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► The second impeachment trial against former President Trump begins today. As The Washington Post explains, the strategy expected to be deployed by Trump attorneys is shaky at best:
The arguments by opposing lawyers in the Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump this week are expected to revolve largely around a pair of constitutional questions: A First Amendment defense of his fiery speech ahead of the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and a challenge to the legality of putting a former president on trial.
Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, and the only one to be tried in the Senate after leaving office. While an impeachment proceeding is distinct from a typical criminal trial, with a different set of rules, Trump’s case will feature broad legal questions about whether his actions violate the Constitution.
Most legal scholars who have studied the issue think post-presidential impeachment and conviction are allowed based on history and past practice in Congress. “The overwhelming scholarly consensus supports this argument,” said Steve Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
As NBC News reports, House impeachment managers are expected to introduce some new evidence this week:
The case that House Democrats have built against former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, which kicks off Tuesday afternoon, will resemble a “violent crime criminal prosecution,” a senior aide on the impeachment manager team said.
The House managers also plan to use evidence against Trump that hasn’t been seen before, aides told reporters ahead of the start of proceedings, although they did not provide any details.
In their presentation, the managers will attempt to show that Trump spent weeks laying the groundwork for the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and that after he saw what was happening “he incited it further,” an aide said.
Colorado will be represented well during Impeachment 2.0, with both Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) serving as House impeachment managers. Ernest Luning has more on the roles for DeGette and Neguse in this story from the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
DeGette said the “managers,” as they’re known, intend to “finish the job” started by the House on Jan. 13, when 10 Republicans joined every Democrat to impeach Trump on a single article for “incitement of insurrection.”…
…DeGette, who worked as a civil rights attorney before election to Congress, and Neguse, an experienced litigator and former head of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies, were appointed to the high-profile positions by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
From a more national perspective, Vanity Fair previews Impeachment 2.0 with a story featuring Congressman Neguse.
► The news just keep getting worse for Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle), who now faces an official Congressional Ethics complaint related to her questionable campaign expenditures to herself for $22,000 of “mileage” reimbursements and related questions about whether that money was used to pay off liens on her restaurant.
► As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, Colorado is doing a pretty good job of containing the COVID-19 pandemic:
Colorado continues to make progress in reducing new cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19, but whether that continues will depend on what people to do — and how widely more-contagious versions of the virus are spreading.
As of Monday afternoon, 535 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. That’s a little over a quarter of the number of people receiving hospital care for the virus at the worst point in December, but more than twice the number at the low point over the summer.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 8,460 new cases in the week ending Sunday. It was the lowest weekly total since mid-October.
We’re nowhere close to being out of the woods yet, of course. Keep wearing those masks and practicing social distancing!
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
As Promised, More Words…
► As The Washington Post reports, lawyers for former President Trump will attempt to re-write recent history during Impeachment 2.0:
► President Biden seems determined to avoid some of the same mistakes made early in President Obama’s administration. From POLITICO:
Already, there’s talk about midterm attack ads portraying Republicans as willing to slash taxes for the wealthy but too stingy to cut checks for people struggling during the deadly pandemic. And President Joe Biden’s aides and allies are vowing not to make the same mistakes as previous administrations going into the midterms elections. They are pulling together plans to ensure Americans know about every dollar delivered and job kept because of the bill they’re crafting. And there is confidence that the Covid-19 relief package will ultimately emerge not as a liability for Democrats, but as an election year battering ram.
“This is one of those rare instances — maybe not exceedingly rare, but it doesn’t happen often — where the best policy perfectly aligns with the politics,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), a Biden ally. “If I’m a candidate in 2022 running for the House or Senate, I think I’d want to be able to say we’ve had a robust Covid-19 relief bill, we raised the minimum wage, we made progress on health care, we’ve started to make progress on combating climate change and a whole range of issues candidates would want to run on.”
Over the first weeks of the new administration, White House officials stressed that they are singularly focused on moving the “rescue” legislation and unprecedented response to the pandemic through Congress.
Biden and advisers insist they would prefer Republican cooperation on the $1.9 trillion legislation, which calls for direct checks, money for school reopenings and funds for a robust vaccine effort. But their eyes have also started to drift toward what comes after the package becomes law: a major political undertaking to cement the bill’s popularity among voters.
► CBS4 Denver has more on legislation that will be introduced when the state legislature re-convenes next week that is intended to help Colorado kids identify “fake news”:
A school teacher turned state lawmaker, Rep. Barbara McLachlan says kids who consume news almost exclusively online are especially vulnerable. A study by Stanford University found 82 percent of middle school students can’t tell the difference between an online ad and a news story.
McLachlan and State Rep. Lisa Cutter are carrying a bill to improve media literacy among kids.
► Former Senator Cory Gardner has emerged from whatever hole he’s been hiding inside since a blowout loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper in November. If you thought Gardner might have been able to finagle a better job than being the new Chair of a Republican-aligned SuperPAC, you’re not alone.
► The Secretary of State’s office in Georgia has launched an investigation into former President Trump’s attempts to convince SOS Brad Raffensberger to “find” enough votes to give Trump a victory over Joe Biden.
► Factually inaccurate? Check.
Logically ridiculous? Check.
Flat-out disgusting? Check.
That’s 3-for-3 for Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) on Twitter Monday.
► A former Republican official running for city council in Grand Junction has quite the racist social media history.
Over in Denver, a man with a history of making anti-semitic comments wants to become the new Vice-Chair of the Denver Republican Party.
► As Denver7 reports, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) is responding to criticism about a vote during last week’s “vote-a-rama” Republican effort to derail a new federal stimulus package.
► Westword takes a look at some of the early candidates looking to defeat Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert in 2022.
On the subject of Boebert, the CO-3 Republican introduced yet another worthless piece of legislation, this time seeking to overturn President Biden’s temporary ban on oil and gas leases on federal lands. Boebert’s legislative approach thus far is little more than introducing bills opposing anything suggested by Biden; she has yet to propose a new idea of her own.
► Ford is putting a lot of effort into producing N95-level masks with a transparent front.
► As 9News reports, two Colorado lawmakers are working on a proposal for an immigrant legal defense fund.
► The Colorado Sun reports on local frustration with the rollout of additional federal unemployment benefits.
► The New York Times looks at how the Republican Party came to align itself with various militia groups.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado dentists were already well-prepared to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Say What, Now?
► Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs is, um, an interesting guy:
It’s terrifying how many Americans have acquiesced to the shadow takeover of our freedoms by the Chinese Communist Party.
15 days….to become like China. https://t.co/dGz531IWE5
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) February 9, 2021
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has a batshit crazy idea about what really happened on January 6. From Chris Cillizza at CNN:
And the reason I haven’t heard it before is because, even when compared to other conspiracy theories floating around out there, it’s just so outlandish. Pelosi pushed the impeachment of Trump to cover up her own role in the January 6 riot? What role? And when Johnson says that the impeachment trial could be aimed at deflecting “what the Speaker knew and when she knew it,” what the actual hell is he talking about?
The honest answer is not even he knows. Remember that this is the same Johnson who, back in the spring of 2020, argued that we were overblowing what the number of people dying from Covid-19 meant about the virus’ impact on society. And the same Johnson who demanded that former Attorney General Bill Barr prove that there was no evidence of election fraud in the 2020 election.
So, yeah, there’s a track record here. But that doesn’t excuse what Johnson is doing. This is a sitting US senator suggesting that the speaker of the House triggered an impeachment charge against the outgoing president solely to cover her tracks over, uh, something.
► As POLITICO reports, former President Trump is confident that he will emerge from Impeachment 2.0 victorious and still in control of the Republican Party.
► The CU Independent, the student newspaper at CU-Boulder, is not mincing words about visiting conservative “professor” John Eastman, who advised former President Trump that he could overturn the result of the 2020 Presidential election:
While ideological diversity in a learning environment is important, an ideology that threatens our nation’s security and disparages our university’s reputation shouldn’t be left free of consequences.
► Now that you’re done reading, adjust your ears and check out the newest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with House Speaker Alec Garnett.
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A question for any of our esteemed esquires: is a secret vote for conviction prohibited by the Constitution, or rules of the Senate?
Yes. All votes of the Senate must be open. However, that is just a rule that could be over rode. I think allowing secret balloting would not go well for anyone involved and would only serve the conspiracy theorists.
However, now that the trial has started, I don’t think they can go back and change any of these rules anyway.