“A date which will live in infamy.” 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 confirmed on Friday that he has chosen nominees for two high-profile jobs in his administration. From the Washington Post:
President Trump confirmed he will nominate former attorney general William P. Barr to lead the Justice Department again, telling reporters Friday that Barr was “my first choice since day one.”
He also said he would nominate Heather Nauert as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, saying the State Department spokeswoman, a relative novice on foreign policy, is “very talented, very smart, very quick.”…
…The Washington Post reported a day earlier that Barr, 68, a well-respected Republican lawyer who served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, had emerged as the leading contender, and Trump told associates he planned to nominate him as attorney general.
Barr and Nauert are interesting juxtapositions in terms of qualifications for each respective position. While Barr has previously served as Attorney General, it’s hard to argue that Nauert is at all qualified to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (as Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut has noted).
But as CNN reports, Nauert may have gotten the nod because the Trump administration wants to downgrade the role:
Nauert, a former Fox News host who arrived at the State Department in 2017, would be a relatively inexperienced newcomer in one of the most high-profile positions in US diplomacy. Her nomination sets the stage for a potentially tough Senate confirmation hearing, where Democrats will likely grill Nauert on her qualifications for the position.
In an administration rife with internal conflict and deeply distrustful of the UN, Nauert’s nomination would place a less senior person at the international agency than Haley, who reportedly sparred with other administration officials…
…Nauert’s appointment would realign power dynamics within the President’s national security team. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told aides he wants the UN position downgraded from the Cabinet-level job Haley had insisted on, an official familiar with his remark has told CNN. Elevating Haley to a Cabinet-level post broke with the tradition of previous Republican administrations.
National security adviser John Bolton has been said to want the role downgraded as well, according to people familiar with his thinking. A former UN ambassador himself, Bolton has taken an interest in some UN matters, such as the International Criminal Court.
Elsewhere in Trumpland, Politico reports that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is expected to leave his job within the next week.
► The New York Times previews a potentially-huge day in the advancement of special investigator Robert Mueller’s probe into the Trump campaign:
The special counsel’s office is expected to reveal more details on Friday about separate investigations that have ensnared President Trump’s personal lawyer and his former campaign chairman.
Federal prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, will submit a sentencing memorandum in Manhattan federal court outlining how much time Mr. Trump’s former lawyer Michael D. Cohen should spend in prison for admitting he lied to Congress. Mr. Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced next week and has agreed to cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s team as well as prosecutors in Manhattan investigating the president’s inner circle.
In the case of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was convicted of financial fraud and who agreed to cooperate with the special counsel rather than face a second trial, Mr. Mueller’s team has accused him of repeatedly lying to investigators. Prosecutors pulled out of their plea deal with him because, they said, he was repeatedly untruthful. They were expected to disclose details about his falsehoods on Friday.
► Be sure to check out the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Show, where we look deeper into the numbers from the 2018 election with Ian Silverii of ProgressNow Colorado.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► As CNN reports, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been interviewed by special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team in recent months.
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has backed up President Trump’s argument that U.S. intelligence agencies may not be accurate in claiming that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince was directly involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But Gardner has been dancing all over the place on this issue in recent days.
► The City of Denver will hold its municipal elections this coming Spring, and there are already a lot of candidates looking for jobs.
► State Sen. Daniel Kagan (D-Denver) will resign from the state legislature in early January. State Rep. Jeff Bridges is the favorite to succeed Kagan through a Democratic vacancy committee in SD-26.
► As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Colorado is getting a heap of federal money for transportation projects:
A $20 million federal grant will help widen Interstate 25 between Loveland and Berthoud, and Colorado will receive another $20 million in federal funds to modernize roads throughout the state with advanced technology, U.S. senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner announced Thursday.
In addition, Glenwood Springs has been awarded a $7 million grant to upgrade infrastructure along South Midland Avenue, one of its main thoroughfares, including a new waterline and broadband technology, the senators said.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) have introduced so-called “Good Samaritan” legislation to deal with the cleanup of old mines in Colorado. The bill probably has no hope of going anywhere but is intended to “spark a conversation.”
► Colorado Public Radio reports on the first batch of senior leadership positions announced by Governor-elect Jared Polis.
► Strong voter turnout in Colorado in 2018 means that it will be tougher to get citizen initiatives on the ballot in 2020.
► Republicans in North Carolina did a half-assed job of warning others about an absentee ballot fraud that has left a Congressional race undecided.
► Health care was indeed a dominant issue in the 2018 election.
► There is a lot of movement to potentially vacate thousands of low-level marijuana convictions in Colorado.
► Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility company, has committed to a carbon-neutral portfolio by 2050.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Why not commission someone to paint a crappy portrait of President Trump to hang in the State Capitol?
► Fox News talking head Tucker Carlson has turned on President Trump, saying, “I don’t think he’s capable.”
► Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson breaks his silence on President Trump, as CNN reports:
Since being fired by President Donald Trump as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson has kept a very low profile. But on Thursday night in Houston, Tillerson broke that silence in a big way.
Here’s how he described the “why” behind the breakdown of his relationship with the President, according to the Houston Chronicle:
“So often, the President would say here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it and I would have to say to him, Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law.”…
…The Point: We have a President who, according to his one-time FBI director and his first secretary of state, repeatedly proposed ideas that were in violation of established laws. Sit with that for a minute.
The Washington Post has more on Tillerson’s stunning comments.