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► Attorney General William Barr is testifying in front of the House Judiciary Committee today. The Washington Post previews the fireworks:
As he makes a highly anticipated appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Attorney General William P. Barr is expected to face critical questions from Democrats about the government’s response to anti-police brutality protests across the nation, his controversial interventions in high-profile cases and an array of other matters.
Barr will tell the House Judiciary Committee that President Trump has not inappropriately intervened in Justice Department business — even though Barr has more than once moved in criminal cases to help the president’s allies — and he will defend the administration’s response to civil unrest in the country, according to a copy of his opening statement.
Barr, according to the statement, will take a defiant posture as he testifies before the panel for the first time since Democrats took control of it, alleging that they have attempted to “discredit” him since he vowed to investigate the 2016 FBI probe of possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, and the media has been unfair in covering unrest.
Two Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation sit on the House Judiciary Committee: Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley). As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, the word of the day will be “obfuscation.”
Click here for live video and updates on Barr’s testimony.
The GOP bill arrives as Congress faces a pressing deadline: Enhanced unemployment insurance (UI) is set to expire this week, with millions receiving their final federal unemployment payments allotted by the Cares Act this past weekend. A federal eviction moratorium has also elapsed, and state and local governments increasingly feeling the strain of both dwindling tax revenues and rising coronavirus costs are looking to Congress for help.
Republicans have long chafed at spending more money on stimulus, and this reluctance is apparent in the new bill. Currently, UI recipients are receiving an extra $600 per week on top of their standard benefits, an amount Republicans would like to cut to $200 through September. Additionally, GOP lawmakers have prioritized the inclusion of liability protections for businesses, which would shield them from coronavirus-related lawsuits, while appearing to shy away from more funds for state and local governments.
Republicans introduced their stimulus bill, dubbed the Heals Act, 10 weeks after House Democrats passed their version, the Heroes Act, in the lower chamber. While the two proposals have some overlap — including support for another round of $1,200 stimulus checks — lawmakers have many other differences they still need to work out.
The headline here is that Senate Republicans are seeking to cut the amount of money provided for extended unemployment insurance by two-thirds. Colorado Public Radio looks at the impact on the Senate’s failure for some 330,000 Coloradans.
► The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is making a fool out of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) by deciding to keep running a controversial TV ad centering on the explosion of a home in Firestone in 2017. The NRSC had agreed to pull the ad last week after multiple complaints, including a half-hearted plea from Gardner himself to drop the spot.
► Colorado hit a new weekly high for COVID-19 cases, but it is unclear if these numbers indicate a troubling trajectory. Elsewhere, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock warned in his annual State of the City address that the battle with COVID-19 is far from over.
► New polling in Colorado shows Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden with a double-digit lead over President Trump. The same poll shows Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper maintaining a solid advantage over incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). Hickenlooper also boasts a 13-point advantage over Gardner among Unaffiliated voters in Colorado.
As Morning Consult explains, Democrats are leading Republicans in key races across the country.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
Now Only Partially Coronavirus-Related…
► The bad news keeps on coming for Sen. Cory Gardner:
We’re investing $7.5 million this cycle to elect gun safety candidates up and down the ballot—including this new $1.25M ad now airing in Colorado.
— Giffords (@GiffordsCourage) July 28, 2020
► Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is expected to announce his running mate by the end of the month. As POLITICO reports, former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice appears to be making a late push for the top spot:
The chatter is loud enough that allies of others being eyed for the vice presidency are increasingly worried about Rice, especially because of her close ties to Biden, who, as Obama’s No. 2, had an office just steps away from hers.
Privately, some in California Sen. Kamala Harris’ world have indicated that Rice could be Harris’ most formidable rival for the vice presidential slot. Harris is widely considered the candidate with the best shot at being Biden’s running mate — she went through the press wringer when she ran against him in the primary and has decent name recognition. Like Rice, she would represent the first Black woman on a major-party presidential ticket.
No one rules it out, but there’s less speculation that Rice would run for the Oval Office the way Harris almost certainly would post-Biden. That might give Rice an edge in the veepstakes, especially if Biden — who has hinted he may serve one term — doesn’t want to deal with the distraction of a governing partner eyeing his job.
We asked Colorado Pols readers to weigh in on potential VP choices last week, and Rice was a solid #2 behind Sen. Kamala Harris.
► Senate Republicans have been holding up a new coronavirus relief package in large part out of sheer incompetence, but also because they have a few specific axes to grind. One of those is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s persistent belief that new legislation must require legal protections for businesses should employees contract COVID-19. As POLITICO reports, this is not the problem McConnell makes it out to be:
Yet data suggests that coronavirus-related litigation isn’t very contagious.
Of the 3,727 coronavirus-related cases that have been filed since March, just 185, or less than 5 percent, fall into the personal injury category that McConnell describes — plaintiffs claiming fear of exposure, potential exposure or exposure to Covid-19, according to an analysis by the American Association for Justice of a litigation tracker run by law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth.Instead, the bulk of the legal actions deal with insurance claims and civil rights,including people challenging stay-at-home orders…
…That rate of filings is relatively low, labor law experts and advocates say, considering that more than 4 million cases of coronavirus have been reported in the U.S., and some 145,000 people have died.
In a separate story, POLITICO notes that these are not good days to be Majority Leader McConnell.
► On the subject of a coronavirus relief package, Senate Republicans appear to be ceding to a demand by President Trump to include funding in any new legislation to…build a new FBI building in Washington D.C.? From The New York Times:
The proposal drew outrage from Democrats, who charged that it was an attempt by Mr. Trump to use the economic stabilization package — meant to help struggling Americans weather a pandemic and a recession — to enrich himself.
They have long charged that Mr. Trump intervened to make sure the F.B.I. scuttled plans to erect a new headquarters in suburban Washington and instead chose to refurbish its existing building, in order to make sure that the site was not redeveloped with a project that would compete with his company’s luxury hotel across the street. The Justice Department’s top investigator last year launched an inquiry into the decision.
“They managed to have enough money for $2 billion for the F.B.I. headquarters that benefits Trump hotel, and they say they have no money for food assistance?” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, said on Monday. “What the heck is going on?”
Some leading Senate Republicans, who included the F.B.I. building money in the $1 trillion recovery package they rolled out on Monday, appeared not to know themselves.
► The American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teacher’s union, has authorized members to go on strike should school districts attempt to re-open without proper safety protocols in place. Fox 31 Denver looks at the concerns of local teachers ahead of schools reopening in Colorado.
► The first Presidential debate, scheduled for Sept. 29, has been moved from The University of Norte Dame in Indiana to Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Notre Dame announced earlier that it could no longer host the first debate because of COVID-19 concerns.
► Anthony A. Mestas of The Pueblo Chieftain demonstrates how to write an entire story about a campaign stop with no attempt whatsoever to provide any balancing context.
► Last week, Twitter significantly restricted content related to QAnon conspiracy theories, labeling it as “coordinated harmful activity.” On Tuesday, Twitter got tough with Donald Trump, Jr. From The Washington Post:
Twitter on Tuesday penalized Donald Trump Jr. for posting hydroxychloroquine misinformation, the social media giant said, underlining the tough stance it has taken in policing misleading posts from high-profile users including the president in recent weeks.
Twitter said it ordered the president’s son to delete the misleading tweet and said it would “limit some account functionality for 12 hours.”
The tweet, which featured a viral video showing a group of doctors making misleading and false claims about the coronavirus pandemic, was directly tweeted by Trump Jr.‘s account. That contrasts with his father, who retweeted multiple clips of the same video to his 84.2 million followers Monday night.
Twitter removed the videos, deleting several of the tweets that President Trump shared, and added a note to its trending topics warning about the potential risks of hydroxychloroquine use.
► Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman continues to promote a tougher stance against protestors upset over the death of Elijah McClain and the treatment of minorities in general. Over the weekend, Coffman had to backtrack after initially labeling protestors as “domestic terrorists.”
► If you didn’t return your U.S. Census form, expect to get a knock on the door soon.
► The new U.S. Space Force will be headquartered in Colorado Springs for the near future. Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora will be home to a new Space Force garrison.
► You won’t be surprised to learn that Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is embracing far-right militia groups as she campaigns for Congress in CO-3.
► Officials are concerned about an increase in cases of vehicles driving into protestors.
► Jennifer Brown of The Colorado Sun examines the growing problem of what to do about homeless camps in Denver.
► We should all be very glad that Republican Brian Watson was not elected State Treasurer in 2018.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Raise your hand if you are at all surprised at this news — any of it — from The Huffington Post:
President Donald Trump’s campaign is violating federal election law by funneling close to a quarter-billion dollars to date through private companies in order to hide the ultimate recipients of the money, including the wife of one of his sons and the girlfriend of another, a watchdog group charged in a complaint filed Tuesday.
“The money is being laundered through corporations run by top Trump campaign officials,” said Brendan Fischer, a lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center. “That has the effect of keeping the public in the dark as to a big chunk of Trump campaign spending.”
The group’s complaint with the Federal Election Commission asks for an investigation to put an end to the practice and to punish the campaign with fines.
How quickly any of that might happen, though, is an open question, given that the commission currently does not have a quorum to take official actions.
► The Onion, for the win:
► Governor Jared Polis notched a big win for Colorado’s environment last week.
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with HD-38 candidate David Ortiz:
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