Today is the 50th day of 2020; please celebrate responsibly. It’s time to 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…
► We really can’t be far away from Donald Trump declaring himself King of America. As The Washington Post reports:
On Tuesday, Trump granted clemency to a clutch of political allies, circumventing the usual Justice Department process. The pardons and commutations followed Trump’s moves to punish witnesses in his impeachment trial, publicly intervene in a pending legal case to urge leniency for a friend, attack a federal judge, accuse a juror of bias and threaten to sue his own government for investigating him.
Trump defended his actions, saying he has the right to shape the country’s legal systems as he sees fit. [Pols emphasis]
“I’m allowed to be totally involved,” he told reporters as he left Washington on Tuesday for a trip to California, Nevada and Arizona. “I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country. But I’ve chosen not to be involved.”
Of course, this is NOT true. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer in the United States, but when the AG just does whatever the President wants…
The president’s post-impeachment behavior has alarmed Attorney General William P. Barr, who has told people close to the president that he is willing to quit unless Trump stops publicly commenting on ongoing criminal matters, according to two administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. It also has appalled several legal experts and former officials, who have said his direct intervention in legal matters risks further politicizing law enforcement at a time of fraying confidence in the Justice Department.
As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Trump is almost daring Attorney General William Barr to quit his job:
Against the wishes of Attorney General William P. Barr, President Trump continued to tweet Wednesday about the Justice Department, relaying the sentiments of conservative allies that Barr should “clean house” and target those involved in the Russia investigation.
Former Colorado U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer is among many current and former Justice Department officials who think Barr should resign
You can thank Senate Republicans for fully unlocking Trump’s dictator mode. Here in Colorado, voters are well aware that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) voted for Trump’s impeachment acquittal purely as political protection.
► The Democratic candidates for President will debate tonight in Nevada, which will also mark the first on-stage appearance of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Here’s more on how candidates are courting Coloradans leading up to Super Tuesday on March 3:
♦ Jon Murray of The Denver Post breaks down how Bloomberg has been courting politicos in Colorado for decades.
♦ Elizabeth Warren has launched a new ad campaign in Colorado.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Republican Brenda Stokes, aka Brenda Valdez-Stokes, has filed to run for State Senate in SD-26 instead of challenging newly-appointed HD-38 Rep. Richard Champion in a Republican Primary. Stokes was one of the more outspoken “leaders” of the disastrous attempt at recalling Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan last summer.
► As Sandra Fish writes for The Colorado Sun, there’s a rift among Colorado anti-abortion groups that could impact whether or not a controversial proposal makes it onto the state ballot in November:
A split in the anti-abortion movement is generating questions about whether supporters can gather enough signatures in the next two weeks to put a ban on abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy on the November ballot.
The Colorado Republican Party and the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver are supporting the “End Late Abortions in Colorado” initiative to change state law. But the measure doesn’t have the support of all abortion opponents, most notably Colorado Right to Life, which will support only a total ban on abortion.
The Coalition for Women and Children, the issue committee promoting the effort, is using volunteers across the state to gather 124,632 valid voter signatures ahead of a March 4 deadline to submit signatures.
► As CNN reports, another top defense department official is being booted from his job at the request of President Trump:
The Pentagon’s top policy official John Rood resigned on Wednesday at the request of President Donald Trump, according to a copy of his resignation letter obtained by CNN.
John Rood, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, had lost support among senior national security leadership, one source said, and officials told CNN that he broke with the administration on several key issues.
“It is my understanding from Secretary Esper that you requested my resignation from serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Senior administration officials appointed by the President serve at the pleasure of the President, and therefore, as you have requested, I am providing my resignation effective February 28, 2020,” Rood wrote in his letter to President Donald Trump, dated Wednesday.
Trump also confirmed Rood’s departure in a tweet on Wednesday.
► As The Atlantic reports, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came THISCLOSE to challenging President Obama in a Democratic Primary in 2012.
► President Trump issued a series of high-profile pardons on Tuesday, including one for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who had been imprisoned in Englewood, Colorado. Chris Cillizza of CNN explains how you can get yourself a pardon from Trump; The Washington Post comes to the same conclusions.
► Senate President Leroy Garcia endorsed John Hickenlooper for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination on Tuesday.
► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) held a town-hall meeting in Littleton on Tuesday.
► Senator Cory Gardner will be in Carbondale on Friday for a posh fundraiser.
► The acting director of the Bureau of Land Management was in Grand Junction recently defending the BLM HQ’s move out of Washington D.C. William Pendley is notably NOT moving to Grand Junction with the rest of his staff.
► The Colorado Hospital Association announced its suggestion for health care reform in advance of a much-anticipated “public option” bill in the state legislature. House and Senate Democrats, meanwhile, are working on separate proposals to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.
► The death of the death penalty in Colorado is another step closer to reality.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► John Pence, the nephew of Vice President Mike Pence, was in Pueblo on Tuesday to teach a workshop that almost certainly wasn’t about being nice to other people.
► House Minority Leader Patrick Neville says that legislation intended to prevent the spread of HIV is just a “feel-good idea.”
► President Trump is still trying to worm his way into Greenland.
► Jobs in the solar industry are on the rise in Colorado and throughout the country.
► Vox.com explains where Bernie and Bloomberg are in perfect alignment.