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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► National Security Council Ukraine expert Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is testifying today in impeachment investigations into President Trump. As The Washington Post reports, Vindman’s appearance on Capitol Hill is making for a lot of nervous Republicans:
Vindman is the first witness in the House’s impeachment probe to have not only listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump said he wanted a “favor” after Zelensky brought up the topic of promised American military aid. Vindman was listening in from the Situation Room, he said, along with other NSC officials and members of Vice President Pence’s office, and was so “concerned by the call” — and that the president’s request could be seen as “a partisan play” that could “undermine U.S. national security” — that he reported it to the NSC’s lead counsel.
Vindman’s prepared testimony touched a nerve with Trump, who took to Twitter on Tuesday to deride the Iraq War veteran, who appeared for his testimony in uniform, as a “Never Trumper,” questioning his recollection of events.
Trump and his allies spent Monday evening viciously attacking Vindman and questioning his patriotism as part of a smear campaign that has even upset some Republican lawmakers. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney derided the attacks on Vindman as “shameful.”
Meanwhile, as The Hill reports, Vindman’s testimony could mean big trouble for EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland:
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said late Monday that he believes U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland committed perjury in his congressional testimony to investigators in their impeachment inquiry.
“Based on all the testimony so far, I believe that Ambassador Gordon Sondland committed perjury,” Castro tweeted.
► Congressional Republicans privately admit that they are very worried about continuing to defend President Trump from an endless list of misdeeds. Putting their own butts on the line has many in the GOP biting their fingernails; as Axios reports, there are growing fears of a complete electoral wipeout in 2020.
National Journal outlines the big red flags for Senate Republicans. The State of Oregon is losing its one Republican Member of Congress; Rep. Greg Walden announced that he will not seek re-election in 2020, making him the 19th GOP member of the House of Representatives to walk away from his seat.
► As The Washington Post reports, new polling numbers explain why Republicans are loathe to discuss President Trump’s requests for foreign governments to get involved in American elections:
“Is it okay with you or not okay for political candidates in the U.S. to ask for assistance from a foreign government to help them win an election?” In response to that question, only 7 percent of U.S. adults say it’s okay. Eighty-one percent say it is not okay…
…The numbers of people who say it’s wrong to seek assistance from a foreign government are remarkably consistent across ages, demographic groups, education levels, income and even party lines. More than 80 percent of self-identified Republicans, evangelicals and rural dwellers say it’s not okay for a president to ask for assistance from a foreign government to help win an election.
► This week’s episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast is now available:
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► What makes Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) physically unable to answer a basic question about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine? Whatever it is, it appears to be contagious:
Asked Rep. Amodei multiple times if it’s OK for Trump to ask foreign countries to investigate his rivals – and he says: “My English teacher says you got a conclusion, so if you want to interview yourself, go ahead.”
Watch another GOP member struggle to answer a simple question: pic.twitter.com/qYXxKuNkW7
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 29, 2019
► The Washington Post profiles the Bennet brothers; one is a Senator from Colorado, and the other is an editor at The New York Times.
► As The Denver Post reports, Kroger has decided to allow its pharmacists to prescribe certain birth control options:
Kroger Health announced Monday that pharmacists at its locations in Colorado, which include King Soopers and City Market stores, will start directly dispensing hormonal birth control, meaning women who get their medicine there can now skip a trip to the doctor’s office for select contraceptives.
The announcement follows a 2016 state law that gave women who are at least 18 the ability to receive birth control from pharmacists after completing a questionnaire, blood-pressure check and consultation.
Kroger Health has rolled out the new policy, which it says will increase access to birth control by making it convenient and less expensive, in six other states, including New Mexico and Utah. It is effective immediately, according to a news release.
“Now that our pharmacists in the specified divisions are able to prescribe hormonal contraceptives, the process is so much easier for women,” said Colleen Lindholz, president of Kroger Health, in a statement.
Senator Cory Gardner has been promising for years to champion legislation that would allow for OTC birth control purchases…he’s just never gotten around to actually making sure it happens. Thankfully, nobody is waiting for Gardner to take action.
► Speaking of Gardner, the Boulder Daily Camera says he should just resign.
► The people who brought you one of the failed recall efforts in Colorado are promising something big in state politics! We aren’t holding our breath.
► Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff fancies himself to be the “anti-establishment” candidate in 2020. Here’s why that doesn’t work.
► No, Proposition CC will not take away tax exemptions for Seniors and Veterans.
► Colorado Public Radio takes a deep dive into “joint fundraising committees.”
► New polling shows widespread support for the CORE Act, a Colorado-specific piece of conservation legislation.
► Colorado may return to an old design for its standard license plates.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner could deliver a lecture on how to avoid talking to people:
— Alyssa Roberts (@alyssaaroberts) October 29, 2019
► If you had anything to do with the creation or funding of this mail piece, we have just one word for you: D’oh!
► A San Francisco man has come up with a pretty clever plan for demonstrating his opposition to Facebook’s policy of allowing non-factual political advertising on its platforms.
► We have a winner in Vail’s yard sign wars.