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► Chris Cillizza of CNN highlights a very important moment from Tuesday that might be getting lost because of coronavirus news:
The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is chaired by Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, released its long-awaited 156-page report detailing its investigation into allegations that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election.
And what did their investigation find? That Russia engaged in a deep and broad effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 race, aiming to help Donald Trump win. “The Committee found no reason to dispute the Intelligence Community’s conclusions,” said Burr in a statement on his committee’s findings…
…Here’s the thing that the Senate Intelligence Committee report should drive home for Trump — and everyone else: it is now entirely and completely beyond dispute that Russia sought to interfere in the last presidential election to help Trump and hurt Clinton.
In order to not believe that, you have to accept that the entire intelligence community, Mueller and his entire team and the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee are ALL in on some sort of elaborate and incredibly well-coordinated scheme to deceive the American public because, uh, they all don’t like Trump or something? [Pols emphasis]
► The director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, is warning that a winter round of coronavirus could be much, much worse. From The Washington Post:
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in an interview with The Washington Post. “And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”
“We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time,” he said. Having two simultaneous respiratory outbreaks would put unimaginable strain on the health-care system, he said. The first wave of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has already killed more than 42,000 people across the country. It has overwhelmed hospitals and revealed gaping shortages in test kits, ventilators and protective equipment for health-care workers.
In a wide-ranging interview, Redfield said federal and state officials need to use the coming months to prepare for what lies ahead. As stay-at-home orders are lifted, officials need to stress the continued importance of social distancing. Officials also need to massively scale up their ability to identify the infected through testing and find everyone they interact with through contact tracing. Doing so prevents new cases from becoming larger outbreaks.
Asked about the appropriateness of protests against stay-at-home orders and calls on states to be “liberated” from restrictions, Redfield said: “It’s not helpful.” [Pols emphasis]
True as it may be, that last line probably means that Redfield won’t get to talk to reporters again for awhile. Saying mean things about President Trump gets you put into “time out” in this administration.
► Colorado Public Radio digs into the differences between “stay-at-home” and “safe-at-home” as Colorado takes cautious steps toward relaxing social distancing guidelines.
► Here’s your daily CNN fact-check of President Trump’s coronavirus briefing.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
SERIOUSLY, THERE WILL BE NON-CORONAVIRUS NEWS MOMENTARILY…
► The Washington Post looks at how the lack of a nationwide coronavirus testing strategy is playing out negatively for many states:
When it comes to battling the spread of the novel coronavirus, Kentucky and Rhode Island might look similar on paper. They’ve done comparable numbers of diagnostic tests and lost similar numbers of residents to the disease.
But there’s one key difference. Kentucky has more than four times Rhode Island’s population, meaning it has tested 0.7 percent of its residents, compared with Rhode Island’s 3.7 percent, the highest per capita testing level in the United States.
The difference suggests Rhode Island probably has a better sense of the virus’s spread throughout the state, making it better prepared to curb it.
The contrast offers a clear illustration of the challenges posed by a state-by-state testing strategy, in the absence of a national plan coordinated by the federal government.
► National Public Radio examines the risks associated with relaxing social distancing measures too soon:
Federal health officials estimated in early April that more than 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if all social distancing measures are abandoned, and later estimates pushed the possible death toll even higher, according to documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. Some outside experts say even that grim outlook may be too optimistic.
The documents, created by the Department of Health and Human Services, spell out the data and analysis the agency is sharing with other federal agencies to help shape their responses to the coronavirus.
While the White House’s coronavirus task force has cited other models created at academic institutions, the federal government has not made public its own modeling efforts. The documents paint the fullest picture yet of the assumptions underpinning the government’s response to the pandemic.
► Governor Jared Polis is telling school superintendents to prepare for a scenario in which schools are not able to physically re-open until 2021.
► Here’s a joint Op-Ed in The Denver Post authored by Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) and the man he replaced in Congress, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman.
► Colorado Public Radio tries to keep track of where all the coronavirus relief money is going in Colorado.
► The lede in this story from The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel tells you everything you need to know:
Even though the coronavirus aid package approved by Congress last month does not allocate funds to less populated cities and counties, the Mesa County Board of Commissioners approved sending a letter to Gov. Jared Polis on Monday lambasting him for not doing so anyway.
This is kinda like your kid yelling at the neighbor when he doesn’t receive his weekly allowance.
► As POLITICO reports, governors from the southeastern U.S. are joining together in a death pact of sorts:
Republican governors across the Southeast are teaming up to reopen the region’s economy, even as they lack the testing to know how rapidly the coronavirus is spreading.
One health expert called the political decision a “perfect storm” for the virus to reassert itself.
The newly formed coalition includes Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, a part of the country that has underfunded health systems, as well as high rates of obesity, diabetes and other illnesses that amplify the deadliness of the coronavirus.
And unlike their peers in New York, New Jersey and other Northeastern states that have been working cooperatively since last week to restart their economies, the six in the South have lagged on testing and social distancing measures.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, meanwhile, seems hell-bent on making sure that his state leads the country in coronavirus deaths. As Dana Milbank explains for The Washington Post:
Kemp, a Republican and an ally of President Trump, just called for the reopening within days of his state’s gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body-art studios, barbers, nail salons, cosmetologists, aestheticians, beauty schools, massage therapists, theaters, private social clubs and dine-in restaurants.
He’s doing this even though the state ranks near last in testing, even though it’s not clear that covid-19 cases are declining there, and even knowing “we’re probably going to have to see our cases continue to go up,” as Kemp himself said.
Public health experts fear coronavirus will burn through Georgia like nothing has since William Tecumseh Sherman. But Kemp is making a big gamble that his constituents wouldn’t want to swab places with anyone, and that tourists will be dying to get to Georgia in any class of travel — economy, economy plus or intensive care — as the Peachtree State remakes itself as the Petri State.
AT LAST: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS (MOSTLY) NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► Democrat John Hickenlooper picked up some big endorsements in his campaign for U.S. Senate. From a press release:
End Citizens United (ECU) and Let America Vote (LAV) today endorsed Governor John Hickenlooper for U.S. Senate in Colorado. Hickenlooper is highlighting his commitment to reforming our broken campaign finance system by running a grassroots-powered campaign and rejecting corporate PAC money.
The endorsement coincides with End Citizens United’s naming of Senator Cory Gardner to the Big Money 20, the group’s top targets to defeat in 2020. ECU’s Big Money 20 campaign is focused on defeating incumbents who are rigging the system for their own benefit and to favor their big money donors. The campaign will expose this corruption by showing voters how politicians like Senator Gardner put corporate special interest donors ahead of the people they’re supposed to represent.
► As The New York Times reports, there are a lot of shadowy right-wing hands behind the recent anti-social distancing protests:
An informal coalition of influential conservative leaders and groups, some with close connections to the White House, has been quietly working to nurture protests and apply political and legal pressure to overturn state and local orders intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The groups have tapped their networks to drive up turnout at recent rallies in state capitals, dispatched their lawyers to file lawsuits, and paid for polling and research to undercut the arguments behind restrictions that have closed businesses and limited the movement of most Americans.
Among those fighting the orders are FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots, which played pivotal roles in the beginning of Tea Party protests starting more than a decade ago. Also involved are a law firm led partly by former Trump White House officials, a network of state-based conservative policy groups, and an ad hoc coalition of conservative leaders known as Save Our Country that has advised the White House on strategies for a tiered reopening of the economy.
The effort picked up some influential support on Tuesday, when Attorney General William P. Barr expressed concerns about state-level restrictions potentially infringing on constitutional rights, and suggested that, if that occurred, the Justice Department might weigh in, including by supporting legal challenges by others.
► Democrat Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign is breaking down President Trump’s poor response to the coronavirus pandemic into “four Cs”:
The memo says that the campaign plans to focus on “four critical errors” made by Mr. Trump. First, “The Chinese government” and how the president praised Xi Jinping without fighting “anywhere near hard enough to get the facts.” Second, “Cover-up” and how Mr. Trump “denied and downplayed the danger.” Third, “Chaos” and how the White House’s “mismanaged response did not get us ready. Finally, “Corporate favoritism” and how Mr. Trump delayed enacting the Defense Production Act to order industries to begin producing medical supplies and testing equipment and how federal relief “favors big companies and those with special access over small businesses.”
► Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Ferrigno Warren will see her name on the June Primary ballot even though she came nowhere close to collecting enough valid petition signatures as required by law. From The Denver Post:
“Ms. Ferrigno Warren has substantially complied with the Election Code’s signature threshold, distribution and validity requirements,” District Judge Christopher J. Baumann wrote at the end of a 28-page decision.
The Secretary of State’s Office has not decided whether to appeal the decision, according to a spokesman. The office has three days to decide.
Warren, a Democrat, turned in 5,383 valid signatures March 17, far fewer than the 10,500 — 1,500 from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts — traditionally required for U.S. Senate candidates. She filed a lawsuit that same day, alleging the coronavirus pandemic unfairly stunted signature-gathering.
So, apparently the legal definition of “substantial compliance” is do about 50% of the required work. Fellow Democrat Lorena Garcia actually got fairly close to collecting the right amount of valid signatures, so her legal challenge will likely end with getting her name on the ballot as well.
► A state hearing into a dubious ethics complaint against former Gov. John Hickenlooper has been delayed until May because coronavirus.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► If you had Missouri in the office pool for the state most likely to sue China over the coronavirus, you may collect your winnings.
► Most Americans disagree with anti-social distancing protestors:
An overwhelming majority of Americans, Republicans included, are rejecting right-wing protests — encouraged by President Trump — to immediately “reopen” the country in the midst of the world’s largest and deadliest coronavirus outbreak, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.
The survey, conducted April 17 to April 19, found that a full 60 percent of the public opposes the largely pro-Trump protesters whose calls for governors to “liberate” their states by lifting lockdown measures have attracted intense media attention in recent days — and whose message the president amplified Friday in a series of all-caps “LIBERATE” tweets about three swing states: Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia.
Only 22 percent of Americans say they support the protesters. Despite Trump’s messaging, even Republicans oppose the protests 47 percent to 36 percent.
► This might be the most important story of the 2020 election.
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