Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you forgot to order flowers, enjoy that premium pricing! It’s time “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…
► Our great negotiator-in-chief Donald Trump is defending his decision to raise import tariffs on some Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, even as economists warn of the damage this could do to businesses in the United States. As the Washington Post reports:
President Trump on Friday defended his decision to impose steep tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and promised that much steeper penalties would follow, putting the rest of the world on notice that he will follow through on his protectionist agenda no matter the blowback. [Pols emphasis]…
…The chain of events that began with higher tariffs and continued through Trump’s tweets have sown unrest in financial markets around the world and have left investors and business executives unsure of what is to come. Trump in the past has threatened severe penalties only to back down days later, but he has also shown a willingness to dig in and trust his instincts, even if advisers have warned against it. He believes the strength of the economy gives him leverage to use aggressive trade tactics.
“At this stage, it is difficult to envision this as a bluff anymore,” said Eswar Prasad, a senior professor of trade policy at Cornell University. “He seems deadly serious about taking on China in a broad economic confrontation irrespective of the consequences to the U.S. economy.” [Pols emphasis]
“No matter the blowback.” Swell.
► As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Republicans are quietly — and anonymously — admitting that they don’t have a lot of hope for a big electoral comeback in 2020:
It’ll be nearly impossible for Republicans to win a majority next year in the Colorado House, where GOP candidates could win every competitive district and still fail to net the nine seats necessary to control the chamber.
That Republicans have no hope to win control of the State House won’t surprise many political observers, but even the State Senate could be out of reach for the GOP:
Next year, there won’t be as many narrowly divided districts on the ballot — and Republicans will be playing defense in some tough races, including an open seat in a district that’s trending Democratic.
By general agreement, the Republicans’ top target next year will be Jefferson County’s Senate District 19, held by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, while the Democrats’ top targets will be Adams County’s Senate District 25, held by Republican Kevin Priola, and Arapahoe County’s Senate District 27, held by Republican Jack Tate, who won’t be seeking another term…
…There is a wild card, however, that could tilt the balance of power in the Senate after the 2020 election. Several threatened recall elections might put additional, off-cycle Senate seats in play next year, opening the door at least a crack to a Republican majority in the chamber.
Speaking of those recall elections, read on…
► As we’ve noted in this space on several occasions, the attempted recall elections in various stages of reality in Colorado are all about A) Grift, and B) Republicans looking for a way around General Elections that they can’t seem to win anymore. The “CEO” of the Colorado Republican Party, Steve House, said the quiet part out loud last weekend in Pueblo.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Colorado Public Radio has more on legislation sponsored by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) to close a significant loophole that allowed a Florida woman to immediately buy a shotgun in Colorado last month.
► One influential Republican Senator is expressing concerns about whether the White House might try to escalate a military confrontation in Venezuela…without consulting Congress. As the Washington Post reports:
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution explicitly states that Congress shall declare war. Many lawmakers appear ambivalent about, or even resigned to, outsourcing one of their core job duties to the executive branch, especially when their party controls the White House.
Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) is not one of them. The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is angry that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has refused to commit that Trump will even consult with Congress before intervening militarily in Venezuela. Young is pushing for the Foreign Relations Committee, on which he sits, to schedule an immediate hearing to demand answers from administration officials regarding the possible use of military force in South America…
…Young was one of seven Republican senators who voted for the resolution to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-backed war in Yemen. It was the first time Congress has ever invoked the War Powers Act to rein in military action. Trump vetoed the resolution, and the Senate failed last week to override it.
► “American Legend” Ted Nugent is coming to Colorado to raise money for Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, who may be looking at broader pastures in 2020.
► President Trump apparently told Gov. Jared Polis that he approves of Colorado’s plan to lower prices for prescription drugs by importing drugs from Canada.
► A federal judge is fast-tracking the process to determine whether or not Congress can get a look at President Trump’s financial records. As CNN reports:
Judge Amit Mehta plans next week to weigh the major legal issues raised in President Donald Trump’s challenge of a congressional subpoena for his accounting firm’s records, according to an order issued Thursday — putting the case on an even faster track than it previously looked to be.
Congress has subpoenaed Trump and his business’ accounting records from the firm Mazars USA, and Trump’s personal legal team sued to stop the records from being turned over. A hearing is now scheduled for May 14.
Previously, the case was set up so that Mehta, a nominee of President Barack Obama, would consider it in multiple stages, beginning next week — which could have lengthened out the legal fight and held off Congress from getting the records.
► Former FBI Director James Comey seems to believe that the Russians are in possession of something compromising that gives them leverage with President Trump.
► Former Congressman and now Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke just keeps failing upward. Can that really continue?
► Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared (unconvincingly) that investigations into President Trump are now complete. At least one prominent GOP Senator wasn’t paying attention, as the Washington Post reports:
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s decision to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. has ignited an internal Republican firefight over the fate of the committee’s Russia probe, as the panel’s GOP chairman showed no signs of backing down despite fierce criticism from many of his colleagues that it was time to move on…
…Much of the backlash against the decision by Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.) to subpoena President Trump’s eldest son came from GOP senators who are up for reelection next year and from those closely aligned with the president. The outrage was partially fueled by Trump Jr. and his own allies.
► Former Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) are both seeking the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. Can their long friendship survive the campaign trail?
► President Trump once derided what he called the “super PAC scam.” Naturally, he now fully embraces the idea. Via CNN:
As President Donald Trump gears up for a re-election battle in 2020, Team Trump is deploying all the instruments of a traditional campaign apparatus that he mocked during his first, unconventional bid for the White House.
In 2015, for instance, Trump tweeted that the “whole super PAC scam is very unfair to a person like me who has disavowed all PAC’s & is self-funding.”
This week, in sharp contrast, his campaign backed a super PAC, declaring in a statement that “there is one approved outside, non-campaign group, America First Action, which is run by allies of the President and is a trusted supporter of President Trump’s policies and agendas.”…
…This week, Trump’s top aides huddled with roughly 200 potential fundraisers at the President’s hotel in downtown Washington as they worked to woo establishment figures who could tap their friends, family and business associates to “bundle” together donations to support what could grow to a $1 billion operation.
► The Denver Business Journal breaks down the various health care changes implemented by Colorado lawmakers this year. The Colorado Independent, meanwhile, does a deep dive into voter access and campaign finance legislation.
► Nathan Fey takes over as the new director of the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry.
► North Dakota quietly became the 25th state to decriminalize marijuana. You might not have heard this news yet because…well, it’s North Dakota.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► We need an emergency copy-editing declaration:
I know there are bigger issues to focus on than clerical errors by WH staff, but a trifecta today:
1. “The Red Socks”
2. Massachusetts “Instutution” of Technology
3. The “World Cup Series Champions” pic.twitter.com/At1vwd1CXE
— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) May 9, 2019
► As Colorado Republicans continue soul-searching in order to understand heavy losses in the 2018 election cycle, they keep coming up with creative new directions to point their fingers.
► Via the Associated Press:
President Donald Trump’s foreign policy challenges are mounting around the world, showing the limits of his self-touted ability to make a deal and perhaps the difficulty of focusing primarily on domestic concerns for his “America first” administration.
Check out the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Show, featuring an in-depth interview with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. You can also Get More Smarter by liking Colorado Pols on Facebook!