Students around the country are eagerly awaiting summer break…because they are scared of being shot and killed in class.