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► A special COVID-19 legislative session that began on Monday is still expected to conclude today. The Associated Press has more on how things have been going at the State Capitol:
Colorado’s Democrat-led Legislature is plowing ahead on special session legislation to provide limited state relief to businesses, students and others affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Democrats have overcome Republican objections to the scope of the aid and GOP attempts to limit the Democratic governor’s ability to decree public health orders.
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed bills to direct $5 million to help residents to pay utility bills; $50 million to assist landlords and tenants; and $100 million to the governor’s office for use in the public health emergency.
Meghan Lopez of Denver7 has extra deets on Tuesday’s legislative events.
► Attorney General William Barr took his head out of President Trump’s rear-end and looked around on Tuesday. As The Washington Post explains:
Barr said Tuesday that he has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election,” undercutting claims that President Trump and his allies have made — without evidence — of widespread and significant voting irregularities.
His comments to the Associated Press, while caveated, make Barr the highest-ranking Trump administration official to break with the president on his allegation that the election was stolen, and they might offer political cover to other Republicans to stake out similar positions.
Trump himself, though, has shown no sign of backing down, and some of his Capitol Hill allies were critical of Barr’s assertions. Trump’s relationship with his attorney general was already deteriorating, with the president frustrated that Barr was unwilling to launch aggressive measures to support his fraud claims or take other steps that might benefit his reelection campaign.
► As Jessica Seaman reports for The Denver Post, Gov. Jared Polis appeared on Tuesday with Dr. Anthony Fauci to discuss the status of COVID-19 in Colorado:
“Colorado is not alone in seeing a spike in cases,” Fauci said during the virtual news conference, adding, “If you look across the United States we are really in a public health crisis right now because we are having a surge the likes of which is worst than the surges we all saw in the late winter, early spring.”
The addition of Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to Polis’ briefing on Tuesday comes as state and public health officials are concerned that Thanksgiving and the upcoming December holidays will create a “surge upon a surge.”
Fauci said that the majority of Americans could receive a vaccination for COVID-19 by the second quarter of 2021. As Denver7 reports, a group of Denver Metro-area mayors are asking Polis to do more to enforce restrictions intended to slow the spread of the virus.
► The United Kingdom became the first country to grant formal approval for a COVID-19 vaccine. The first doses of a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech could start being distributed in the UK by next week.
► Here’s one way to be sure that Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect: Senate Republicans are suddenly very concerned about the national debt after spending like drunken sailors for the last four years.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
And Now, More News…
► Republicans have themselves a real Donald Trump problem ahead of the 2024 Presidential election. As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:
President Donald Trump isn’t even trying to be coy anymore.
“It’s been an amazing four years,” he told a group of guests at a White House Christmas party on Tuesday night. “We are trying to do another four years. Otherwise, I’ll see you in four years.”
That pretty much says it all — especially when you consider that there’s reporting out there that suggests Trump may well announce his 2024 candidacy on the same day that Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
And that is an absolute disaster for the Republican Party. [Pols emphasis]
Cillizza’s argument is that Trump was rejected at the polls in 2020 while other Republican candidates fared better than expected, which might be hard to repeat if Trump lingers:
All of that goes out the window if Trump is in the 2024 race. Trump would be, without question, the clear favorite for the presidential nomination and, as such, would suck up virtually all of the oxygen within the party. Even if somehow he lost, the race would revolve around him. The working dynamic of the contest — assuming any serious Republicans attempted to challenge him — would be Trump vs anti-Trump. Any discussion of policy or the future of the Republican Party would be subsumed by what we have had the last four years: One long conversation that can be summed up by “Did you see what he just tweeted?!?!?”
► Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn says that President Trump should declare “martial law” and somehow force a new election. This proposal is apparently the brainchild of a Tea Party group from Ohio.
Flynn was pardoned by Trump last week for his role in lying to federal investigators about alleged Russian election interference. As Vox.com reports, the Flynn pardon is probably just the first in a string of pardons to come:
Preemptive pardons aren’t unprecedented, but they are unusual, and come far closer to a sort of presidential declaration that the president’s associates should be above the law. And Trump’s use of the tactic for Flynn hints at just how far he could go in his final weeks in office.
Several of Trump’s former top campaign advisers — Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone — have been charged with or convicted of specific crimes, for which they could be pardoned. (Trump already commuted Roger Stone’s sentence but has not yet granted him a full pardon.)
The universe of potential preemptive pardons, though, is far broader. For while many Trump associates have been charged with crimes, an even greater number have been investigated but have not faced any charges.
For instance, there’s the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt reported Tuesday morning that, “as recently as last week,” Giuliani discussed “the possibility of receiving a pre-emptive pardon” from Trump (though Giuliani denied this on Twitter). Federal prosecutors in New York have probed Giuliani’s business activities and indicted two of his associates.
Trump has apparently discussed pardoning Giuliani and members of his own family, including daughter Ivanka Trump.
► Congresswoman-elect Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert has a habit of playing dumb when confronted with information about any illegal or improper acts. She won’t be able to keep playing the same card forever.
► Governor Jared Polis says that inmates in Colorado prisons will NOT receive a COVID-19 vaccination before members of the general public.
► Westword has more details on the COVID-19 diagnosis for Gov. Jared Polis and First Dude Marlon Reis.
► President Trump took some time off from golfing to threaten a veto on Tuesday evening. As The Washington Post explains:
President Trump upended months of careful, bipartisan negotiations on Tuesday night by threatening to veto a $740 billion bill to fund the military unless Congress includes language to remove liability protections for Facebook, Twitter, Google and other technology companies that have drawn his ire.
In a pair of tweets at 9:45 p.m., Trump demanded the repeal of a 24-year-old federal statute known as Section 230, which has been the legal foundation for free expression on the World Wide Web…
…The White House did not respond to a request for an explanation of why a 1996 amendment to a 1934 communications law represents “a serious threat to our National Security.” There is no evidence that it does. Section 230 has no meaningful nexus with national security. [Pols emphasis]
► As John Harris writes for POLITICO, lefty critics of President-elect Joe Biden are misremembering recent history:
As a journalist, count me in for a good old-fashioned ideological bloodletting. Intraparty conflict on matters of genuine principle is an important story; in the fashion of a forest fire, it can sometimes be an agent of party renewal.
In the case of the scowling warnings about who does and does not have the left’s seal of approval for duty in the incoming Biden administration, however, the conflict rests heavily on optical illusion.
These are matters of personal preference—and, in some cases, genuine differences over political strategy—masquerading as vital ideological questions. It’s possible many people making the arguments for and against potential Biden appointees don’t know how flimsy the factual predicates for their strong opinions really are.
► Democrat Joe Biden has won the state of Georgia. Again.
► You should probably avoid visiting Castle Rock anytime soon.
► Denver7 updates on a quick local turnaround after Colorado voters approved a measure to allow increased betting limits in gaming towns. The City of Black Hawk will allow unlimited single-bet wagering beginning in May 2021.
► The East Troublesome Fire, the second-largest wildfire in Colorado history, is finally 100% contained.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Maybe we should stop holding elections for the position of coroner.
► The Onion sums up the current state of President Trump’s election overturning:
► The Big Line 2022 is in the house!
► Check out the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Sulita Sualau and Ron Ruggiero of SEIU Local 105:
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