For those of you who haven’t already left town for a “four-day weekend,” allow us to catch you up on your political news. 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► President Trump is calling his own bluff — again — on a potential government shutdown. The White House is backing off of Trump’s most-recent threats to “shut down” the federal government if Congress doesn’t appropriate enough money to build a giant wall between the U.S.-Mexico border. As the Washington Post reports:
“Build that wall,” Trump said at the Aug. 22 rally in Phoenix. “Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.”
But shortly after Trump made those comments, White House officials quietly notified Congress that the $1.6 billion would not need to be in a “continuing resolution” that was meant to fund government operations from October until sometime in early December, a senior GOP congressional aide said…
…Trump could still follow through on a threat to shut down the government in December, but this marks the second time he has pulled back from the wall demand in order to allow lawmakers to pass a budget bill. The first time came in May, when lawmakers voted to authorize government funding through September and refrained from including money that would allow for the construction of a new wall.
The OVER/UNDER for the number of times that Trump will threaten to shut down the federal government (in 2017) is now at 3.5.
► Governor John Hickenlooper and his new BFF, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are promoting a healthcare policy plan of their own for Congress to get behind. The key tenets of the “Kasichlooper” plan are to stabilize insurance markets in part through retaining the “individual mandate” for insurance coverage. Governors from Nevada, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Virginia, Louisiana and Montana have also signed onto the plan.
Why is it so important to retain the “individual mandate?” Read this story from the Seattle Times about what happened in the state of Washington when state legislators dumped the mandate (SPOLER ALERT: It didn’t go well).
► President Trump is expected to rescind DACA — an Obama-era policy halting the deportation of children of undocumented immigrants — a decision that could mark a significant turning point for the electoral hopes of Republicans in years to come. Denver7 provides some Colorado-centered specifics:
They were brought to the U.S. as children of undocumented immigrants and a program called DACA allowed them to stay, to go to school and enter the workforce. But Thursday night, the hundreds of thousands of so-called ‘Dreamers,’ including those living in Colorado, fear their dreams could vanish as President Donald Trump nears a decision on whether to end DACA.
Denver7 talked to a local Dreamer, Monica Acosta about what’s at stake…
…This would essentially deport 17,000 Dreamers in Colorado and 800,000 across the country. Acosta is trying to cope and says she plans to stay put in the only place she has ever called home.
Officials with Denver Public Schools are warning that ending DACA would have “catastrophic” effects on the community as a whole. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced on Friday that he does not believe President Trump should axe DAVA.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday said that President Trump will donate $1 million of his own money to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. But Tony Schwartz, the co-author of Trump’s best-selling book “Art of the Deal,” doesn’t believe this will actually happen:
No way Trump donates $1m of own money to Harvey victims. He only promises to give. Never actually does.
— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) September 1, 2017
► As Carl Hulse writes for the New York Times, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey is changing the upcoming Congressional conversation on the budget:
The storm has utterly transformed the federal fiscal picture.
“This is going to change the whole dynamic for September and, quite frankly, for the Republican establishment for the remainder of the 115th Congress,” said G. William Hoagland, a longtime chief budget adviser to Senate Republicans who is now a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “The truth of the matter is, they don’t need money to build a wall in Texas, but to rebuild the shoreline in Texas.”
Facing a difficult September, deeply divided over spending and what to do about the debt limit, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders may find that a devastating storm has provided them the common cause that has proved so elusive after their failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Trump is eager to be seen as a competent manager in his first big test in a natural disaster, and a shutdown could shatter that image. Lawmakers want to deliver for the Texas and Louisiana communities pounded by Harvey, a region that is not only a driver of the national economy but a center of Republican strength.
► As Politico first reported earlier this week, special counsel Robert Mueller is teaming up with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as part of his investigation into potential collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for President. As the Washington Post explains, this is bad news for Trumpians:
While the involvement of Schneiderman could produce nothing and is in an early stage, the news sends an important message to President Trump: his pardon power does not extend to state crimes.
In the event Manafort or anyone else is charged under New York law, or threatened with indictment, there will be nothing Trump can do about it.
His “power to grant reprieves and pardons” only covers “offenses against the United States,” according to Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.
► Colorado’s former head of marijuana policy, Andrew Freedman, does some completely impractical Monday-morning quarterbacking on legal weed.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s first public “pot club” is getting close to opening its doors in Denver.
► As Colorado Pols readers already know, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is expected to enter the 2018 Republican field for Governor in early October.
► Republican state Rep. Lori Saine says she will introduce legislation in 2018 that would create a publicly-available map of oil and gas pipelines in Colorado. Saine represents the Firestone area of Colorado, where a deadly home explosion in April created new worries about rapid expansion of oil and gas operations.
► The chair of the Colorado Springs Republican Party has tendered his resignation after a little more than six months on the job.
► Residents of Texas and Louisiana are just starting to figure out how to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Next week, we could be talking about a different catastrophic storm in the U.S. — Hurricane Irma.
► Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who gained notoriety as a prominent supporter of Donald Trump, has resigned from his job without explanation.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► And now, the big announcement that you have all been waiting for: Colorado Springs has formally kicked off its stormwater ballot initiative campaign!
► This is what happens when you (justifiably) have no respect for your boss.
► The Denver Broncos finished their preseason schedule on Thursday night with a sparkling 4-0 record. Unfortunately, an undefeated preseason record doesn’t usually mean squat once the regular season begins.