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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Supporters of President Trump would love for you to believe that the investigation into Trump’s campaign and potential collusion/obstruction involving contacts with Russia should be classified “case closed.” The reality is much more complicated, as the Washington Post reports:
A federal judge on Thursday ordered that prosecutors make public a transcript of a phone call that former national security adviser Michael Flynn tried hard to hide with a lie: his conversation with a Russian ambassador in late 2016.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in Washington ordered the government also to provide a public transcript of a November 2017 voice mail involving Flynn. In that sensitive call, President Trump’s attorney left a message for Flynn’s attorney reminding him of the president’s fondness for Flynn at a time when Flynn was considering cooperating with federal investigators.
The transcripts, which the judge ordered be posted on a court website by May 31, would reveal conversations at the center of two major avenues of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election…
…Sullivan also ordered that still-redacted portions of the Mueller report that relate to Flynn be given to the court and made public.
Chris Cillizza of CNN lays out one big lesson from this news:
At nearly every turn of the probe into Russian interference into the 2016 election, President Donald Trump was working to make sure Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, knew that the White House was on his side — and that the President himself thought Flynn was a good guy.
Now we seem to know why.
Trump was worried — and it turns out, rightly — that Flynn knew things that would be problematic for the President as it related to Russia. And that if Flynn cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe — as he eventually did — it would have negative consequences for the administration. Court records released Thursday night revealed previously unknown details of Flynn’s cooperation.
► Recall fever in Colorado is exposing some significant bad blood between Republicans and the “no compromises” gun group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is working hard on trying to brand himself as a supporter of LGBTQ rights. The organization “One Colorado” isn’t buying it.
► Colorado’s outdoor industry is bracing for massive financial hits because of President Trump’s trade war with China; one local retailer says that “people will be shocked” at the extent of necessary price increases. Colorado’s economy in general is not well-positioned to withstand heavy losses from rising tariffs.
Meanwhile, a proposed aid package for American farmers harmed by Trump’s trade war could reach $20 billion.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is joining other prominent Republicans in saying a bunch of words indicating concern that they are not being adequately informed about the Trump administration’s saber-rattling with Iran. From The Hill:
[Gardner] said he wants more information from the administration and is worried the conflict with Iran could escalate.
“There should be more briefings. I think we should have that sooner rather later. I’ve talked to the administration about that,” he said, referring to conversations he had in the previous 24 hours.
Gardner, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that lawmakers don’t have an administration assessment on news reports that Iranian proxies were given the green light to attack U.S. personnel in the Middle East.
Asked if he was worried about a rapid escalation of military hostilities, Gardner responded, “Anytime you’re dealing with a regime like Iran that has painted ‘death to America’ on missiles that have killed American soldiers throughout the Middle East, it’s a grave concern.”
The White House, meanwhile, is doggedly trying to push a narrative that President Trump really doesn’t want to go to war with Iran. This doesn’t mean that National Security Adviser John Bolton won’t ultimately get his war anyway.
► Former Republican Rep. Cole Wist crushes RMGO and efforts to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Aurora) in an Op-Ed for the Colorado Sun.
► The Government Accountability Office says that Housing Secretary Ben Carson broke the law in his zeal to spend taxpayer money on expensive office furniture. From CNN:
The Department of Housing and Urban Development broke the law when it spent about $40,000 in 2017 for a new dining set and dishwasher for Secretary Ben Carson’s office, according to the Government Accountability Office.
In a letter Thursday to Congress, the GAO’s general counsel said HUD broke the law when it obligated over $31,000 for the purchase of a dining set and nearly $9,000 for the purchase and installation of a new dishwasher and water treatment system.
Under law, federal employees are prohibited from spending in excess of an appropriation and an agency is restricted under law from spending more than $5,000 to furnish or redecorate an office without notifying Congress.
According to a separate report from the internal watchdog group at the Environmental Protection Agency expects former EPA head Scott Pruitt to repay the government for $124,000 in “excessive travel costs” over a 10-month period.
► BOLO James O’Keefe.
► “A Streetcar Named Disaster” could be the working title of the story of Jamie Giellis‘ campaign for Denver Mayor.
► Greg Sargent of the Washington Post reminds us not to miss the forest for the trees when it comes to Trump administration obstruction of Congress:
It is a useful exercise at times to step back and state clearly what President Trump and the White House are really arguing. We waste so much time chasing little lies that we lose sight of how audaciously, monumentally absurd and profoundly saturated in bad faith their big arguments really are.
Case in point: the current oversight wars, which just escalated once again…
…Trump actively and extensively encouraged the Russian attack, hyping WikiLeaks’ findings countless times. His campaign eagerly sought to coordinate with that attack. Trump went to enormous lengths to impede the investigation into it. He and his advisers repeatedly lied to cover up all the dimensions of that broader story.
Now, Trump World’s position is basically that the attack never happened, and the White House position is that further fleshing out Mueller’s conclusions about it, to do something about the next one, isn’t a legitimate legislative purpose — even though Trump’s own intelligence officials are waving red flags about it.
How can this really be the position of the White House and the president of the United States?
► Colorado Public Radio looks at whether or not Coloradans John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet may qualify to make the stage in the first Democratic Presidential debates of 2020. The short answer: Only one of them seems to be in good shape.
► Governor Jared Polis signed into law measures that are intended to improve access to mental health services in Colorado. Polis also added his signature to legislation to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and felony prosecution for “wage theft.”
► Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold doesn’t want her employees to travel to Alabama in the wake of the state’s approval of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country…not that there was ever a good reason for anybody to visit Alabama.
► This Colorado father believes that newly-created “red flag” legislation may have prevented his son’s suicide.
► The City of Denver is reconsidering open container restrictions on public consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Rest in Peace, Grumpy Cat.
► President Trump is arguing that his newly-released personal financial disclosure provides more information about his finances than could be gleaned from the release of his tax returns. This, of course, is ridiculous.
► Ho-hum. The President of the United States of America accused the FBI of COMMITTING TREASON.
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!