If this were 2020, we’d be two weeks away from the Primary Election. 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 is lobbying tariff threats…again. As Greg Sargent writes for the Washington Post:
President Trump has spent the last half day frantically retweeting his propagandists, who are pushing the absurd deception that Trump’s new deal with Mexico is a massive and historic victory. In reality, the agreement — which averts Trump’s threatened tariffs — consisted mostly of things Mexico already agreed tomonths ago.
Trump is in a rage over this — he repeatedly fumed at the New York Times for reporting it — and now he’s amplifying the notion that he won enormous concessions from Mexico by claiming that Mexico has secretly agreed to another major provision that will be revealed at some unspecified future time.
This has come packaged with a threat: Trump just tweeted that if Mexico does not soon take formal steps to ratify that secret provision, “Tariffs will be reinstated!” [Pols emphasis]
The White House called off tariff threats against Mexico over the weekend after pretending that its crack negotiatin’ resulted in a capitulation that — in reality — had already been agreed upon. Or maybe it was all because of Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-Yuma) breathtaking “dear colleague” letter on Friday.
From a local perspective, Aldo Svaldi of the Denver Post explains why Colorado farmers and business owners stand to lose Bigly because of Trump’s trade war.
► The U.S. Senate isn’t doing much of anything these days, and Republicans are now pretending to be concerned. As Politico reports:
The Senate is going to get back to good old-fashioned legislating any day now. Republicans swear it.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate has been almost entirely focused on confirming President Donald Trump’s personnel and judges and has had little in the way of recent legislative victories…
…The paltry list of accomplishments has given Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer an opening to portray the GOP as devoid of any agenda and could endanger Republicans at risk in a tough election cycle. And there’s a growing recognition within the GOP that it needs to do more.
► The Justice Department has reached a deal with Congressional leaders on turning over evidence from the Mueller investigation. From the New York Times:
The Justice Department, after weeks of tense negotiations, has agreed to provide Congress with key evidence collected by Robert S. Mueller III that could shed light on possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Trump, the House Judiciary Committee said on Monday.
The exact scope of the material the Justice Department has agreed to provide was not immediately clear, but the committee signaled that it was a breakthrough after weeks of wrangling over those materials and others that the Judiciary panel demanded under subpoena.
The announcement appeared to provide a rationale for House Democrats’ choice, announced last week, to back away from threats to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress. The House will still proceed on Tuesday with a vote to empower the Judiciary Committee to take Mr. Barr to court to fully enforce its subpoena, but even that may no longer be necessary, the panel’s leader said…
…House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said he expected the department to begin sharing some of the material Monday afternoon and that all members of the committee would be able to view it privately.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► If you really “drained the swamp” in Washington D.C., you might find Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the very bottom. As Politico reports:
The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection.
Chao’s aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell’s Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell — including a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold that had been twice rejected for previous grant applications…
…The circumstances surrounding the Owensboro grant and another, more lucrative grant to Boone County, highlight the ethical conflicts in having a powerful Cabinet secretary married to the Senate’s leader and in a position to help him politically. McConnell has long touted his ability to bring federal resources to his state, which his wife is now in a position to assist.
Chao’s designation of Inman as a special intermediary for Kentucky — a privilege other states did not enjoy — gave a special advantage to projects favored by her husband, which could in turn benefit his political interests. In such situations, ethicists say, each member of a couple benefits personally from the success of the other.
► The Denver Post profiles Shannon Watts, the founder of the gun safety advocacy group “Moms Demand Action.”
► President Trump called into CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday morning and said a whole lot of nonsense.
► Colorado Public Radio reports on a Sunday gathering of the (many) Democratic candidates seeking to unseat Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in 2020.
► Governor Jared Polis has been more outspoken about President Trump’s trade war than Sen. Cory Gardner.
► The Washington Post reports on the surprise retirement from a top Homeland Security official:
John V. Kelly, the acting inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, announced his retirement Monday following revelations that he directed his staff to whitewash audits of the agency’s performance after federal disasters.
Kelly, 64, a career auditor who rose to the top job in 2017, announced his retirement in a brief email Monday morning to hundreds of DHS employees and contractors…
…Kelly’s announcement follows The Post’s report last week that an internal review found that Kelly overrode auditors who had found problems with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to various disasters.
When teams of auditors flew to local communities to assess how well FEMA was helping residents recover, Kelly — then in charge of the emergency management auditing staff — directed them to ignore most problems, according to the internal review and interviews. Instead, he told them to produce what the staff dubbed “feel good” reports.
► Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will be in Colorado Springs later this month to attend an invitation-only luncheon for an education organization founded by prominent Republican Steve Schuck.
► As CBS4 Denver reports, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) is working on federal gun safety legislation after meeting with advocates in Colorado.
► Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) jumped out of a plane over the weekend.
► Governor Jared Polis thinks the Bureau of Land Management is more likely to choose Denver than Grand Junction for its new headquarters location.
► The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that firearm “silencers” are not protected by the Second Amendment.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► The news just never really gets better for Republican Bob Beauprez.
► Mmm…salad frosting.
► If you’re still looking to make sense of last week’s runoff election for Denver Mayor, we have you covered.
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!