Of course President Trump is surprised that people are not reacting well to his Helsinki summit. 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…
► For those of you who might just now be emerging from underneath a rock somewhere, you’ll be concerned to learn that President Trump committed one of the most egregious international relations face-plants in American history on Monday when he stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin and defended him from claims by U.S. intelligence experts that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Leading Republicans are scrambling to distance themselves from Trump as even Fox News is offering criticism of the President. The word “treason” is making regular appearances.
Leading Colorado Republicans, meanwhile, are largely giving Trump a pass for Helsinki.
► President Trump returned to the White House on Tuesday and promptly declared his summit with Putin in Helsinki to be a great success (presumably he didn’t mean to say that it was a great success for Russia). Trump’s high praise for himself is not being reciprocated by most Republicans, though Congressional leaders seem remarkably reluctant to take any sort of action whatsoever.
As the Washington Post reports, President Trump’s stunning summit with Vladimir Putin did not go according to plans scripted by White House staff:
Administration officials had hoped that maybe, just maybe, Monday’s summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin would end differently — without a freewheeling 46-minute news conference in which Trump attacked his own FBI on foreign soil and warmly praised archrival Russia.
Ahead of the meeting, staffers provided Trump with some 100 pages of briefing materials aimed at laying out a tough posture toward Putin, but the president ignored most of it, according to one person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal deliberations. Trump’s remarks were “very much counter to the plan,” the person said.
“Everyone around Trump” was urging him to take a firm stance with Putin, according to a second person familiar with the preparations. Before Monday’s meeting, the second person said, advisers covered matters from Russia’s annexation of Crimea to its interference in the U.S. elections, but Trump “made a game-time decision” to handle the summit his way.
Just how bad was Trump’s Helsinki meeting? Chris Wallace of Fox News is getting credit for being tougher on Putin than Trump.
► CNN reports on Monday’s news that the Justice Department has arrested a Russian national named Mariia Butina under suspicion that she was conspiring against the United States as a secret agent. Butina also has close ties to the NRA.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is one of four Republicans who could be in serious trouble after being connected to apparent campaign finance violations related to support from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Sandy Phillips, the mother of Aurora Theater Shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, is asking Coloradans to oppose Republican George Brauchler’s campaign for Attorney General.
► Sinclair Broadcasting’s efforts to purchase Tribune Media appear to be sunk. As Politico reports:
Sinclair, known for its “must-run” pro-Trump programming, was already the country’s biggest television broadcaster. The deal would make it even bigger, allowing it to reach nearly three-quarters of U.S. households — further positioning it to take on Fox in the battle for conservative eyeballs.
But 14 months later, Sinclair’s deal is headed toward an almost-certain defeat, with that same FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, sending the merger on Monday into an administrative proceeding that is tantamount to a death sentence.
The story of how Sinclair’s deal ran into trouble, despite its considerable sway in Republican-led Washington, is a tale of stunning hubris, according to officials inside and outside the FCC who watched the drama unfold. The broadcaster needed to sell stations to stay under federal media ownership limits, but instead it aggressively pushed proposals that would have left it in effective control of some of those spun-off outlets — raising alarms at an FCC that had already relaxed some ownership rules to the company’s benefit.
► This story was understandably buried on Monday, but as Aaron Blake writes for the Washington Post, President Trump is pushing a weird conspiracy theory involving his own father:
President Trump has never been one to just casually accept people’s accounts of their birthplaces. Apparently that now extends to his father.
Despite his dad being born in the United States to German American parents, Trump has gone around in recent days suggesting — and even outright stating, bizarrely — that Fred Trump was born in Germany…
…Trump of course, questioned for years whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States or abroad. Doing so helped bolster his political career among a certain segment of the far right. Now he’s fudging the truth about his own father’s birthplace, apparently to soften the blow of his anti-immigration rhetoric and tough stance toward Europe.
Trump stated on several occasions last week that his father was born in Germany. This is not true, of course, so…WTF?
► The Aurora City Council will fill a vacancy in an at-large seat at some point this year. Theoretically, anyway.
► The Durango Herald reports on a bill in Congress that would increase funding for national parks — including Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.
► Sam Brasch of Colorado Public Radio travels to Mesa County on Colorado’s Western Slope to talk with local residents about Republican immigration policies. Many Republicans in this GOP-dominated area continue to express support for President Trump’s hardline immigration proposals.
► As the Associated Press reports, Democratic lawmakers in Colorado appear to have been right to push for so-called “Hospital Provider Fee” legislation:
In a stunning turn from this time a year ago, Colorado’s state coffers are suddenly so flush with cash that lawmakers might be required to send more than $200 million back to taxpayers over the next three years.
For Democrats, it’s vindication for a deal struck in 2017 to exempt a state hospital fee from the state’s revenue cap — a deal that was supposed to clear out so much room under the cap that the state budget would have room to grow for years to come without sending any of it back to taxpayers.
Without the new law, Colorado would have owed taxpayers significantly more. And lawmakers never would have been able to afford the sizable investments in schools, roads and the public pension that turned the 2018 legislative session into a success for leaders in both parties.
► The Colorado Independent reports on radio ads running in Colorado Springs that are discouraging voters from signing petitions for ballot measures by trying to scare them about identity theft.
► “Red flag” gun laws continue to be a major topic of interest in Colorado in 2018.
► The Denver Post updates the Colorado wildfire situation, including warnings of a high risk of flash floods today.
► A federal court hearing today will consider whether or not the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge should remain off-limits to visitors because of health and safety concerns.
► Denver Mayor Michael Hancock delivered his annual “State of the City” address on Monday.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► President Trump’s strident defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t being condemned by all Republicans. Here’s former State House Majority Whip B.J. Nikkel of Loveland, Colorado:
No wonder @realDonaldTrump can’t accept “Intelligence Community” assessment of #Russia. Corporate #MSM won’t face fact that Intel Comm – people like #Clapper #Brennan some in #FBI #NSA & #CIA colluded w/#Hillary #DNC & #Obama cabinet to #spy & #collude seditiously against @POTUS.
— Rep. B.J. Nikkel (@RepBJNikkel) July 17, 2018
► NBC News reports on ongoing efforts from the Trump administration to scrub Climate Change information from government websites.