Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 22)

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TOP OF MIND TODAY…

 The senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine sat before a Congressional committee on Tuesday and apparently provided “damning” testimony as part of an impeachment investigation into President Trump. From the Associated Press:

Former U.S. Ambassador William Taylor, a diplomat who has sharply questioned President Donald Trump’s policy on Ukraine, has provided lawmakers with a “disturbing” account of events at the center of the impeachment probe , Democrats said Tuesday.

Lawmakers emerging after the early hours of the private deposition said Taylor had given a lengthy opening statement, with a recall of events that filled in gaps from the testimony of other witnesses. They said Taylor kept records at the time of conversations and documents.

“The testimony is very disturbing,” said New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., used the same word. Asked why, he said, “Because it’s becoming more distinct.”

Taylor’s appearance is among the most watched because of a text message, released by House investigators earlier in the probe, in which he called Trump’s attempt to leverage military aid to Ukraine in return for a political investigation “crazy.”

Meanwhile, President Trump is now comparing impeachment proceedings to a “lynching,” and Republican elected officials such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are even defending the statement. Trump’s history of racist remarks leaves little doubt that he knew exactly what he was doing in using the word “lynching” today. 

As Aaron Blake writes for The Washington Post, it’s now “every man for himself” in terms of Republicans and their continued support for President Trump.

 

► Some Democrats think that impeachment proceedings might take longer than initially expected — in large part because witness testimony continues to reveal new concerns. From CNN:

“Every time we have a deposition, it leads us in a slightly different direction,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who sits on the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, two of the three panels leading the investigation, said Monday. “We don’t know how many additional pieces of testimony we may need. We just don’t know.”

The challenge facing Democrats: They want to conduct a thorough investigation, but prolonging the probe will continue to consume Washington — and risks bumping into the presidential election season if proceedings drag into the new year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is leading the probe, both have refused to put a specific timeframe on the investigation.

 

► The editorial board of the Pueblo Chieftain smashed a failed effort to recall Senate President Leroy Garcia:

Dave DeCenzo, a volunteer for the recall effort, said more signatures were collected, but the group didn’t want to reveal them for fear the signers might be “doxxed” — that is, have their private information revealed on the internet.

To butcher Shakespeare, wethinks he dox protest too much. If the group had produced enough signatures to qualify a recall for the ballot, then those names would have become a matter of public record, anyway. So this alleged concern for the privacy of the petitioners sounds suspiciously like a convenient cover story to mask the group’s failure.

And we’re glad the group’s efforts not only failed, but failed so spectacularly. We can laugh about this now that it’s over, but what the anti-Garcia group was attempting to do was no joke.

Garcia was elected to a new term in office just last year with a commanding three-fourths of the total votes cast. Between the time he was re-elected and the recall campaign was launched, he did nothing that was inconsistent with his stated beliefs or campaign promises.

An editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette on Monday opened with a familiar lede: “No money could buy for Colorado Democrats the gift Republicans handed them in 2019.”

As Jason Salzman writes for the Colorado Times-Recorder, media outlets should take a lesson from recall mania and act more skeptical of unsubstantiated claims in the future.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has always said that he would not take positions on state issues because of his status as a federal elected official. So, naturally, Gardner wrote an Op-Ed opposing Proposition CC that ran in the Colorado Springs Gazette.

 

► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast and find out if you can do better at “Duke or Donald” than our guest contestant.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is widely considered to be the most endangered incumbent Republican Senator in the country in 2020. As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains, Gardner might just be the tip of the iceberg for Democrats:

The political world’s focus on the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump by the House has obscured a critical shift in the battle for control of the Senate: Democrats now have a genuine chance at retaking the majority come November 2020…

…So why are Democrats now in a better position to make that scenario a reality? A combination of a continued decline in the national political environment for Trump coupled with strong fundraising numbers by a slew of Democratic challengers.

The 2020 map was always a bit of a challenge for Republicans. The party has to defend 23 seats next November as compared to just 12 for Democrats, the result of a 2014 election that delivered GOP wins across the Senate map. It’s never an easy road when you are defending almost twice as many seats as your opponents.

 

► People working to protect U.S. public lands are facing a regular threat of violence from extremist anti-government groups, as the Associated Press reports:

Federal employees overseeing U.S. public lands were assaulted or threatened at least 360 times over a five-year period marked by heightened tensions with anti-government groups, according a Congressional watchdog agency.

The Government Accountability Office in a new report highlights anti-government tensions that at times have boiled over. That includes the six-week armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon in 2016, and other standoffs with armed protesters in Montana and Nevada.

 

 Donald Trump, Jr. and his right-wing buddies will be in Fort Collins tonight for a “culture war” rally.

 

► Former Secretary of State Wayne Williams endorsed Republican Steve House for Congress in CO-6…for whatever that’s worth

 

► The British parliament voted today to approve a new plan for Brexit but disagreed with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s timeline for stepping away from the European Union. In other words, it’s still a no-go for Brexit.

 

► Russia and Turkey agreed to jointly control Northern Syria in a big win for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

 Colorado Public Radio reports on the increasing strength of cannabist lobbyists in Washington D.C.

 

 President Trump is apparently not thrilled that President Trump overruled a decision by President Trump on the location of the 2020 G7 Summit. 

 

9News takes its turn in explaining Proposition DD. In related news, turnout for the 2019 election in Colorado looks to be relatively strong

 

► Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is demanding to be included in briefings that are not meant to include him, as Colorado Public Radio reports.

 

► As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is dropping out of a lawsuit targeting a top wireless provider:

Colorado is dropping out of a lawsuit aimed at blocking a T-Mobile-Sprint merger in return for T-Mobile committing to expanding the state’s 5G network and Dish Network promising to create thousands of new jobs in the state, officials announced Monday.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser aligned with his counterparts from 12 other states and the District of Columbia earlier this year when he joined the suit. Critics of the merger have argued that it would hurt consumers by reducing competition in the cellphone service industry, likely driving up the cost of service.

The U.S. Justice Department, however, signed off on T-Mobile’s $26.5 billion plan to buy out Sprint in July after the company agreed to sell its prepaid wireless subsidiaries — including Boost and Virgin Mobile — to Dish for $5 billion. Dish also would also take over some of T-Mobile and Sprint’s service spectrum as part of the deal, setting it up Douglas County-based satellite TV company as the nation’s fourth major wireless provider should the merger be allowed to go through.

Now, with fresh commitments from Dish and T-Mobile in hand, Weiser’s office is on board with the merger, too. Weiser recused himself from negotiations with the companies but Chief Deputy Attorney General Natalie Hanlon Leh was part of the team that works on the deals. According to Monday’s announcement, she is no longer concerned the merger will hurt consumers in the state.

 

President Trump will be raising money for Sen. Cory Gardner’s re-election in early November.

 

► The State Supreme Court will consider the extent to which people on probation can be prevented from using medical marijuana.

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

► House Republicans are preparing to unveil a health care reform proposal that has absolutely zero chance of going anywhere.

 

► What’s the difference between what Republicans are accusing Rep. Adam Schiff of doing and what President Trump has been doing for three years? We can’t answer that. Neither can Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs):

 

ICYMI

 

► If you still haven’t figured out what you are going to wear for Halloween this year, we’ve got you covered.

 

► House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lays out the case for impeachment using President Trump’s own words as proof.

 

For more political learnings, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to give Colorado Pols a thumbs up on Facebook and Twitter

 

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