So long, November! 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…
► We haven’t even finished with 2018, and it’s already clear that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is in for a rough couple of years before his term expires in 2020. A new report showing rising uninsured rates for American children is a significant political problem for Gardner, as his is willingness to support President Trump in declining to take any action against Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Gardner is even promoting Trump’s decision to ignore information from American Intelligence agencies in regard to the Khashoggi murder.
► As the Washington Post explains, President Trump is absolutely on the top of the list when it comes to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation:
In two major developments this week, President Trump has been labeled in the parlance of criminal investigations as a major subject of interest, complete with an opaque legal code name: “Individual 1.”
New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.
Together, the documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.
Trump has provided conflicting answers on his business ties to Russia. In July 2016, he Tweeted that he had “ZERO investments in Russia.” In January 2017, Trump told a reporter that “I have no deals that could happen in Russia.”
Today, Trump Tweeted this:
….Lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia. Put up zero money, zero guarantees and didn’t do the project. Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2018
We can all see where this is going.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► President Trump signed his name to a new trade agreement in Buenos Aires, as the Washington Post reports:
President Trump celebrated a major political win Friday, joining the leaders of the Mexican and Canadian governments in signing a new North American trade deal that overhauls the rules governing more than $1.2 trillion in regional commerce and closes the door on a quarter-century of unbridled globalization.
In a half-hour ceremony in a downtown hotel, the president lavished praise on the agreement, calling it a “truly groundbreaking achievement,” and he nodded to his blue-collar base with claims that the measure would promote “high-paid manufacturing jobs” and farm exports.
But the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement faces uncertain prospects in Congress next year, where Democrats will control the House of Representatives and may be reluctant to help the president fulfill a 2016 campaign promise as he gears up to run for reelection.
► Anna Staver of the Denver Post takes a look at how Colorado Republicans plan to deal with their new minority status in state government:
The Republican leader of the Colorado Senate harbors no illusions about what the 2019 legislative session holds for his party.
“The world has changed,” said Sen. Chris Holbert, R-Parker. “The Democrats can pass any bill they want to.”
Colorado Democrats took control of the statehouse, the governor’s office and other statewide positions in the 2018 elections. For the second time this decade, Democrats have the votes to change everything from how Coloradans attend kindergarten to how courts treat people struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
The question for Republicans will be when and how they influence those decisions and when they simply vote no.
We’d say the question for Republicans is definitely “how” they think they will be able to exert any influence whatsoever. Senate Republicans did very little in the last two years aside from killing Democratic-sponsored legislation; now that they are in the minority, they can’t even do that.
► Philip Bump of the Washington Post breaks down the latest numbers in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016:
To date, the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible coordination with President Trump’s campaign has resulted in criminal charges against 33 individuals and three companies. Of those 33 individuals, six are U.S. nationals, 25 are Russian, one is Ukrainian and one is Dutch. Of the six U.S. nationals, five had some direct association with Trump’s campaign — with the addition on Thursday of Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen.
All five have admitted criminal liability in some form or another. All five — Cohen, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and former campaign adviser and national security adviser Michael Flynn — have agreed to cooperate with the Mueller probe to some extent. Four are awaiting sentencing. One is currently serving time in prison…
…Including those charges and ones filed by Mueller before being sidelined as a result of a plea agreement, there have been 15 specific false or allegedly false claims made by seven different people that have been uncovered over the course of Mueller’s investigation.
It’s not a “witch hunt” when there are actual “witches” to be found.
► Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is ethically squishy.
► Here’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke calling a sitting Member of Congress a drunk:
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) November 30, 2018
So classy. Politico has more on this story.
► Governor John Hickenlooper is entering the final month of his time in office as he prepares to run for President in 2020. Nic Garcia at the Denver Post takes a look at Hick’s chances in key early Primary states:
Colorado’s governor has a fighting chance to clinch the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2020, party leaders and former campaign operatives in early nominating states told The Denver Post.
With such a wide-open field — by one count as many as 40 individuals are considering a run to challenge President Donald Trump — it’s anyone’s game, they said.
It won’t be an easy endeavor, and Hickenlooper needs to act fast. He has little name recognition in those early states, party insiders said. But his folksy charm coupled with a track record on the economy, health care and the environment will play well in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
As we’ve said before in this space, Hickenlooper’s biggest hurdle is timing; he might just be the wrong candidate at the wrong time in a Democratic Primary.
► Republican Governors are not at all enthusiastic about President Trump’s impact on the rest of the GOP leading into the 2020 election.
► Go ahead and tell people in El Paso that Climate Change is a hoax. Because of a severe drought, residents in the Texas border city are now drinking treated sewage water.
As Politico explains, President Trump may or may not be meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin:
The White House denied Friday that President Donald Trump has a pull-aside meeting planned with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the Kremlin said an impromptu meeting between the two leaders would occur.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the two leaders may chat “on their feet” during the G-20 summit, according to a Bloomberg report. Asked for comment, a White House official said, “There is no scheduled pull-aside.”…
…Trump canceled his planned meeting with Putin with a Thursday tweet from Air Force One, shortly after he departed for Argentina for the summit. He cited Russia’s capture of several Ukrainian ships earlier this week in waters off the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and which Trump officials have denounced as an act of Russian aggression. The decision to scuttle the meeting surprised and irked Russia.
► A Trump judicial nominee goes down in flames over his prior involvement in a voter suppression effort in North Carolina.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Vox.com tries to figure out what in the hell is happening with a bizarre House race in North Carolina.
► On the subject of weird election stories, check out this tale of a “mystery ballot” in Alaska that would determine whether or not Republicans have a majority in the State House.
► The number of uninsured children in the United States is on the rise for the first time in a decade.