Cory Gardner Finally Speaks on Impeachment…and WTF???

UPDATE #5 (2:25 pm): Sen. Cory Gardner has voted to acquit President Donald Trump on both articles of impeachment.


UPDATE #4 (1:40 pm): Wait, what?

JOE ST. GEORGE: I’m curious about precedent here. Do you believe that this will now allow future Presidents to do this? Will this allow you to ask a foreign leader to investigate John Hickenlooper?

CORY GARDNER: No, look, foreign interference in our elections is absolutely wrong – anytime, any place, anywhere. [Pols emphasis] And I have done a lot to make sure that we eliminate foreign interference in our elections…


UPDATE #3 (1:25 pm): We need to add another question to our list below:

(9) When you were speaking on the Senate floor, were you not aware that Sen. Mitt Romney had already announced that he would vote YES on abuse of power?


UPDATE #2 (1:20 pm): Gardner’s media tour is NOT going well. From Nick Riccardi of the Associated Press:


UPDATE (1:00 pm): Gardner finally speaks on the Senate floor, but his timing is off. Gardner railed on impeachment as a partisan exercise — even though Republican Sen. Mitt Romney had already announced that he would vote YES on the charge of abuse of power against President Trump.

Gardner also complains that the House of Representatives rushed the impeachment process, which doesn’t square at all with the fact that he voted against calling new witnesses — and thus extending the trial — just a few days ago.





BREAKING: Sen. Mitt Romney Will Vote To Convict Trump

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on a monumental development moments ago in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump: Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah will vote to convict and remove Trump from office.

“I swore an oath before God to apply impartial justice. And, as you know, I’m a very religious person. I take that very seriously,” Romney, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told The Salt Lake Tribune ahead of his vote. “And so I looked at the evidence in a very unbiased manner and concluded that that the president had done as was alleged — that he did ask a foreign government to interfere in the election, that he did pressure that government by withholding aid.

“That’s as egregious an assault on the Constitution of our country,” he added, “as I can imagine that a president might make.”

Romney said he will vote to acquit the president on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, because he doesn’t believe the House took all the steps it needed to test the president’s assertion of executive privilege covering witness testimony and documents sought in the inquiry.

Sen. Romney’s vote to convict Trump on the first and most substantial of the impeachment articles assures that the vote to convict will be bipartisan–and we do believe the first presidential impeachment trial conviction vote to attract bipartisan support in American history. While it’s still almost certain that the 67 votes needed to remove Trump from office will not emerge today, Romney’s powerful condemnation of Trump’s conduct throws the defenses of Trump by fellow Republicans ranging from total denial to equivocal admission of a problem into harsh relief.

Sen. Cory Gardner, allegedly due to speak at some point before the final vote, now has a lot less cover to help Trump cover this thing up. Stay tuned for updates — the drama isn’t over yet.


The Get More Smarter Podcast: Impeach the Caucuses!

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Alan Franklin discuss the disastrous Iowa caucuses; the final day of the Senate impeachment trial; and what we learned from a couple of big last-minute campaign finance reports. We also chat again with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett in our regular “Smart Alec” crossover, covering topics including the death of a puppy mill bill; the latest on efforts to repeal the death penalty; legislation that would allow college athletes to get paid; and how Colorado decided to ditch its Presidential caucus system in favor of holding a straightforward vote. It would be impossible to not Get More Smarter this week!

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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Will Cory Gardner Say ANYTHING on Impeachment?

UPDATE: The Senate has adjourned for the day. Gardner did not speak.


Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) does not like talking about the subject of President Trump’s misconduct. He doesn’t talk to reporters or constituents. If he gets cornered by journalists, he melts into a puddle of pitiful talking points or blabbers out some nonsense like, “We have a trial.”

Today is the last day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. Many U.S. Senators, including those facing difficult re-election campaigns in 2020, are explaining how and why they plan to vote for Trump’s acquittal on Wednesday.

But not Cory Gardner.

As CNN’s Manu Raju reported on Monday:

A number of Republican senators on Monday dodged questions about whether President Donald Trump acted appropriately with Ukraine, underscoring the internal GOP divide about his conduct even as the Senate is poised to acquit him later this week on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Many Republicans instead are eager to shift the attention away from the President’s conduct and onto House Democrats, whom they argue failed to prove that Trump’s actions warrant his removal from office. Yet they won’t say if Trump acted appropriately in urging Ukraine to announce investigations that would help him politically, highlighting the fine line many are walking as they seek to avoid angering the President while not endorsing his actions…

Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner, one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection, would not comment about Trump’s conduct after the closing arguments were delivered on Monday. Gardner last week joined 50 of his GOP colleagues in voting to block any witnesses or subpoenas for documents in the Senate trial.

“We’re still in the middle of this trial,” Gardner said when asked if Trump’s conduct was appropriate. “We still have tomorrow to deliberate and consider. I made my comments about witnesses, and I’m not going to go on screen now that I still think we’re in the middle of an important process.”

After a reporter noted that closing arguments had ended, Gardner said he would reserve his comments for the Colorado press. “I’ll talk to them,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

You can forgive local reporters for not believing that #CoverUpCory plans on speaking with them on the subject of Trump’s transgressions. Our guess is that Gardner’s office will issue some sort of statement once the trial is concluded — “We HAD a trial,” perhaps? — and that will be all we hear from the Yuma Republican. At most Gardner will show up as a guest on some small right-wing radio program in Colorado in the next week, or his office will again convince Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver to pretend to interview him.

Gardner has made it this far without saying anything of substance about Trump, Ukraine, or impeachment; there is little reason to think he’ll break that streak. On the first day of impeachment hearings in the House of Represenatives, Gardner issued a video statement about…some sort of new committee related to the Olympics.

Gardner knows full well that the central arguments in Trump’s defense are complete horseshit, but he’s cool with it. Late last week — after much equivocating and obfuscation — Gardner finally acknowledged (via statement) that he planned to vote against the introduction of new witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, all but closing the door on any possibility of a serious accounting of the accusations against President Trump.

We’ll update this post if Gardner actually speaks about his vote on the Senate floor (or anywhere else, for that matter). We don’t need to tell you not to hold your breath.


Rep. Tom Sullivan Gets Big Ups In Bloomberg Ad

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, presently spending more money than you’ll see in a lifetime every couple of days to brute force his way into contention, has an undeniably powerful new ad running this week featuring state Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial. Rep. Sullivan’s loyalty to Bloomberg straightforwardly relates to both mens’ advocacy on gun violence prevention–Sullivan’s signature issue as the father of a victim of the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting.

For Rep. Sullivan, this ad–and more importantly the budget to ensure it airs at a saturation level–pays dividends no matter what happens in the long run with Bloomberg’s presidential campaign. Sullivan is increasingly viewed as one of the better assets in Colorado Democrats’ talent pool for upward mobility, a status that was significantly boosted by the extremely ill-advised attempt by Colorado Republicans to recall Sullivan last summer.

After this ad, more people will know Tom Sullivan’s story than ever before.


There Will Be Some Stuff from Iowa Today

UPDATE: Partial results finally in, with 62% of precincts reporting via smoke signal and Pony Express:


As The Washington Post reports:

The Iowa Democratic Party plans to release results from the caucuses late Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

In a call with campaign aides, state party leaders said they would aim to release “50 percent of all results” starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to audio of the call shared with The Washington Post…

…Iowa Democratic Party chair Troy Price said that they would release at least 50 percent of the results, but demurred when pressed for when the additional results would come.

“We’re continuing to work through that process. As soon as we can,” Price said. “Today, tomorrow, the next day, a week, a month. We’re continuing to work through our process.”

So, uh, yeah.


Ken Buck’s Jaws Still Unhelpfully Flapping

UPDATE: Note that the GOP Senator who first fielded a similar question, Joni Ernst of Iowa, swiftly walked back her answer:

“That was taken entirely out of context. The point is that the Democrats have lowered the bar so far that … regardless of who it is, if you have a different party in the House than that of an elected president, you can have just random comments thrown out there with folks saying we’re going to impeach,” Ernst said when asked by The Hill about her earlier Biden comments.

“So, no, it was taken out of context. I didn’t say what the headlines [said] but simply that we‘ve lowered the bar so much, is this really what the American people want? And I would say no, it’s not,” she continued. [Pols emphasis]

Looks like Rep. Ken Buck is down, however–and not just impeachment right after an election like Sen. Ernst suggested. Buck is ready to rock right now.

And yes, that says more about Rep. Buck than it does about reality.


Rep. Ken Buck (R) repeals Obamacare, except not really.

AP and 9NEWS reporting–Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, who has been at times surprisingly (and we assume unintentionally) feckless in the defense of President Donald Trump during the years of investigations leading up to Trump’s impeachment, continues to fire off rhetorical broadsides as the final vote in the Senate trial approaches that are unlikely to age well:

Following a senator’s warning that former Vice President Joe Biden could face impeachment the day after becoming president, if he were to be elected, Colorado Congressman Ken Buck said there was no reason to wait…

“Well, I would say this. There’s no reason to wait for that. Vice President Biden could be impeached now,” Buck said. [Pols emphasis] “There’s no reason that you have to only impeach someone that is in office. You can hold the hearings. You can gather the evidence. You can move forward. But the extent of the corruption that you see, at least the allegations of corruption, that you see around the Biden family is very troubling.”

Rep. Buck made these remarks in an interview yesterday on the Fox Business channel, which if you haven’t had the pleasure is where Rupert Murdoch dishes out the conservative red meat too outlandish even for the “mainstream” Fox News Channel! Obviously, the idea of a Democratic House impeaching a former Democratic vice president years after leaving office who just happens to be running for President is sufficiently far-fetched that it wouldn’t even make a believable SNL skit.

So why say it at all? The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter:

Buck’s spokeswoman, Lindsey Curnutte, said the congressman believes Democrats have set the bar so low that any future president could be impeached under new Democratic standards. Buck also believes Congress has an oversight role and that there are serious allegations surrounding the Bidens, she said.

“In last night’s interview,” Curnutte said Tuesday, “he was laying out Congress’ constitutional ability to impeach former federal officials.”

Morgan Carroll, chair of the state Democratic Party, released this comment: “Ken Buck’s absurd statement demonstrates the serious moral decay of today’s Republican Party leaders. Impeachment is a serious and somber process used only for the most egregious abuses of office.”

For the purpose of distracting from the impeachment trial and undermining its legitimacy with already persuaded base Republican voters, Buck is keeping up a consistent drumbeat. Outside the not-even Fox News but Fox Business conservative news bubble, however, where no evidence to support any of the allegations against the Bidens has ever been uncovered, and a majority of Americans do not buy any of this based on their support for Trump’s impeachment and all evidence against Trump to have been considered?

Buck is just insulting people’s intelligence. Anywhere a GOP seat is less safe than Buck’s own, he isn’t helping.


Iowa Caucus Night Open Thread

UPDATE: So, uh, Politico reports:

The Iowa caucuses spun into disarray late Monday, as reporting inconsistencies delayed results and cast an air of doubt over the first contest of the 2020 primary campaign.

The disorder on caucus night threatened to last far deeper into the night, and most of the candidates responded by delivering remarks to their supporters before the final votes were reported, skating past the issues and declaring they would move on to New Hampshire, the site of the next contest.

Are we witnessing the final Iowa caucus? Stay tuned…


It’s the end of the beginning.


Get More Smarter on Monday (February 3)

It’s cold, wet, and icy today — please be careful out there, and don’t put stock in weather forecasts from rodents. 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.


Closing arguments are being made today in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, though acquittal appears to be a foregone conclusion — nevermind a new NBC News/Wall St. Journal poll showing that most Americans believe Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress. On Friday, Republican Senators blocked efforts to add new witnesses or documents to the impeachment inquiry, effectively ending any hope of a real trial in the Senate.

House impeachment managers are nevertheless making their final case today in the Senate. “Your duty demands you convict President Trump,” said Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) today on the Senate floor. As The Denver Post reports:

The Aurora Democrat spoke first Monday morning as the seven impeachment managers made their final case to the Senate and the American people. He quoted from the nation’s Founding Fathers and former giants of the Senate, such as Daniel Webster, as he urged senators to do what they almost certainly will not do: convict the president and remove him from office. [Pols emphasis]

“I submit to you, on behalf of the House of Representatives, that your duty demands you convict President Trump,” Crow said. “I don’t pretend this is an easy process. It’s not designed to be easy. It shouldn’t be easy to impeach or convict a president. Impeachment is an extraordinary remedy, a tool only to be used in rare instances of grave misconduct, but it is in the Constitution for a reason.

“In America, no one is above the law, even those elected president of the United States, and I would say, especially those elected president of the United States.”

You can watch Rep. Crow’s entire closing argument below:



► Meanwhile, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is still getting a lot of impeachment-related attention…but not in a good way. #CoverUpCory has become a national trend.

The editorial board of The Aurora Sentinel calls out Gardner and his fellow Republicans for their cowardice on impeachment:

America can add Jan. 31, 2020 to the list of the nation’s most appalling blunders.

Defying their sworn duty, overwhelming public opinion and decency, the Republican Party on that day succumbed to fear and corruption in the impeachment case against President Donald Trump.

Friday became historical as the day Senate Republicans refused to seek the truth about just how far the president had gone in blackmailing Ukranian officials, forcing them to undermine Trump’s political opponent…

…Republicans, and the entire nation know full well that a tsunami of truth and facts will eventually wash away Trump’s deceptions and obfuscations. Cowardly members of Trump’s own party, however,  prevented those revelations now.

Instead, Jan. 31, 2020 was the day Senate Republicans like Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner shrank in fear and colluded in the scheme to hide Trump’s crimes from the American public. [Pols emphasis]


► It’s caucus day in Iowa. Readers of Colorado Pols will tell you who is going to win tonight. The Washington Post takes a look at how the ghost of Hillary Clinton still haunts Democrats in Iowa. Here’s a primer on the Iowa caucuses and how they will be different than they were in 2016.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)


Neguse Slams Trump For Restricting Immigration From Eritrea

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette)

AP and the Denver Post reported Friday, and we wanted to make sure it got a mention:

The Trump administration announced Friday that it is curbing legal immigration from six additional countries that officials said did not meet security standards, as part of an election-year push to further restrict immigration.

Officials said immigrants from Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania will face new restrictions in obtaining certain visas to come to the United States. But it is not a total travel ban, unlike President Donald Trump’s earlier effort that generated outrage around the world for unfairly targeting Muslims…

“America offered my family freedom and the opportunity to live the American dream,” said Neguse, of Lafayette. “The president’s ban does not align with American values or promises our country offers to migrants and refugees. I’m committed to making sure America welcomes all faith and religions.”

Historically independent, Eritrea endured a long and bloody conflict with neighboring Ethiopia that resulted in a large refugee diaspora and over 20,000 Eritreans migrating to the U.S. by 2000. Rep. Joe Neguse’s parents came to the U.S. during that conflict, and Neguse’s story as the son of immigrants from a war-torn nation is major plank in his biography.

A total of about 12,000 people from the six affected countries are estimated to be impacted by the new travel restrictions:

The new ban will “result in more suffering for untold numbers of families who will be prevented from reuniting,” said Mariko Hirose, litigation director for the International Refugee Assistance Project, in response to the announcement. “Many of our clients, who are in extremely vulnerable situations, will once again be harmed by this order, among them Eritrean children trying to reunite with their family members in the United States.”

Like so much else in the last three years, it’s likely that the swiftest remedy for these new travel restrictions will be the 2020 elections–especially after the new conservative Supreme Court backed the Trump administration over the first round of travel bans. Between now and then, we expect to see Rep. Neguse making the case for Trump’s ouster on this action and his personal story.


Who Will Win the Iowa Caucuses?

Today is the day! The 2020 campaign for President kicks into another gear today with the Iowa caucuses, so we want to know how you think things are going to play out.

Remember, as with all of our totally non-scientific polls here at Colorado Pols, we want to know what you think will happen, not who you support or what outcome you would prefer. Think of it like a placing a wager on a sporting event; if you had to put money on the outcome in Iowa, who would you pick?

Cast your vote after the jump…



Bloomberg Opens Primo Real Estate LoDo Office

Michael Bloomberg.

As the Denver Post’s Sam Tabachnik reports:

Presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg unveiled his plan to increase taxes on the rich Saturday in downtown Denver, touting his effectiveness as mayor of New York and his role in passing gun legislation across the country as he made his case to Colorado voters that he is the man best positioned to defeat Donald Trump in November…

The campaign event came as Bloomberg, who entered the crowded Democratic field in November, has focused on hitting the “Super Tuesday” states, such as Colorado, while eschewing the early voting states where most of the presidential candidates have been camped out for a year.

The 77-year-old has used his vast war chest of personal funds to flood the airwaves with advertisements on the Front Range since entering the race as he builds out the field’s most extensive operations in the state. The new field office on 15th Street and Blake Street marks Bloomberg’s ninth office in Colorado, with more than 50 staffers on the payroll, his campaign said.

Huffington Post’s Ryan Grenoble captures the mood inside Mike Bloomberg’s capacity crowd:

Just after taking the stage at his presidential campaign’s new flagship office in downtown Denver on Saturday, Michael Bloomberg — net worth $61 billion — joked about wanting to find a stand-in so he could instead spend the day at his Vail vacation home.

Instead of alienating the at-capacity crowd in the 5,000-square-foot former Patagonia store, the largely white, slightly older audience gave a knowing laugh.

While Bloomberg’s wealth has drawn scorn from critics who accuse him of attempting to buy the presidency, that concern wasn’t shared by many attendees.

So here’s the deal, gentle readers: we’ve been hard on Michael Bloomberg in this space for some years now, and when Bloomberg first announced he was wading into the already-crowded 2020 Democratic presdential primary we were, to put in mildly, unreceptive. With that said, Bloomberg is doing the one thing we would tell every wealthy candidate who wants this fabulously expensive endeavor to actually succeed, which is to go all in.

And Mike Bloomberg is undeniably all in, having already spent almost $200 million since entering the race in late November–an amount of money this early in the race that only be called staggering and unprecedented. By comparison the top fundraiser in the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, had raised only about $34 million at the end of Q4 2019. Bloomberg is reportedly paying several times the going rate for every kind of staffer, from lowly field organizers to campaign management. That’s more money for their time than most rank-and-file campaign workers will ever see, and it’s an offer that many of the state’s best political organizers and consultants simply couldn’t refuse.

The big game is won by buying up the talent, right? That’s the theory.

Bloomberg is targeting Colorado as a Super Tuesday state, which appears to be the main focus of his campaign strategy–sidestepping the earliest races in order to make a strong Super Tuesday showing and calibrate from there. If Bloomberg doesn’t do well on Super Tuesday, it’s likely to be a short campaign. In that event, Bloomberg will have the chance to keep the second part of his promise to Democrats in exchange for consenting to his participation in the primary–to use the massive campaign infrastructure he has built in just a few months to help whoever wins the nomination defeat Donald Trump.

Until then, he’s got the nicest office in town. And we’ll see where this goes.


BOOM! Gardner Barely Cracks $2 Million in Q4

Yes, those numbers stink.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) finally reported his Q4 2019 fundraising numbers this afternoon. They are positively shocking.

Gardner raised just more than $2 million in Q4 — or about 40% less than Democratic challenger John Hickenlooper ($2.8 million raised in Q4). Gardner’s $2,030,797 end-of-year filing includes $334,000 in committee transfers, meaning that his campaign only actually raised about $1.63 from actual contributors.

The obvious takeaway here is bad news for Gardner. In Arizona, incumbent Sen. Martha McSally DOUBLED Gardner’s Q4 fundraising. Like Gardner, McSally is running for re-election in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country in 2020. Unlike Gardner, Republican donors appear to be interested in helping McSally get re-elected. Gardner has $7.7 million cash on hand after five years in the U.S. Senate; McSally has $7.6 million in the bank and has only been in office for one year (she was selected to fill the end of John McCain’s term).

We’ll leave the last word for Gardner’s own campaign, which must be getting dizzy from so much ridiculous spin. Gardner Campaign Manager Casey Contres is calling his boss’s Q4 fundraising “historic,” which is certainly true — just not in a good way.


Romanoff Posts Awful Q4 Fundraising Numbers

Andrew Romanoff

Former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, one of many candidates seeking the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 2020, filed his Q4 2019 fundraising report this afternoon…

It’s not good.

Romanoff reported raising about $313,000 in the last three months of 2019, leaving his campaign with roughly $686,000 cash on hand to start 2020. He also reported spending about $352,000 in Q4, which puts his burn rate somewhere south of terrible and well beyond anything sustainable.

These numbers would be fine if Romanoff were a candidate for Congress, but they are catastrophic for someone seeking a U.S. Senate seat in what is expected to be one of the most competitive races in the country in November. Here’s how Romanoff’s numbers compare to some of the other fundraising reports from the last quarter:


Romanoff can probably list a number of reasons as to why his fundraising has been so poor, but it doesn’t really matter why he is having trouble raising money. In 2020, you cannot win a U.S. Senate seat with a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Democratic frontrunner John Hickenlooper is putting together the necessary resources to win a tough U.S. Senate race after joining the field in late August. Romanoff has been a candidate for twice as long but has raised only about one-fifth of what Hickenlooper has reported.

Tomorrow is the first day of February in an Election Year. Romanoff is out of time.


Danger, Scott Tipton

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter updates on the CD-3 money race, where incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton finds himself with a new challenge: a wealthy Democratic opponent who can effectively counter Tipton’s financial advantage as a protected GOP incumbent:

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

Honestly, we would have expected James Iacino’s self-funding to be a much larger percentage of his almost $300,000 total than $20,000–an indicator that this heretofore politically unknown businessman can compete in this race on Tipton’s level, and in the 4th quarter of 2019 well above Tipton. That’s a new data point for everyone watching this race to consider.

Although Tipton’s upstart primary challenger Lauren Boebert logged a little less than $30,000 in the fourth quarter–in fairness raised in just a few weeks after Boebert announced her run in early December–Tipton’s lackluster fundraising relative to one possible Democratic challenger could actually have the effect of boosting her campaign. Boebert can counter that she would have all the money she needs to defend the seat in the event she wins the primary, and Tipton isn’t pulling away enough to take her out of the running just yet.

Either way we’re looking at different dynamics in the 2020 CD-3 race so far than we’ve seen in previous election years, which have ended anticlimactically for Scott Tipton. In 2020, an easy cruise to victory for the GOP incumbent in this race cannot be guaranteed.


“Red Flag” Law Works, But (Duh) Don’t Lie Under Oath


As the Denver Post’s Elise Schmelzer reports, an arrest warrant for felony perjury has been issued in a controversial extreme risk protection order (ERPO) case out of Larimer County–a “red flag” request filed by the mother of a man killed by Colorado State University police, in which Susan Holmes claimed under penalty of perjury that she “shared a child” with the officer in question:

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office issued the warrant for Susan Holmes on suspicion of first-degree perjury and attempt to influence a public servant, spokesman Jered Kramer said. Holmes has not been arrested, Kramer said.

Online court records show the warrant was issued Jan. 23, one week after Holmes appeared in court to argue that the state confiscate Colorado State University police Cpl. Philip Morris‘ guns for a year. Morris shot and killed Holmes’ son, Jeremy Holmes, in 2017. The warrant was first reported by The Coloradoan.

Susan Holmes said on the petition that she and Morris shared a child together. In an interview with The Denver Post, she said that wasn’t true but that she had a legal theory she planned to use to justify her statement. She declined to explain the legal theory.

The case resulted in momentary drama after opponents of the new “red flag” law seized on Holmes’ pro se filing as evidence that “the red flag law would be abused to harass and intimidate lawful gun owners.” Because Holmes did not file the temporary request for an ERPO that would normally precede the main hearing, the case remained in limbo for about 48 hours until a judge could review the request and immediately throw it out.

Due to some initial “fog of war” confusion over Holmes’ irregular filing, it took about the same amount of time for the facts to catch up to the hype: there was never a temporary ERPO issued in the case, and the police officer in question was never ordered to relinquish his guns or subjected to any other penalty. As soon as the request was reviewed by a judge it was dismissed, and because the request was made based on a plainly false statement Susan Holmes is now subject to prosecution for lying under oath.

Setting aside the tragic nature of Holmes’ dispute with the CSU Police, what we have here is a clear case of the ERPO law working exactly as designed. It is already against the law to lie under oath (see: Denver AirBnB scofflaws). In addition to providing a legal process to remove guns from persons ruled by a judge to be a threat to themselves and/or others, the law also adheres to evidentiary standards and relies on due process like every other law to protect against false complaints.

Tell your friends, because there’s a decent chance in the last two weeks they’ve heard differently.


Get More Smarter on Friday (January 31)

Happy Nauru Independence Day; please celebrate responsibly. 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.


► It appears that we are nearing the inevitable conclusion of President Trump’s acquittal at the hands of Senate Republicans who refuse to see anything wrong with anything wrong. On Thursday evening, Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander — who is not seeking re-election — was nevertheless unable to summon the courage to support a call for more witnesses in the Senate trial. Maine Sen. Susan Collins announced that she WOULD support a call for witness testimony, but without Alexander’s support there probably aren’t enough Republicans to make that happen. CNN’s Chris Cillizza breaks down how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept his caucus together on avoiding new witnesses.

As The Washington Post reports, the end is near — though it may be drawn out a bit longer still:

While many Republicans have expressed hopes that the expected failure of a vote to call new witnesses would mean a rapid end to Trump’s impeachment trial, officials are warning that might not be the case.

A longer schedule could mean the trial stretches beyond Monday’s Iowa caucuses, further complicating the campaign schedules of the four senators seeking the Democratic nomination who are sitting as jurors.

A senior administration official and two congressional officials said Friday it was unlikely that senators would rush immediately to a verdict after the witness vote fails. They requested anonymity to speak candidly about internal discussions.

The administration official and a congressional official raised the possibility that the Senate could take up a new procedural resolution laying out rules for the trial’s endgame — which could include time for closing arguments, private deliberations and public speeches by senators.

The Senate passed such a supplemental resolution in the middle of the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

Perhaps no Senate Republican is more emblematic of the GOP’s blind loyalty to Trump than Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner. As Greg Sargent of The Washington Post revealed on Thursday, there is significant evidence that Gardner has known for years that former Vice President Joe Biden did nothing unethical in relation to his dealings with Ukraine, which invalidates a key Trump argument about why $391 million in foreign aid was withheld from the country.

You’ll be seeing a lot of the hashtag #CoverUpCory over the next year.


► Jason Salzman of the Colorado Times-Recorder takes an impeachment-related comparison of two of the most endangered Republican Senators in 2020: Gardner and Susan Collins of Maine. You can probably guess who ends up looking better.


► Monday is the deadline to change your voter affiliation in Colorado if you want to cast a vote in the March 3 Democratic Presidential Primary. There will probably not be chaos.


► As Jim Anderson writes for the Associated Press, legislation to repeal the death penalty in Colorado moved a step closer to passage with a vote in the State Senate.


► We’re still waiting for end-of-year fundraising reports from several federal campaigns, most notably those of Sen. Cory Gardner and Democratic Senate challenger Andrew Romanoff. If both campaigns wait as long as possible to file their reports, you probably won’t hear anything about the numbers until Saturday.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)


At Least Your Mayor is Wearing Pants

Mahwah, NJ Mayor John Roth, pictured here in pants.

One of our longest-running features here at Colorado Pols is something we like to call, “At Least They’re Not Your Legislator.” This week, we take you to New Jersey, where a local mayor (quite literally) got caught with his pants down.

From the New York Post:

A New Jersey mayor has apologized after getting so sloshed at a work party that he stripped off his trousers and passed out in a female employee’s bed.

Mahwah Mayor John Roth was exposed after an anonymous letter signed by “concerned employees of the township of Mahwah” began circulating last week, according to reports.

The Manhattan-raised pol, 71, admitted to on Wednesday that he had “too much to drink” at the party, which was attended by about two dozen town staffers at the employee’s house on Jan. 10.

“I did go upstairs to bed,” Roth, a Republican, told the site from his office in Mahwah Town Hall.

Asked if he took his pants off before getting into the employee’s bed, he said, “Yes, that’s true.” [Pols emphasis]

The mayor’s wife, Andrea, came and picked him up after partygoers woke him, he said.

We’ll award Roth a quarter-point for honesty here.

Roth was elected in 2018 after his predecessor was ousted in a recall effort. As part of his campaign at the time, Roth encouraged voters to elect him because of…wait for it…his “proper moral compass.”


Friday Open Thread

“To go to the world below, having a soul which is like a vessel full of injustice, is the last and worst of all the evils.”