Get More Smarter on Friday (June 14)

“Father’s Day” is on Sunday, so make sure to buy some wrenches or something. 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…

► Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) have both qualified for the first round of debates for 2020 Presidential hopefuls. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

Hickenlooper and Bennet will appear either June 26 or 27 in Miami. Each night will feature 10 candidates, chosen at random, making their case why they should be the nominee to take on President Donald Trump.

An NBC News drawing Friday will divide the large field between the first and second night. Party officials have promised to weight the drawing with the intention of ensuring that top tier and lagging candidates are spread roughly evenly over the two nights.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock was the most high-profile candidate left off the list. He failed to reach the party’s polling or grassroots fundraising thresholds.

Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam were among the others who missed the threshold for the debate.

According to the candidate drawing that took place today, Benkenlooper will share the stage in one of the debates with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, and former Vice President Joe Biden.

 

► President Trump and his supporters are furiously trying to walk back comments Trump made to ABC News earlier this week in which he said that he would accept intelligence on political opponents from foreign governments and likely would not alert the FBI to such an approach (which is very clearly a federal crime). From Politico:

President Donald Trump on Friday tried again to rectify the mess he made by saying he would likely accept dirt on a political opponent from a foreign entity, going on “Fox & Friends” to clean up the comments.

Trump insisted during a meandering 50-minute interview on the network that “of course” he would alert the FBI in such a case, but only after reviewing it first, “because if you don’t look at it, you won’t know it’s bad.”…

…Remarkably, Trump also asserted on Friday that he didn’t foresee that issue arising. “I don’t think anybody would present me with anything because they know how much I love the country,” he said, despite well-documented attempts by Russian nationals to do just that during the 2016 election.

As Greg Sargent writes for the Washington Post, no amount of spin from Trump can fix this mess:

The key to the ABC interview is that even though we now understand these full dimensions — now that we understand that this effort was a wide-ranging criminal scheme designed to harm our democracy and country — Trump has confirmed that he would happily profit from such an effort again, and wouldn’t alert law enforcement about it.

This is what Trump’s spinners are trying to make disappear when they falsely claim that Trump actually said he would report another offer of help to the FBI.

Law enforcement officials say that Trump’s statements about accepting foreign election interference have all but smashed months of work by federal agencies to prevent this very problem.

Trump’s comments also prompted Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub to issue a very direct statement on Thursday warning against candidates accepting help from foreign governments. “I would not have thought that I needed to say this,” said Weintraub.

 

 President Trump is pointing his stubby fingers at Iran in the wake of reports of new attacks on oil tankers. From the New York Times:

President Trump said on Friday that there was no doubt that Iran was behind the explosions that crippled two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman this week and warned Tehran not to try to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major transit point for the world’s oil supplies.

“Well, Iran did do it,” the president said in a telephone interview on “Fox & Friends” in his first comments since the ships were damaged. “You know they did it because you saw the boat. I guess one of the mines didn’t explode and it’s got essentially Iran written all over it.”

The president was referring to video footage released by the United States military that it said showed an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps patrol boat pulling alongside one of the stricken ships several hours after the first explosion and removing an unexploded limpet mine in broad daylight…

…Iran dismissed allegations of its involvement, characterizing them as American propaganda intended to provoke a conflict.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► There are a number of conservative talk radio hosts in Colorado who don’t want to talk to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) on account of the fact that he is completely full of shit.

 

► The Vice Chair of the Colorado Republican Party, Kristi Burton Brown, has been out stumping for Sen. Cory Gardner’s 2020 re-election bid. Brown is making sure to remind conservatives that Gardner votes with President Trump most of the time in Congress, and that Trump “really likes him.”

On a similar subject, the Colorado Independent reports that Gardner has voted to confirm more than 100 Trump-selected judges.

 

► A measure sponsored by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) to provide more mental health resources to students in the wake of school-related tragedies passed an initial hurdle in Congress.

 

► As the Grand Junction Sentinel reports, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is making some early efforts at trying to unseat Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in CO-3.

 

► White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders is leaving her job to return to Arkansas, where she may pursue a campaign for Governor. Sanders is the daughter of Mike Huckabee, a former Republican Governor of Arkansas. Politico takes a look at the already-raging battle over who will be the next White House Press Secretary who never actually talks to the press.

 

► Colorado Republicans are rolling out all of their biggest losers in a bid to defeat a measure that would give the state more leeway in spending tax revenue that is badly needed for infrastructure improvements.

 

Vox.com explains how the Trump administration is trying to use 9/11 as a justification for war with Iran:

For months, President Donald Trump and some of his top officials have claimed Iran and al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that launched the 9/11 terror attacks, are closely linked. That’s been a common refrain despite evidence showing their ties aren’t strong at all. In fact, even al-Qaeda’s own documents detail the weak connection between the two.

But insisting there’s a nefarious, continual relationship matters greatly. In 2001, Congress passed an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), allowing the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

Which means that if the Trump administration truly believes Iran and al-Qaeda have been in cahoots before or after 9/11, then it could claim war with Tehran already is authorized by law.

 

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson will be in Denver next month to speak at the dying Western Conservative Summit.

 

Governor Jared Polis signed an executive order to help improve Colorado’s nation-worst vaccination rates. New vaccination figures show that Colorado rates are still dropping

► Southwest Colorado will finally get access to Colorado news and television stations after a new FCC ruling.

 

Paul Lopez has officially won the race for Denver Clerk and Recorder.

 

► Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is trying really, really, really hard to get Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to engage with him in a discussion about socialism.

 

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

House Republicans are now trying to blame Democrats for accepting election help from foreign governments in a strange attempt to excuse President Trump’s frightening comments earlier in the week. From Politico:

Amid blistering bipartisan criticism of President Donald Trump’s willingness to accept dirt on his 2020 rivals from foreign adversaries, House Republicans decided Thursday that they had found the real culprit: Democrats.

The top Republican in the House, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, repeatedly refused to address Trump’s remarks and instead blasted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for receiving a prank phone call last year from Ukrainians posing as Russians offering damaging information on Trump.

McCarthy and other Republicans are alleging that Schiff did not alert the FBI about this phone call, which…isn’t at all true. “We called the FBI even before we took the call,” said Schiff. “We informed the Republican majority and invited them to participate in the call. So Mr. McCarthy’s wrong again.”

 

► Remember when Republicans painted themselves as the party of “fiscal restraint.” As the Washington Post reports:

Larry Kudlow just threw some more dirt on the grave of Republican debt and deficit concerns. 

President Trump’s top economic adviser — who called federal spending “the most unbalanced fiscal story coming of Washington, really in our history” in 2009 — on Thursday said the deficit, which has risen about 80 percent since Trump took office and is on track to top $1 trillion for the first time in history, “doesn’t bother me right now.”…

The comment is latest piece of evidence tracing the GOP’s rapid transformation from a party that held deficit hawkishness as a first principle into one now unbothered by a tide of red ink it has helped unleash. 

 

ICYMI

 

► If you’re wondering what Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ken Buck thinks about the demise of a recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial)…well, let’s just say you’re not alone.

 

► RIP, Pat Bowlen.

 

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!

 

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