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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Oh, this is rich. As the Washington Post reports:
President Trump complained Tuesday about a lack of “transparency” in the accelerating Democrats-led impeachment inquiry as House investigators heard from another key State Department official behind closed doors at the Capitol. [Pols emphasis]
George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state responsible for Ukraine, has been summoned to testify about a campaign by Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to pressure Ukraine into investigating the president’s political rival, former vice president and 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and his son Hunter…
…House Democrats are scheduled to huddle behind closed doors later Tuesday about the status of the inquiry.
The New York Times has more on the latest updates regarding impeachment depositions. The fact that regular updates about impeachment depositions even exist would seem to refute Trump’s “lack of transparency” complaints.
As Politico reports, Trump’s attempts to bar the doors to impeachment testimony is failing bigly:
Donald Trump’s impeachment blockade has collapsed.
The president’s former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill — the first White House official to cooperate in Democrats’ investigation of the Ukraine scandal — has sketched for lawmakers a trail of alleged corruption that extends from Kiev to the West Wing. In dramatic testimony on Monday, she roped in some of Trump’s top advisers as witnesses to the unfolding controversy.
And on Tuesday, a senior State Department official, George Kent, appeared on Capitol Hill to testify about his knowledge of the episode despite an attempt by administration lawyers to block him, according to a source working on the impeachment inquiry. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for his testimony Tuesday morning, and Kent complied.
It’s the latest evidence that the White House’s stonewalling against congressional requests for documents and testimony is crumbling — and Democrats are feeling a new sense of momentum.
► Democratic Presidential candidates hit the stage in Columbus, Ohio tonight for the next big debate. Readers of Colorado Pols seem to think that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is in the driver’s seat at the moment. Over at CNN, you can read their list of seven things to watch for in tonight’s debate, including the performance of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who had heart surgery just a few weeks ago.
► As the New York Times reports, Russia is plenty pleased with President Trump’s decision last week to remove American troops from Syria:
As the Middle East reels from President Trump’s erratic foreign policy, Russia is savoring a fresh chance to build its status as a resurgent world power and cast itself as a force for stability. The withdrawal of United States troops from northeastern Syria, coupled with Turkey’s incursion, is allowing Russia to play the part of responsible peacemaker and to present a contrast to what many in the region see as unstable leadership from Washington.
It’s too soon to tell whether Russia will be able to manage the new volatility in Syria, just as it’s not clear if the impeachment furor over Ukraine will help the Kremlin’s interests in Eastern Europe. But as Russian President Vladimir V. Putin landed in Saudi Arabia Monday for a state visit to one of America’s most important allies, it appeared clear that Mr. Trump’s moves in recent months were helping him make the case that Moscow, not Washington, was the more dependable actor on the world stage. [Pols emphasis]
Here in Colorado, residents with Kurdish ties are asking Americans to speak out against Turkey’s aggression in Northern Syria.
► Colorado Republicans are going to have to cast a ballot for President Trump in a GOP Primary, as 9News reports:
Trump will face a Republican primary in Colorado, unlike five other states where party leaders canceled contests in favor of automatically assigning delegate votes.
The Colorado Republican Party cannot cancel a primary if a second person is on the ballot. In Colorado, Trump will compete with Robert Ardini, of New York, for the 2020 nomination.
Ardini 2020, or something!
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The 2020 election is not yet one year away, but the TV ads are already starting in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race.
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post looks forward the political advertisements coming against Republicans across the country.
► A court ruling about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act could come literally any day now. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is rooting for the ACA to be thrown out by a judge; in that event, Gardner swears that Republicans have a plan to address continuing coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. If such a plan actually exists, nobody has seen it.
► Health insurance premiums in Colorado are going down thanks to work by the state legislature and Gov. Jared Polis. As the Pueblo Chieftain explains:
Alongside a bipartisan group of residents, legislators, and state officials, Gov. Jared Polis recently announced that for 2020, Coloradans shopping for an individual health insurance plan would see an unprecedented reduction in premiums: an average statewide decrease of 20.2%.
As this is an average, depending on location and health plan selected, some in rural areas would see average decreases of more than 30%.
“It’s not every day you hear about health care costs going down, but thanks to our bipartisan work in Colorado, folks who buy their own insurance are going to see a 20% average reduction in premiums this coming year,” Polis said. “This will save families thousands of dollars every year…
…In the Pueblo region, the reduction is expected to save families more than $6,100 annually.
► Donald Trump, Jr. and other right-wing, uh, “luminaries” are bringing their “Culture War” tour to the campus of Colorado State University next week. So, that’s neat.
► Former Governor John Hickenlooper sits down for an interview with Michael Roberts of Westword to talk about the U.S. Senate race and incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner:
“Climate change is the most serious threat facing humanity in the history of the world,” he says. “We’ve never had something that the vast majority of scientists agree is a credible threat to our entire planet, from the acidity in the oceans to extreme weather events to the loss of irrigation water and arable land. Just go down the list of things at risk. I have a science background” — he worked as a geologist for Buckhorn Petroleum in the early 1980s before getting entrepreneurial by co-founding the Wynkoop Brewing Company — “and I’ve spent the better part of twenty years looking at this issue and trying to find effective ways to address it.”
When he was Colorado governor, he goes on, “we replaced coal-fired plants with wind, solar and batteries, and we saw the electrical rates of consumers actually go down, which had never happened before. We helped create a network of fast-charging stations for electrical vehicles all over the Western states to accelerate the transition to non-gas vehicles, and we negotiated the first methane regulations in the country. In the old days, pipeline companies and oil and gas production companies would vent or flare methane almost without regard, and yet methane is eighty times more harmful to the climate than CO2. Colorado was the first state to create methane regulations that required the industry to go out and check every single pipe and tank and pump to make sure they weren’t leaking methane before they could hook up to a production facility, hook up to a pipeline, to make sure it was safe and intact.”
At the same time, he says, “we need to go much further. Part of the reason I’m running for Senate is because we need to go beyond that. Right now, President Trump, with Senator Gardner’s support, is rolling back the methane regulations. After we created them, they became federal policy on all public land, but now they’re being rolled back. The EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] is rolling back all kinds of policies on air and water. So how do we get to the innovations we need in the next five or ten years to really address climate change in a meaningful way?”
► Colorado regulators may soon give the okay to ban certain chemicals used in vaping products amid a frightening nationwide outbreak of serious lung conditions associated with vaping products.
► Xcel Energy is closing two coal-fired power plants in Pueblo, the latest blow to a coal industry that is being passed by in favor of cheaper alternatives.
► President Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, appears to be more than willing to add kindling to the impeachment fires.
► Politico takes a look at how lobbyists broke the logjam in Congress on the issue of allowing legal marijuana issues access to banking services.
► Suppose we told you that there was an “Indigenous People’s Day” parade in Colorado on Monday. Could you guess where it took place? If you answered, “Boulder,” you may celebrate quietly.
► Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney tried (and failed) to blame the mess in Syria on impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
► New polling suggests that Maine Sen. Susan Collins, one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in the country, might want to start updating her resume.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Yeah, um, that’s a Russian battlecruiser.
► Remember Senate Bill 181, the oil and gas regulation measure that critics claimed would totally destroy the industry in Colorado? Not only did that not happen, but the market appears to be doing fine aside from broader problems of lower oil prices and surplus production.
► The editorial board of the Aurora Sentinel smashes Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) for repeatedly ducking obvious questions from local reporters:
Gardner refused 12 times when asked by reporters to tell constituents where he sides on the issue that is the nucleus of Trump’s impeachment inquiry. His deflection answers the next question: whether Gardner is qualified to continue to serve as Colorado’s junior senator. If he continues to refuse to answer, he obviously is not.