Get More Smarter on Wednesday (December 4)

Today is “National Cookie Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. Now, let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The House Judiciary Committee today began its role in impeachment hearings by hearing testimony from prominent legal experts as to whether evidence unearthed thus far constitutes impeachable conduct by President Trump. Today’s hearings come one day after the House Intelligence Committee released a thorough report on findings from weeks of impeachment hearings and investigations. From The Washington Post:

“Ultimately the reason the Constitution provided for impeachment was to anticipate a situation like the one that is before you today,” Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman testified. “If we cannot impeach a president who uses his power for personal advantage, we no longer live in a democracy, we live in a monarchy or a dictatorship.”

The questioning had the air of an introductory constitutional law class focused on impeachment – including a featured chart listing the A, the B, and the C of high crimes and misdemeanors: Abuse of Power, Betrayal of National Interest, and Corruption of Elections.

House Democrats’ committee counsel Norm Eisen asked the law professors to explain whether it was necessary for Trump to have committed a statutory crime to be impeached. University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt said no. The scale of Trump’s obstruction was an abuse, he stressed, because it “torpedoes” the separation of powers in the Constitution.

“If what we’re talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,” he said.

One of the more dramatic moments in early testimony came after Republican Rep. Doug Collins questioned the knowledge and preparation of the legal experts testifying today. Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan was incensed at the suggestion:

“That everything I know about our Constitution and its values and my review of the evidentiary record and here, Mr. Collins, I would like to say to you, sir, that I read transcripts of every one of the witnesses who appeared in the live hearing because I would not speak about these things without reviewing the facts, so I’m insulted by the suggestion that as a law professor I don’t care about those facts.”

Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) are both members of the House Judiciary Committee and were in attendance this morning…though Buck must have had something more important to do later:

It was revealed last week that Buck, who also serves as the Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, blew off most of the prior impeachment hearings that he was invited to attend as a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

 

President Trump is making a fool of himself and the United States at the NATO summit in London, and foreign leaders are having a hard time ignoring the circus. As CNN explains:

After President Donald Trump called him “two-faced,” Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, admitted Wednesday that he and other world leaders were talking about the US President when they were caught on camera at a Buckingham Palace event the night before.

The video, which has gone viral, shows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Trudeau and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appearing to have a laugh about Trump’s behavior during the summit. But none of the leaders explicitly named Trump.

“Last night I made reference to the fact that there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump. I was happy to be part of it but it was certainly notable,” Trudeau said during a Wednesday press conference.

As The Washington Post adds, Trump was clearly stung by the reaction of his counterparts:

Trump was later caught on an audio recording bragging to an unidentified summit attendee, “That was funny when I said that guy was two-faced.”

CLICK HERE to watch the video of foreign leaders expressing exasperation with Trump during a conversation at Buckingham Palace.

 

► North Korea is making vague threats toward the United States about expecting a “Christmas Gift” in the upcoming weeks. From CNN:

The ominous comments, which some have interpreted as a sign that North Korea could resume long-distance missile tests, comes as the clock ticks closer to the country’s self-imposed end-of-year deadline for nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.
Talks between the two sides have appeared to be in a rut in recent months, with North Korea conducting several shorter-range missile tests.

In a statement translated on the state news agency, Ri Thae Song, a first vice minister at the North Korean Foreign Ministry working on US affairs, accused US policy makers of leveraging talks with Kim Jong Un for domestic political gain.

“The dialogue touted by the US is, in essence, nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep the DPRK bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the US,” Ri said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“It is entirely up to the US what Christmas gift it will select to get,” added Ri.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), the self-professed “leader in the Senate” on North Korea, STILL hasn’t said a public word about this or anything related to strained U.S. relations with South Korea.

Gardner also won’t comment on Trump’s claims of election interference by Ukraine, but he will still say that Russia should be labeled a “state sponsor of terror.”

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

 Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp defied President Trump on Wednesday by appointing someone to a vacant U.S. Senate seat who was not Trump’s preferred choice. As CNN explains:

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday appointed Atlanta businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to take over the seat of retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson.

Kemp, a Republican, had been pressed by President Donald Trump to appoint Rep. Doug Collins, CNN previously reported, but selected Loeffler in a rare act of defiance against Trump by a member of his own party.

Isakson is retiring on December 31 due to health concerns…

…Though Trump wanted the governor to pick Collins for the seat, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican and fierce defender of the President, indicated his support for Loeffler on Tuesday, saying she would be a “terrific” choice for the seat. The powerful National Republican Senatorial Committee also plans to support her in next year’s election, a source familiar with the matter has told CNN.

 

 President Trump waved away reporter questions about new information regarding a long list of phone calls made by personal attorney Rudy Giuliani that may provide more evidence in investigations into shady dealings with Ukraine. Vox.com examines the significance of this new information:

In addition to summing up the findings from weeks of testimony in the House impeachment inquiry, Intelligence Committee Democrats’ new report has a surprising inclusion — the phone records of several major players involved in the scandal, including President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a member of the committee, confirmed on CNN that investigators subpoenaed these phone records. And while the records can’t reveal what was actually said during these phone calls, they make clear that Giuliani was in close contact with the White House at key moments.

Giuliani also exchanged several calls with an unknown number identified in the report as “-1” — and though this isn’t confirmed, the report certainly seems to imply that this number is President Trump.

The records also raise further questions about the potential involvement of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Intelligence Committee’s top Republican, in the Ukraine affair. He has been accused of participating in the push for Ukrainian investigations into Trump’s rivals, and the records show he exchanged calls with Giuliani and his “fixer” Lev Parnas (who was arrested in October for campaign finance violations).

Congressman Nunes went on Fox News on Tuesday to try explaining why he is listed on so many phone calls with Giuliani and indicted Ukrainian associate Lev Parnas. Nunes played dumb, which comes naturally to him.

 

A company from Colorado’s Western Slope is in trouble for selling faulty grenade launchers to the U.S. military.

 

 Republican District Attorney George Brauchler says he is “troubled” by a 9News investigative report which found that gun stores in Colorado are illegally selling large-scale magazines for firearms.

 

► Five Colorado schools are reporting cases of Whooping Cough, which is easily prevented with vaccinations. Authorities are again begging Coloradans to get their children vaccinated. 

 

RTD is searching for an “interim” General Manager while it looks for a long-term replacement for retiring GM Dave Genova

 

► The nephew of Vice President Mike Pence is holding a workshop for Republicans in Colorado Springs on Saturday. 

 

► The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is spending as much as a few thousand dollars on a new digital ad critical of Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper

 

Politico examines the surprising collapse of the Presidential campaign of California Sen. Kamala Harris

 

 

Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) recently joked that he wished his ancestors had settled in Aspen instead of Yuma, Colorado. That might have prevented Gardner from skiing in jeans.

 

► Just a thought here, but maybe Rudy Giuliani should stay away from Ukraine for awhile?

 

ICYMI

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has not held a public town hall meeting in Colorado in more than two years. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) held a town hall meeting last Friday.

 

► Don’t miss this week’s episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, with Alan Franklin filling in for Ian Silverii and Jason Bane filling in for dead air.

 

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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8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Even more good news for Cory Gardner's efforts with the BLM coming west …

    House Dem: Moving BLM out of DC could result in lawsuits, decrease in diversity

    So here's the key idea —

    Office of Personnel Management data shows that black employees make up less than 3.5 percent of the agency’s workforce and of that number, 41 percent are located in D.C., Grijalva said. 

    With a significant portion of D.C.-based employees expected to reject the job transfer and instead leave BLM, he argued that diversity at the agency will plummet.

    “If there is a disparate impact on any protected class of employees, the agency would be exposed to significant legal liability that could rival the cost of the entire relocation,” Grijalva wrote.

  2. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    The Denver Post has more on the Grand Junction company that knowingly sold defective grenade launchers to the government:

    The company, Capco, substituted the high-quality steel used for a key part of the weapon for a cheaper, less durable steel that affected how the grenade launchers worked, according to a news release sent Tuesday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announcing the settlement.

    The company was aware that it used the wrong material in the grenade launchers, but shipped them to the Army anyway, according to federal prosecutors.

    A supervisor told the company’s quality-testing engineers not to speak of the substitute to anybody, according to the civil lawsuit filed in the case.

    But one engineer did not stay quiet. The whistle-blower, James Cole, told the company’s vice president of operations and a manager about the faulty parts in April 2017 but was ignored.

    Five months later, he was laid off, though the company hired another person to fill his position three days later, according to the lawsuit. The layoff was retaliation, according to the lawsuit.

    Man, if a red-blooded patriotic war profiteer can't rip-off Uncle Sam, who can?

    It's not like they endangered soldiers lives, or anything?  Oh, wait…

  3. kwtreekwtree says:

    Murderer George Zimmerman is now suing the parents of his victim, Trayvon Martin.

    Zimmerman claims that there was a “conspiracy “ to convict him. Zimmerman has his freedom. He was acquitted of all charges in the Florida “Stand your ground” case, and Trayvon’s parents have lost their son. Zimmerman has a long criminal history of fraud and domestic violence, aside from shooting an unarmed black teenager. 
     

    Donald Trump will be happy to tweet about this, backing up Zimmerman’s claims. It’s a distraction from impending impeachment, and a Russian strategy is to promote racial division in the a United States. 

  4. Powerful PearPowerful Pear says:

    So now you don’t believe in the jury system. Just say it, get rid of the Constitution.

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