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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The House of Representatives will vote today to send articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the announcement today and introduced the seven House Members who will serve as “impeachment managers.” One of them is Colorado’s own Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora).
The Washington Post breaks down how Crow ended up being among Pelosi’s chosen few:
The Democrat from Colorado is in his first term as Congress. Before Congress, he served as an Army Ranger, leading combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also partner in a law firm in Colorado. According to the Almanac of American Politics, he wasn’t a prosecutor, but he “conducted internal investigations nationwide, responded to emergency events and handled a wide-range of government inquiries.” He also represents the kind of district — a suburban one in a swing state — that Democrats will need to hold onto in November to keep their majorities.
He is the only manager who does not sit on any of the impeachment inquiry committees, but he had a role in swaying Pelosi to authorize the impeachment inquiry. He was one of seven House freshmen with national security backgrounds who co-authored a Washington Post op-ed calling Trump’s actions on Ukraine impeachable, a move that signaled a significant momentum shift within the Democratic caucus. Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry a day after that published.
Crow’s selection provides a stark contrast to the impeachment involvement of another key Colorado elected official: Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). As Justin Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, Gardner just keeps ducking questions about President Trump:
Gardner’s office declined again Tuesday to answer questions from The Denver Post about whether he would support a motion to dismiss the two charges against Trump or vote to allow witnesses in a Senate trial that’s expected to begin next week. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah have said they want to keep open the option of hearing from witnesses after opening arguments.
CBS reported Monday that the White House expects at least four Republicans will vote to call witnesses in the Senate trial. That “possibly” includes Gardner, according to the report, though he has said nothing to indicate that he will. There are 53 Senate Republicans, and a simple majority of 51 votes will be needed to pass trial rules.
Silence has become the norm for Gardner on the topic of impeachment. His office previously declined to say whether witnesses should be called and whether he agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “total coordination” with the White House.
The New York Times apparently wasn’t able to corner the squirrelly Senator, either:
In the Capitol on Tuesday, Mr. Gardner was making himself scarce. When Republicans wrapped up a luncheon featuring a discussion of trial procedure, he zipped out a back door and headed for a little-used elevator, avoiding a throng of waiting reporters.
“I’m sorry, he’s got to get going,” an aide to Mr. Gardner told a reporter who followed him, as the elevator doors opened and the senator slipped inside. Then Mr. Gardner jumped in, begging off any discussion of whether he could be the elusive fourth vote who could upend hopes of a quick acquittal of Mr. Trump.
► Evidence continues to mount against President Trump ahead of a Senate impeachment trial. As Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post:
One can only imagine what evidence we have yet to see during the impeachment proceedings against President Trump. With each new tranche of evidence — including emails regarding the hold on military aid to Ukraine and now documents from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani’s — the conclusion that Trump abused power and obstructed the investigation becomes incontrovertible…
…Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells me the new evidence is ” jaw-dropping” and “highly incriminating of both Giuliani and Trump.”
Um holy sh*t. This certainly makes it sound like Parnas and co. were actively tracking Yovanovitch’s movements. This could explain why Yovanovitch was moved out of Ukraine so quickly. https://t.co/4rBRB06ZGN pic.twitter.com/5Gc8WcGPih
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) January 14, 2020
► Candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination met for another debate on Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa — just three weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Who won and who lost the big debate? Here are a few takes from The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, The New York Times, and The Des Moines Register.
► Today is the deadline for open enrollment for health care coverage through Connect for Health Colorado.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► President Trump is mad about toilets, sinks, showers, and dishwashers. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:
Here’s Trump on showers, sinks and, yes, toilets during a “Keep America Great” campaign rally in Milwaukee on Tuesday night:
“But sinks, toilets and showers. You don’t get any water. They put restrictors on and now they made them permanent. People used to take them out. They put restrictors on. Try going and buying a new faucet. You turn it on, no water comes out. Right? We won’t talk about toilets, but you know that’s true. Ten, fifteen — but we don’t talk about that. Because I’ve said this three or four times, the only subject they ever talk about is toilet, so I don’t mention it. But how about the shower? You go into a shower, and I have this beautiful head of hair. I need a lot of water. You go into the shower, right? You turn on the water. Drip, drip, drip. I call the guy, something wrong with this? No, sir. It’s just the restrictor. So you’re in there five times longer than you’re supposed to be. You use probably more water. And it’s a very unpleasant experience. Right? So we’re getting rid of the restrictors, you’re going to have full shower flow. You’ll see. Did you ever go to the faucet, you turn on the faucet to wash your hands, and it turns on so easy. It’s like this, you know, because there’s zero pressure behind it, no water. You go like that the thing flips on and whoa. And then dunk, dunk. These people are crazy.”
Truly amazing stuff there.
Trump’s war on water pressure is of a piece with other battles he has fought against inanimate objects during his presidency — from windmills (“They’re noisy. They kill the birds.”) to lightbulbs (“I want an incandescent light. I want to look better, OK? I want to pay less money to look better”). But of late, this battle against the forces of weak water pressure has taken precedence.
Ladies and gentlemen, the actual President of the United States of America.
► As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is hiring everyone in Colorado.
► The Denver Police Department will resume enforcement of an “urban camping ban” in the city.
► THE ENTIRE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT is resigning as President Vladimir Putin attempts a new power play aimed at ensuring that he remains the unquestioned leader of Russia once his current term in office ends. As CNN explains:
The entire Russian government is resigning, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced Wednesday, after Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping reforms that could extend his decades-long grip on power beyond the end of his presidency.
Putin thanked members of the government for their work but added that “not everything worked out.” Putin added that in the near future he would meet with each member of the cabinet. The mass resignation includes Medvedev.
The surprise announcement came after Putin proposed constitutional amendments that would strengthen the powers of the prime minister and parliament at the expense of the presidency.
Taking power from the presidency and handing it to parliament could signal a power shift that has been long speculated about in Russia.
Putin’s critics have suggested that he is considering various scenarios to retain control of the country after his presidential term ends in 2024, including the option of becoming prime minister with extended powers. Similarly, in 2008 Putin swapped places with the prime minister to circumvent the constitutional provision banning the same person from serving two consecutive terms.
It’s good to be the King.
► The campaign website for the re-election of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) seems to have vanished information about Gardner’s long-held opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
► Senator Gardner has been touting his work to create a new three-digit mental health hotline. 9News explains how this works and where the money comes from.
► Former Governor John Hickenlooper raised a record amount of money in Q4 as part of his campaign for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. Hickenlooper raised $2.8 million and now has $3.2 million cash on hand.
► A bipartisan end to the death penalty in Colorado moves ever closer to fruition.
► If you are of the opinion that 5G wireless networks will melt your brain, then you won’t be pleased with legislation sponsored by Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver).
► Governor Jared Polis wants Colorado lawmakers to approve a “public option” in Colorado for the purpose of increasing affordable access to health care. As Colorado Public Radio reports, Polis is dug in for a fight:
Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday that Coloradans are being “ripped off” by the health care industry and a public insurance option could help cut costs.
The public option is one of Polis’ top priorities in the new legislative session, but it’s already coming under fire from critics in the medical and insurance industries. Polis told Colorado Matters it’s time for the state to step in.
“America spends twice as much on healthcare per person as other wealthy industrialized countries. Our health results are in the middle of the pack,” Polis said. “In Colorado, it’s actually even worse. The Colorado for-profit hospitals are the second-most profitable in the country from overcharging patients.”
For now, the public insurance option would only be offered to individuals buying their own insurance, not those with access to employer-backed plans. The state would set the parameters, including reimbursement rates for providers.
A bill to create the public option is still being drafted.
In late December, Polis discussed strategy and policy surrounding a public option on The Get More Smarter Podcast.
► Colorado Republicans are pushing a handful of anti-abortion bills in the state legislature — including a total ban of the procedure.
► New poll results from Conservation Colorado indicate that Climate Change has overtaken all other issues as the top priority for Colorado voters in 2020.
► State Rep. Perry Buck (R-Greeley) will likely soon resign from the legislature in order to pursue an opening as a Weld County commissioner.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Check out the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast and get an early look at the upcoming legislative week with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett.