The looonngggg Holiday week(end) has come to an end. For those of you who haven’t really been in front of a screen since June, keep reading for a special “Things You Might Have Missed Because of That Ridiculously-Long Holiday Week” section. 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…
► President Trump is expected to announce his nominee for a vacant spot on the U.S. Supreme Court late this evening. As the Washington Post reports:
President Trump said he was “close” to choosing a Supreme Court nominee Sunday after a weekend at his New Jersey golf club evaluating four leading candidates and mulling the likely response of key senators and his core supporters to each prospect, according to White House officials and Trump advisers involved in the discussions.
Over rounds of golf with friends, meals with family, and a flurry of phone calls and meetings with aides, Trump remained coy about his final decision, which is expected to be announced Monday evening from among the four federal judges atop his shortlist: Brett M. Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett.
“I’m very close to making a decision,” Trump told reporters Sunday afternoon. “Have not made it official yet. Have not made it final.”
He added: “It’s still — let’s say it’s the four people. But they’re excellent. Every one. You can’t go wrong.”
In a tweet Monday morning, Trump said: “I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice.” He indicated he would stick to plans to make the pick public in a 9 p.m. news conference.
As Aaron Blake writes in a separate story for the Washington Post, there is plenty of potential for some late fireworks in Trump’s announcement.
► Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen is signaling clearly that he plans to speak out about President Trump — and that it won’t be good news for the Big Orange Man. From CNN:
Michael Cohen, the President’s former fixer and ultimate loyalist, is sending a clear signal to President Donald Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, that “the truth is not you(r) or your client’s friend,” according to sources with knowledge of Cohen’s thinking.
Two sources familiar with Cohen’s thinking say he has “hit the reset button” and is continuing his commitment to speak the “real truth.”
In particular, the same sources say Giuliani is wading into dangerous territory when he asks Cohen to “tell the truth” about the Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Russian meddling in the election.
► Republicans have a new message for the 2018 election that involves being sad that social media companies don’t tolerate fake right-wing news. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) tries on the tinfoil hat and finds that it fits quite nicely.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED BECAUSE OF THAT RIDICULOUSLY-LONG HOLIDAY BREAK…
► Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker
Stumbleton Stapleton continues to have trouble doing much of anything correctly. Stapleton may or may not have selected a Lieutenant Governor running mate, which may or may not be against the law. Either way, this was a pretty dumb avoidable mistake. We’ve heard repeatedly that Stapleton offered the LG spot to CU Regent Heidi Ganahl but was rebuffed.
► Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jared Polis had no problem announcing a Lieutenant Governor choice for his campaign. After dropping a series of hints about the selection on social media, Polis revealed last Monday that former state Rep. Dianne Primavera would join him on the top of the ticket in November.
► It didn’t take long after Colorado’s Primary ended before some Republicans rolled out their first public gay-bashing of Polis. Just one day after the June 26th Primary, the Huerfano County Republican Party took to Facebook with this message: “Jared Polis is an openly gay congressman who is very much against our American values.” If successful in November, Polis would be the first openly gay man to be elected Governor in the United States.
► Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush picked up the endorsement of EMILY’s List in her bid to unseat Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in CD-3.
► EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finally resigned after running out of ideas on milking taxpayers for his own personal gain. It sounds like Pruitt was widely despised by virtually everyone who worked closely with him.
► The mass exodus from the Denver Post newsroom has ramped up recently. Washington D.C. correspondent Mark Matthews has left the Post. Political reporter John Frank is also departing, as is fellow politics beat writer Jesse Paul.
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
The Trump administration is freezing billions of dollars of payments to Obamacare health insurers, another blow to the fragile markets as health plans begin to set premiums and get ready for the next enrollment season.
The so-called risk adjustment payments are supposed to protect insurers from big losses. The health plans pay into a pool — this doesn’t involve tax dollars — and funds are transferred to insurers that ended up with many high cost patients. In 2017, $10.4 billion was involved…
…insurers said even a temporary, uncertain pause is damaging, and political opponents of the Trump administration took to Twitter to say decision is part of a pattern of Republican attempts to sabotage Obamacare, after failing to repeal it.
The trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans said the “new market disruption” would create more uncertainty and drive up premiums for many health plans.
Democrats believe that Trump is setting up Republicans for trouble on this issue and are talking more frequently about a “Medicare for All” health care policy.
► Your 110-year-old grandmother has more teeth than Colorado’s campaign finance laws.
► The Aurora City Council needs to fill a vacancy for an at-large city council seat after Bob LeGare was appointed to complete the late Steve Hogan’s terms as Aurora Mayor.
► As the Washington Post reports, voters are already nervous about President Trump’s escalating trade wars:
Three-quarters of them expect the tit-for-tat escalation in tariffs with the world’s second-largest economy will jack up product prices at home, and by a solid margin, 56 percent to 39 percent, they expect the conflict will lead to job losses.
The results, from a new poll conducted by the Washington Post and the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, flash a warning signal to the White House: With a perilous midterm election season arriving, the trade offensive risks stepping on an issue where a majority still give Trump favorable marks. By 50 percent to 48 percent, respondents said they approve of how the president is handling the economy. But Trump is 16 points underwater with voters on his trade agenda.
Even among Republican voters, 56 percent believe the showdown with China will hit their wallets in the form of higher prices. Just 37 percent say it won’t. The party faithful are more bullish on the question of jobs, with 64 percent responding that the situation will be good for employment.
Voters in battleground congressional districts take a slightly more negative view of the situation. And those respondents list the economy and jobs as the top concerns shaping their decision-making on the election.
► Former Congressional candidate Saira Rao is very angry.
► Nearly 7,000 total Unaffiliated ballots in Colorado were rejected because voters didn’t bother to read numerous instructions about NOT returning two completed ballots in the June Primary.
► The Colorado Republican Party is holding a “campaign school” next weekend. For the low, low price of $75, you can learn how not to win an election in Colorado.
► Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel takes a look at the ballot initiative battle over oil and gas drilling in Colorado.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► President Trump is mad at the New York Times over a story about breastfeeding.
► The British government is in turmoil after the resignation of two senior cabinet ministers.
► President Trump offers a really lame reason for cancelling a ribbon cutting ceremony in London.