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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
The next chief will walk into a White House engulfed in scandal, in the sights of special counsel Robert Mueller and newly empowered Democrats, at what is shaping up as one of the most grave constitutional moments in US history…
…Nick Ayers, a rising political star in the GOP — who had long been considered Kelly’s likely replacement after serving as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff — announced Sunday he would not take the position after talks with Trump.
That left the President without an obvious frontrunner for the toughest job in politics as the White House is being battered by multiple crises, including a trade war with China, turmoil in the markets and a revolt by Senate Republicans over Saudi Arabia policy. And as it braces for a punishing new era of Democratic oversight, Trump’s team is also gearing up for the imminent escalation in the President’s re-election campaign.
If that was not enough, the new chief of staff will also be faced with the likely hopeless task of trying to tame a President who appears to be deeply rattled by Mueller’s strides in recent days, despite his insistence that everything is sunny in the White House.
How unappetizing is the job of Chief of Staff under Trump? Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is even being mentioned as a real candidate. Chris Cillizza of CNN breaks down the list of potential hires for a President who is definitely beginning to freak out about his political future.
As for Kelly’s legacy,
Based on Trump’s hiring track record, we can expect he’ll hire someone terrible. But the Kelly bar is exceptionally low, so America may be in for a stroke of luck. But we owe it to ourselves to remember how bad Kelly was.
► Colorado Senate Republicans announced new committee assignments late Friday afternoon as they struggle to deal with their newfound minority status. Of particular note: Sen. Randy “Boob Grabber” Baumgardner isn’t on a committee. At all.
► The Denver Post runs a fawning profile of Rep-elect Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish):
He’s now the first African-American to represent Colorado in Congress and an early leader in his freshman class.
And friends say he’s nowhere close to done.
“Joe has this uncanny ability to bring people together and to really help manage personality differences,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “People are attracted to him for it, and in that way he is unstoppable.”
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
“We can deny their passports, deny their visas. And if you do that here, it triggers a whole other series of countries that deny them as well,” Gardner said. “We freeze their bank assets. You can imagine what it would be if all of a sudden the crown prince can’t get a credit card anywhere because we have taken those actions. [Pols emphasis] We don’t allow them to invest here anymore.”
► British Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed a scheduled vote on Brexit because it doesn’t look like she has the support she needs to proceed.
► No “smocking gun” here:
“Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking Gun…No Collusion.” @FoxNews That’s because there was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution,…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2018
► As the Associated Press reports, a judge has ruled that the El Paso County Sheriff is not legally allowed to keep people in jail on “immigration holds” on account of the Fourth Amendment:
District Court Judge Eric Bentley ruled late Thursday that El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder has no authority under state law to hold people once they have posted bond, completed a sentence or otherwise resolved their state case.
Courts in several states have ruled that sheriffs cannot hold people on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement without violating the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) ducked past a question on whether or not he is considering a run for President in 2020.
► Bente Birkeland of Colorado Public Radio looks at differing approaches toward potential House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from two Colorado Democrats:
Colorado U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is trying to negotiate concessions from California Rep. Nancy Pelosi in return for his support for her bid to remain the Speaker of the House.
But for Rep.-Elect Jason Crow, those compromises wouldn’t be enough to win his support.
Perlmutter is open to supporting Pelosi if she agrees to create a pipeline for new leadership in the House and establish term limits for committee chairs.
Crow maintains that he will not vote for Pelosi, even if Perlmutter’s negotiations succeed.
Crow has consistently said that he would not support Pelosi for House Speaker because of his belief that Democrats would benefit from new leadership in Congress.
► Westword looks at four Colorado counties that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but then supported Democrat Jared Polis for Governor in 2018.
► Colorado Senate Secretary Effie Ameen resigned from her job before she could officially be fired.
► The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear two cases about whether or not states can block funding for Planned Parenthood. From Politico:
Chief Justice John Roberts and the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, joined the court’s four liberal jurists in turning away a pair of petitions from Kansas and Louisiana seeking the ban on abortion providers.
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, dissented. It takes four justices to agree to accept a case.
Thomas, suggesting most of his colleagues were fearful of taking up a challenge involving Planned Parenthood, asserted the cases weren’t about abortion rights but whether individuals have a right to challenge a state’s decision to cut a particular provider from its Medicaid program.
► President Trump is getting lots suggestions for his next Chief of Staff from the Internet tubes.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► The Huffington Post takes a detailed look at the Fox News fearmongering machine.
► 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.