Impeachment Deux’s Biggest Winner? Rep. Joe Neguse

Rep. Joe Neguse (D).

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, although the second impeachment trial of now ex-President Donald Trump ended in the same predictable acquittal as Trump’s first trial year ago, the compelling performance of Colorado’s two impeachment managers, Joe Neguse and Diana DeGette, has set them up for political dividends even as the immediate battle was lost:

Thirty-six people have been a presidential impeachment manager in American history and none younger than 36-year-old Rep. Joe Neguse. The Lafayette Democrat played a prominent role this week, often speaking just after lead manager Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin.

“Neguse is really making a national name for himself through this impeachment trial,” said Michael Berry, a professor of political science at the University of Colorado – Denver…

Neguse’s trial remarks have given him a national spotlight — as last year’s trial did for [Rep. Jason] Crow — and bipartisan hat tips. Benjamin Wittes at the think tank Brookings Institution said Neguse’s opening remarks Tuesday were the best in any modern impeachment trial. Republican consultant Tim Miller said Neguse “absolutely eviscerated” the Trump defense’s arguments that day. E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post called him “part Columbo, part Perry Mason, part Harry Bosch and part Jerry Edgar.”

Politico reports similarly effusive praise from all sides:

Rep. Madeleine Dean is being talked about as a potential candidate for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania in 2022, a top priority for the party. Democratic strategists are speculating that Rep. Joaquin Castro, relatively well-known before the impeachment trial, further distinguished himself as an impeachment manager, advancing talk of a statewide bid in Texas. And an ex-Jeb Bush aide went so far as to say that Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse gave his “2004 convention speech” — a nod to former President Barack Obama’s breakout moment in politics… [Pols emphasis]

For some of the managers, their presentations were shared widely on social media. Neguse, who is an attorney and the youngest impeachment manager, won acclaim for his compelling and high-minded arguments.

As the dean of Colorado’s congressional delegation and a member of Congress for over 25 years, Rep. DeGette already benefits from good name recognition. For Rep. Neguse, last week’s impeachment trial was more of an introduction to a nationwide audience–and Neguse did not miss the chance to make a great first impression. A preview of what was to come in this second trial was provided during the House Judiciary Committee hearings leading up to Trump’s first impeachment trial in late 2019, in which Neguse distinguished himself similarly.

As for upward mobility supercharged by last week’s high-profile exposure, Neguse of course must wait until the Democrats who occupy every statewide office he would consider trading up to themselves move up or out. For example, had Sen. Michael Bennet been appointed to a Cabinet position in Joe Biden’s administration, Neguse would have been by far the likeliest candidate to replace him.

Whatever comes next, there’s not a single office we can think of for which Joe Neguse would not be a stellar candidate. We talk a lot about Colorado’s deep bench of Democrats ready to move up to be the next governor or U.S. Senator or even beyond–and whether we mention him by name or not, Neguse is almost always who we’re thinking of first and foremost.

Now the whole country knows why.

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Senate Republicans Acquit Trump for Second Time

UPDATE: Statement from impeachment manager Rep. Diana DeGette on today’s decision:

“Our case was strong, the facts were clear and the evidence we presented was overwhelming. This was the largest bipartisan vote to impeach a president ever, and even Mitch McConnell agreed that we proved our case. It’s shameful that so many Senate Republicans chose to hide behind a faulty technicality instead of considering the facts as we had laid them out.

“President Trump incited a violent insurrection against our government. He used his platform as the president of the United States to launch a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol building to try to stop Congress from certifying the election for his opponent. It was the highest of high crimes. It was the greatest betrayal of office. And it was the most brazen attack on our own government by a sitting U.S. president that our nation has ever seen.

“Our goal in pursuing a conviction against Donald Trump for his conduct was not to punish him, but to prevent the type of violence that took place that day from ever happening again. While we didn’t get the conviction we ultimately sought, I believe we made our case to the American people. And that’s just as important because, at the end of the day, they are now the ones who will ultimately decide whether Donald Trump is ever allowed to hold public office again.”

—–

Twice impeached, twice acquitted by Senate Republicans

As The Washington Post reports:

Senate Republicans voted against convicting Donald Trump Saturday for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol Jan. 6, bringing a swift end to the former president’s second impeachment trial after Democrats abandoned plans to call witnesses in the face of GOP opposition.

Seven Republicans joined Democrats in a 57-43 vote in favor of conviction, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump in the Senate. Sens. Richard Burr (N.C.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Patrick Toomey (Pa.) were the Republicans who voted with Democrats.

There was never much of a question about whether Senate Republicans would vote to acquit former President Trump on impeachment charges for inciting an insurrection. There were enough Trump lackeys in the Senate who had made up their minds on impeachment well before the trial even began; that includes Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who advised Trump’s legal team on strategy and said on his podcast Friday that he told Trump’s team that they had “already won.”

As the Post reports, the vote to acquit Trump came after the Senate voted to allow witness testimony to take place in the impeachment trial:

The drama earlier Saturday began when lead House impeachment manager Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) opened the day’s proceedings with an unexpected request to call Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) as a witness following reports of her account that Trump had refused the entreaties of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to call off the rioters.

Herrera Beutler described an expletive-laden phone call in which Trump falsely claimed that the rioters were members of antifa, the loose-knit movement of sometimes violent liberal activists. He also accused McCarthy of caring less about Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s victory than the rioters did.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) had told Democrats earlier Saturday that the decision about witnesses would be left to the House managers. So after Raskin’s request, the chamber voted 55-45 to allow witnesses, with five Republicans joining Democrats and with the chamber sliding into uncertainty as groups of senators huddled for hours to figure out what would come next.

Despite the vote, Senate Democrats remained cool to the idea of calling witnesses and extending the impeachment trial, believing that no amount of evidence was going to dissuade Trump backers from sticking with the former President. House impeachment managers ultimately agreed and allowed the proceedings to come to a close with a final vote.

McConnell can talk himself blue in the face, but that won’t excuse another acquittal.

Senate Republicans will now try to explain their decision to let Trump skate while many also acknowledge the damage caused by The Big Orange Guy. As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rushed to the microphone to make an ass out of himself soon after casting a vote to acquit Trump:

McConnell said Saturday that the former president is “practically and morally responsible” for provoking the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — but that the Senate was upholding the Constitution by acquitting him.

“The Senate’s decision today does not condone anything that happened on or before that terrible day,” McConnell said. “It simply shows that senators did what the former president failed to do: We put our constitutional duty first.”…

…McConnell spent much of his remarks condemning Trump’s actions and directly linking them to the Jan. 6 insurrection. The former president’s supporters, he argued, launched their violent attack “because they had been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on Earth, because he was angry he lost an election.”

That’s some pretty remarkable cowardice right there.

On a more positive note, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) put an exclamation point on a week that saw his national profile increase considerably. Neguse’s final speech urging the Senate to convict Trump on inciting an insurrection featured a number of powerful lines that will be repeated for a long time:

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Ken Buck Wants To “Whatabout” Trump Back Onto Facebook

President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

Axios reports, Republicans in Congress led by Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck are leaning into the ongoing debate by Facebook’s external Oversight Board over whether or not to rescind the ban imposed on former President Donald Trump, following the failed January 6th insurrection Trump rallied and incited:

The board is taking comments on whether it should uphold Facebook’s decision to ban former President Trump. With their letter, GOP lawmakers are avoiding commenting on the merits of the ban, instead pivoting to bias claims that are popular with their conservative base.

What they’re saying: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), the top Republican on Judiciary’s antitrust panel, writes in the letter that Republicans believe Facebook’s “de-platforming standards are not applied in a fair and neutral manner.”

“Instances where conservatives viewpoints have been censored, blocked, diminished harm the free exchange of ideas and irreparably damage conservative Americans’ faith in the fairness of purportedly neutral actors like Facebook,” Buck writes in the letter, also signed by nine other Republican lawmakers including Reps. Darrell Issa, Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz.

Rep. Buck distilled down his opinion for Twitter, where it was recently announced that Trump’s ban from by far his favorite social media platform will be permanent:

If Big Tech can censor President Trump, they can do it to you too. [Pols emphasis]

That’s technically true, since as private commercial media platforms “Big Tech” providers like Facebook, Twitter, and server hosting companies are under no obligation whatsoever to do business or otherwise subsidize anyone they choose for any non-discriminatory reason not to. Free speech, as it’s been said many times but guys like Sen. Josh Hawley still don’t seem to understand, is not an entitlement to access to somebody else’s platform in order to broadcast your speech.

Over the last decade, the viral spread of objectively false information on social networks has has severe negative consequences for American society that Donald Trump is as much of a symptom as a cause. Obviously, if you’re a believer in this objectively false information, attempts to suppress it on social media look like censorship–and even understanding that this kind of regulation is necessary does not relieve us from the debate over how judiciously such power should be applied.

Donald Trump, who relentlessly pushed lies that very nearly derailed the American political system and incited his followers as the nation’s chief executive to physically assault the legislative branch, is not a close case. Through his actions Trump has defined the urgent need for responsible actors to not allow their investments to be used as platforms for mass disinformation campaigns.

Ken Buck knows all of this. He knows that Trump’s lies about the election led to violence. And he knows private companies have the right to make their own decisions about who they associate with. In just about any other circumstance, he would defend that right.

But like Republicans in the U.S. Senate refusing to convict Trump, Buck’s putting his team before his country.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (February 12)

Midday Tuesday: That’s when temperatures in the Denver Metro area are expected to get back ABOVE freezing. Let’s get even more smarterer before our brains get all icy. 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► House impeachment managers wrapped up their case against President Trump on Thursday, with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) and Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) again taking key roles. As The Denver Post reports:

As she made her case Thursday that former President Donald Trump must be convicted by the U.S. Senate for inciting an insurrection, Colorado U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette replayed and read aloud the words of Trump supporters who rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Their own statements before, during and after the attack make clear: the attack was done for Donald Trump, at his instructions and to fulfill his wishes,” said the Denver Democrat, a prosecutor in Trump’s second impeachment trial. “Donald Trump had sent them there. They truly believed that the whole intrusion was at the president’s orders and we know that because they said so.”…

…Neguse, a Lafayette Democrat, gave a nine-minute speech late Wednesday afternoon. He attempted to pre-emptively cut down arguments from Trump’s lawyers that the former president’s remarks on Jan. 6 were free speech protected by the 1st Amendment.

“No president, no matter their politics or the politics of their followers — conservative, liberal or anything else — no president can do what President Trump did,” Neguse said. “Because this isn’t about politics, it’s about his refusal to accept the outcome of the election and his decision to incite an insurrection. There’s no serious argument that the 1st Amendment protects that.”

Colorado Public Radio has more on Thursday’s performances from DeGette and Neguse.

Impeachment 2.0 now shifts to the defense of former President Trump from his bumbling batch of lawyers. The front page of CNN summarizes the defense team’s approach pretty simply:

CNN.com (2/11/21)

 

Senate Republicans appear to be largely unswayed by compelling arguments made by the House impeachment team — including evidence that former President Trump knew full well that Vice President Mike Pence was under siege when he sent a threatening Tweet. Many of the GOP Senators are not even bothering to pretend that they are paying attention anymore.

 

As The New York Times reports, federal prosecutors charging members of the Oath Keepers militia movement say that the members themselves claim to have stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 at then-President Trump’s behest:

The new accounts about the Oath Keepers’ role in the Capitol assault came on the third day of former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial and included allegations that a member of the militia group was “awaiting direction” from Mr. Trump about how to handle the results of the vote in the days that followed the election. “POTUS has the right to activate units too,” the Oath Keepers member, Jessica M. Watkins, wrote in a text message to an associate on Nov. 9, according to court papers. “If Trump asks me to come, I will.”

This seems like a relevant point for Republican Senators to consider as they ponder impeachment questions. But if you are the betting type, it would still be hard to put money on the GOP doing anything other than looking the other way.

 

It’s amazing what you can get done when you have a President who actually knows what he’s doing. As The Washington Post reports:

President Biden said Thursday that his administration had finalized deals for another 200 million doses of the two coronavirus vaccines authorized in the United States, giving the country enough vaccine by the end of July to cover every American adult.

In remarks capping an afternoon tour of the National Institutes of Health, Biden said the federal government had purchased 100 million more doses from Pfizer and German company BioNTech, as well as 100 million more from Moderna, using options built into existing contracts with those companies.

The announcement was the centerpiece of an emotional address from Biden, who made a point of speaking through his mask as he called it a “patriotic responsibility” to wear one.

The United States will now have about 600 million vaccine doses by the summer, which is enough to vaccinate every American with the recommended two doses.

 

Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) loves to talk about “law and order”…just as long as the conversation isn’t about her or her COVID hotspot eatery, “Shooters Grill.”

Meanwhile, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel picks up the thread of Boebert paying off $20k worth of liens at around the same time she wrote herself a $21k mileage reimbursement check from her campaign.

 

Nearly 10% of Denver residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Major retailers such as Wal-Mart and King Soopers will soon be offering the vaccine to customers.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Just Another Maskless Day In Lauren Boebert’s “COVID Cafe”

This afternoon, Lauren Windsor, progressive journalist for The Undercurrent, stopped off in Rifle, Colorado for a meal at the (in)famous Shooters Grill owned by Rep. Lauren Boebert–the restaurant that became known less than affectionately as the “COVID Cafe” after Boebert defied the local health department and reopened during last spring’s stay-at-home order.

Most people who know about Boebert and her history of serving up tainted meat products keep their distance from the Shooters Grill, leaving the clientele to be made up of folks who either don’t know or don’t care about whether they’re eating at an establishment that follows pesky health regulations.

And that’s probably why it’s taken this long to find out that they’re not wearing masks at Shooters Grill:

Not only are the employees not wearing masks, Shooters Grill is celebrating their anti-masker resistance on the wall next to their business license! Being an establishment that was shut down last May by court order after Boebert openly defied the Garfield County Health Department, you’d think they’d be maybe a little bit more contrite? It seems to us like this is the sort of repeat offense that should rightly incur a stiffer penalty.

No doubt that will only encourage Boebert to grandstand harder, since she doesn’t know the difference between good and bad attention. But at least unsuspecting road trippers who stop in Rifle for a quick bite won’t be walking into a hometown superspreader.

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Wayne Williams: So Funny You’ll Throw Up A Little In Your Mouth

“Fellow road warrior?” That, gentle readers, is how you take a scandalous frown and turn it upside down!

This is what’s known as “chutzpah.” Respect it on a certain level.

It’s worth asking though, does former Secretary of State Wayne Williams think every congressional ethics complaint is a joke? After buying a $700 pair of cowboy boots and $500 cowboy hat with his SoS office discretionary spending account, Wayne Williams has earned his own reputation as a guy who can appreciate beating the high cost of living–something Rep. Lauren Boebert appears to be quite skilled at.

It’s just a little light grifting, folks. Cut them some slack.

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Big COVID Relief Bill is Political No-Brainer

Impeachment 2.0 has taken up all of the political oxygen this week, moving President Biden’s COVID relief bill to the sideline temporarily. But a bevy of new information shows that Republican opposition to the $1.9 trillion relief bill is wildly out of touch with the rest of America.

As Paul Waldman explains for The Washington Post:

The first major legislation of Joe Biden’s presidency will be the covid-19 relief bill, which has engendered a good bit of controversy in Washington over its size, whether it sends aid to the right people and whether the process by which it will pass is sufficiently bipartisan. Given that controversy, you might think the matter is contentious among voters, generating argument, discord and eventually hurt feelings among those who don’t wind up getting their way.

But it isn’t. In fact, this bill so far looks to be one of the most popular pieces of major legislation in U.S. history. [Pols emphasis]

That in itself doesn’t prove it’s a good thing — the public sometimes supports bad ideas — but it should give Democrats confidence that the political winds are at their backs no matter what Republicans do or say. It also shows how skewed the view from Washington can sometimes be.

Things that are popular in the United States.

The numbers in support of this claim are pretty hard to dispute. Polling from CBS News shows that 83% of Americans approve passing a big stimulus bill. Quinnipiac University found that 68% of Americans support Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan, as do 63% of small business owners.

A recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll found similar numbers:

Of all 20 policies covered by the poll, the two most popular were the ones at the center of Biden’s current COVID proposal: $2,000 relief checks (74 percent favor vs. 13 percent oppose) and increased federal funding for vaccination (69 percent favor vs. 17 percent oppose). A full 58 percent of Americans also support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, another key element of Biden’s COVID-19 rescue package. That’s almost twice the share of Americans (31 percent) who oppose a wage hike.

Democrats can (and likely will) pass the full $1.9 trillion plan without support from Republicans…not that the GOP hasn’t tried. As Waldman notes:

It isn’t that Republicans haven’t tried to discredit the bill — they have — but their efforts have been desultory and ineffectual. They’ve complained about its overall size, and that too many people may be helped, and that assistance to state and local governments may flow to places where there are lots of Democrats. But none of those arguments seems to persuade anyone.

As we noted last week, Democrats seem to have learned some important lessons from the last time they controlled Congress and the White House. Republicans can complain all they want about “bipartisanship” and “unity,” but the American people just want some help, and they elected Democrats to get it done.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 11)

Happy “National White T-Shirt Day” (it’s not what you might think). Let’s get even more smarterer; 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Day three of Impeachment 2.0 is well underway, kicking off with the first appearance of Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) in her role as a House impeachment manager (another Colorado Member of Congress, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), has been perhaps the breakout star of the hearings thus far). The Washington Post explains more about what to expect from today:

The House managers opened the second day of their presentation Thursday by trying to strengthen the case that former president Donald Trump incited the violent Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Democratic managers are initially focusing on what the insurrectionists said about their motivations.

On Wednesday, the managers used surveillance footage from the Capitol, along with Trump’s own words and tweets, to try to build a case against him. Trump’s attorneys are scheduled to begin their presentation on Friday. A verdict could come as early as the weekend.

The New York Times summarizes the action from Wednesday, which included more new video clips from January 6:

Filling the Senate chamber with the profane screams of the attackers, images of police officers being brutalized, and near-miss moments in which Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers came steps away from confronting a mob hunting them down, the prosecutors made an emotional case that Mr. Trump’s election lies had directly endangered the heart of American democracy.

They played frantic police radio calls warning that “we’ve lost the line,” body camera footage showing an officer pummeled with poles and fists on the West Front of the Capitol, and silent security tape from inside showing Mr. Pence, his family and members of the House and Senate racing to evacuate as the mob closed in, chanting: “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”

All of it, the nine Democratic managers said, was the foreseeable and intended outcome of Mr. Trump’s desperate attempts to cling to the presidency. Reaching back as far as last summer, they traced how he spent months cultivating not only the “big lie” that the election was “rigged” against him, but stoking the rage of a throng of supporters who made it clear that they would do anything — including resorting to violence — to help him.

Chris Cillizza of CNN provides his 5 key takeaways from Wednesday. Here’s the key video footage from Wednesday provided by House impeachment managers:

 

► Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on Rep. Joe Neguse’s performance Wednesday:

Neguse’s role in the impeachment trial has given the talented orator a national audience and drawn applause from pundits and politicians across the political spectrum. He’s a sophomore in the House and a rising star within the Democratic Party who has climbed the leadership ranks since his election in 2018.

On Wednesday, Neguse’s job was to “provide a roadmap” of the prosecutors’ evidentiary case, in the words of lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Neguse explained the case in broad terms, before six other managers went into greater detail.

“As you’ll see during the course of this trial, that mob was summoned, assembled and incited by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump,” Neguse alleged. “And he did that because he wanted to stop the transfer of power, so that he could retain power, even though he had lost the election.”

 

Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) offers up a new explanation for $22k in mileage reimbursement claims from her 2020 campaign that includes something about having to buy new tires. This is not going well for Boebert, who is dealing with a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics for questionable campaign spending.

 

State officials say that half of Coloradans age 70 and older have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Less clear is the number of first responders to have received a vaccine in Colorado.

As 9News reports, there are 57 confirmed cases of a COVID variant in Colorado believed to have originated in the U.K.. Officials say there are no confirmed variants from Brazil or South Africa in our state.

You may want to avoid Winter Park for awhile; the ski resort area has seen a huge outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Impeachment 2.0, Day 3

UPDATE: Rep. Joe Neguse once again brings it home:

—–

 

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) is making her first appearance today as one of the House impeachment managers.

The New York Times has more on what to expect in today’s (likely) final remarks from House impeachment managers prosecuting the case against former President Trump:

A day after delivering the Senate a harrowing account of the deadly violence, replete with chilling new video footage, the impeachment managers planned to pivot on the trial’s third day to argue why Mr. Trump must be the first impeached president ever convicted, and the first ex-president disqualified from holding future office.

Their task is a daunting one, aimed at persuading Republican senators who have shown no appetite for breaking with Mr. Trump, and building a historical record of his role in the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Led by Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, they planned to assert that Mr. Trump’s actions badly damaged the nation’s standing around the world and warn that if left unpunished, the former president would be free to return to power and endanger democracy.

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Rep. Ron Hanks, Insurrectionist Man Of Mystery

Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

With the Colorado General Assembly getting back to work next week after a monthlong COVID-imposed hiatus, one of the more curious stories we’re following is that of freshman Republican Rep. Ron Hanks of Penrose. A week before being sworn in to represent Colorado House District 60 on January 13th, Hanks was present in Washington D.C. for the “Stop the Steal” rally that degenerated into a riot and the first storming of the U.S. Capitol since the War of 1812. It doesn’t appear that Hanks did anything to earn himself criminal charges that day, and he claimed to have not actually entered the building while suggesting that those who stormed the Capitol and attacked police officers “weren’t Trump supporters” and “managed to make look good people look bad just by uh, blending in.”

The following week, Rep. Hanks appeared at the Colorado state capitol building to be sworn in, then promptly disappeared, and was absent for the rest of the few days the General Assembly was in session in January before gaveling out to dodge the pandemic. When asked about Hanks’ conspicuous absence, GOP Minority Leader Hugh McKean said Hanks was feeling “under the weather,” later claiming without any proof that Hanks had a case of “laryngitis.” Needless to say these were not satisfactory answers in the middle of a pandemic, a week after Hanks ill-advisedly traveled to Washington, D.C. for a rally with thousands of similarly irresponsible disease vectors.

But if it’s answers you want from Ron Hanks, don’t bother–he “doesn’t talk to the press.”

If by this point you find yourself a bit worried about Hanks’ wellbeing, and it’s understandable, you’ll be relieved to know that a week after Hanks appeared and then disappeared from the legislature, 9NEWS did report this sign of life:

A Republican state representative from Fremont County, Colo., who was present in Washington, D.C. during this month’s insurrection, claimed that foreign intelligence agencies may be able to keep Joe Biden from becoming president on Wednesday…

“We are down to the very final options to right a flawed election, and it is possible it will not happen,” [Hanks] said. “Patriots, and all Americans are in a perilous dilemma: This isn’t just an economic system or policy priorities we are arguing about. There is a nuclear and national security aspect to this election that must not fall into the hands of foreign enemies or their domestic agents.”

On Wednesday, January 20th, Joe Biden did indeed become President. Foreign intelligence agencies did not drop their salacious Q-dirt, the Space Force didn’t swoop down from the heavens to arrest America’s shadowy elites. We haven’t heard a peep from Rep. Ron Hanks since then, but presumably he…knows this? Next week, hopefully fully cured of his “laryngitis” so as not to infect anyone else with, you know, laryngitis, Rep. Hanks is going to be back at the Colorado Capitol ready to sort everything out for us.

If Hanks doesn’t want to talk, they just need to cover the exits like reporters did with Cory Gardner.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (February 10)

On this day in 1967, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution was formally ratified. Let’s get even more smarterer; 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► The historic second impeachment trial against former President Trump began on Tuesday with some impressive arguments from House impeachment managers and a bunch of meandering nonsense from Trump’s lawyers. As The Washington Post reports:

Several Republican senators on Tuesday criticized the performance of lawyers representing former president Donald Trump at his impeachment trial, with at least one saying that the “disorganized, random” arguments by Trump’s attorneys were what motivated him to change his mind and vote with Democrats.

After listening to opening statements, the Senate voted 56 to 44 to move forward with the impeachment trial, rejecting Trump’s legal team’s arguments that it was unconstitutional to do so. The vote mostly split along party lines and was almost identical to a similar one that was held last month.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), the only Republican senator to switch his vote to support moving forward with Trump’s impeachment trial, blasted the meandering opening statements by Trump’s attorneys as incoherent and ineffective.

Chris Cillizza of CNN breaks down some of the more puzzling comments from Trump attorney Bruce Castor. This headline from The Philadelphia Inquirer sums things up nicely:

 

As The Washington Post reports in a separate story, Trump was apparently very upset with the performance of his legal team on Tuesday…but at least it gave him something to talk about:

He has recently gloated about falling ratings at Fox News, the conservative-leaning news channel that he abandoned in recent months in favor of rivals Newsmax and One America News. One person who spoke with the former president described him as sounding “bored out of his mind” and pressing for gossip: “What are you hearing? What are they saying?” Trump queried. [Pols emphasis]

“He’s still licking his wounds to some extent, and he’s also waiting for this to be behind him,” said one Republican in Trump’s orbit, adding dryly, “and then he’ll relaunch himself as the savior of the Republican Party.”

POLITICO has more on Trump’s reaction to Tuesday’s opening day of impeachment discussions.

 

The second impeachment trial against Trump is making a star out of Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), who took a lead role on Tuesday and again today. Late Tuesday, Chris Cillizza of CNN echoed what many national outlets and pundits were saying about the performance of Neguse:

Neguse has the makings of a future face of the national Democratic Party — and he showed why on Tuesday.

Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on Neguse.

 

Democrat Kerry Donovan raised more than $100,000 in less than five days after announcing that she will run against Republican Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert in 2022.

 

Colorado Public Radio examines how Democrats plan to push for a “public option” health care reform plan when the state legislature reconvenes next week:

Democratic lawmakers have a new message for the health care industry: bring down patient costs by 2024, or face competition from a government-controlled plan.

That’s the gist of a “public option” bill some lawmakers plan to introduce in this year’s legislative session.

“I think it’s important to bring back the public option this year, and to continue to work on lowering the cost of health care, no matter how we can do that, because it’s still one of the top issues I hear from the people that I represent,” said state Sen. Kerry Donovan, who will sponsor the bill alongside Rep. Dylan Roberts.

The proposal was set to be a top priority for Democrats last year, only to be derailed by the pandemic. This year, a new version will include some changes intended to ease opposition from the health care industry.

The 2021 Colorado legislative session begins in earnest on Feb. 16.

 

 Colorado is expected to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 vaccines made available to the state.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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In Which Cory Gardner Makes You Glad He’s Gone

Former Senator Cory Gardner, still full of crap

Former Colorado Senator Cory Gardner was a guest on “Fox and Friends” on Wednesday morning to discuss his new career venture running a SuperPAC for Republican candidates.

But before Gardner discussed his new fundraising job, talking muppet Ainsley Earhardt asked Gardner to comment on Tuesday’s opening hearings in the second impeachment trial against President Trump. If you thought perhaps that Gardner would be less “used car salesman-like” now that he is no longer in elected office, then you’ll be disappointed:

EARHARDT: Good morning. What did you think about what happened yesterday and what can we expect going forward?

GARDNER: Like most Americans yesterday I was working and wasn’t glued to live television processies [sic]. Reading the aftermath of yesterday it sounds like there was a video presentation made for TV, is how it was described.

You know, I would remind people that there is no “made for TV” provision of the Constitution. And so, this is a trial taking place in spite of the fact that the new President says he wants unity. An impeachment trial to remove someone from office who is out of office, following cries and calls for unity in a city that is now seeing an impeachment trial and a partisan COVID-19 relief measure. And so, I really think you’re seeing Washington again completely at odds with the rhetoric that is coming out of its leadership. 

Gardner has never publicly commented on Trump’s claims that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. When he was asked in mid-November about whether he considered Joe Biden to be the President-elect, Gardner responded by saying, “I’m not going to play your gotcha questions.” Gardner didn’t address Trump’s election lies in his farewell speech on the Senate floor in December. To our knowledge, Gardner has also never publicly commented about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 (he was no longer in the Senate at that point).

In his brief interview today, Gardner affirmed all of the criticism about him as a dishonest, snake oil salesman of a politician, framing the impeachment of Trump for inciting an insurrection as little more than a mean thing Democrats are doing (while also tossing in a weird attack on Democrats for trying to pass a COVID-19 stimulus package). This is why Gardner lost his re-election bid in November by a 9 point margin to John Hickenlooper.

Gardner was always a mealy-mouthed huckster who, for a brief time, managed to fool enough Colorado voters into believing there was some actual substance behind his cherubic grin. That old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” doesn’t apply here; we know what we had, and we’re thrilled that we don’t have it anymore.

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Neguse Shines Again: Impeachment 2, Day 2

UPDATE: Neguse is rolling:

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The historic second impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate of ex-President Donald Trump is moving forward in its second day, and we’re watching live as Colorado’s star Rep. Joe Neguse and the other impeachment managers press the case:

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The GMS Podcast: Impeachment 2, Trumplectic Trumpaloo

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk Impeachment 2.0; keep apologizing to the rest of the country for Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert as the first serious contender to challenge for CO-3 announces; and discuss the Republican “Civil War,” to the extent that it really exists.

Later, we travel back to 2009 and consider whether or not Democrats have learned any lessons about governing on the federal level; we preview the 2021 legislative session; and delve into another update about the 2022 election.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

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Kerry Donovan Kicks Off With Big Five-Day Haul

Sen. Kerry Donovan (D).

A press release yesterday from state Sen. Kerry Donovan announces that her days-old campaign looking to take out Rep. Lauren Boebert in 2022 brought in plenty of cash to get off the ground:

The Kerry Donovan for Congress campaign reached the milestone of $100,000 raised on Monday evening, less than five days after launching.

“When we launched this campaign last week, we set an ambitious goal for a congressional campaign: $100,000 in our first two weeks. We shattered the goal in four-and-a-half days,” said campaign spokesperson Eli Rosen. “From the moment her launch video started going viral, the grassroots support for Kerry has been overwhelming. It’s clear that folks are eager for a Congresswoman who will focus on getting things done, rather than on chasing headlines, and Kerry has the momentum at her back.”

“I’m truly honored by the incredible early support for our campaign,” said State Sen. Kerry Donovan. “We’re going to go everywhere in this district, reach out to every community, and build a broad coalition of Coloradans. I’m going to fight for this place with every ounce of grit and determination I have — both on the campaign trail and in Congress.”

It makes sense that the greater embarrassment Boebert becomes to the state of Colorado in Congress, a prospect for which there is no end in sight, the interest in a Democrat to challenge Boebert in 2020 will grow commensurately. Sen. Kerry Donovan is a prime candidate for higher office, a star player on Colorado’s deep Democratic bench of candidates ready for their next challenge. Even without the opportunity a high-risk incumbent like Boebert creates, Donovan would be a stronger contender than anyone Democrats have fielded in Colorado’s CD-3 for the past decade.

The caveat we must apply here, as with basically every expectation for 2022, is the upcoming redistricting process–expected to involve big changes to the state’s congressional maps to accommodate population changes and the likelihood of an eighth congressional district. Until that process is complete it’s impossible to know for sure what Boebert’s district is going to look like politically, or even necessarily whether Donovan and Boebert will reside in the same district at all.

What we can say is that in any competitive district that includes Kerry Donovan, Boebert has a serious problem.

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Historic Second Impeachment Trial Underway

UPDATE #2: You can count CNN’s Chris Cillizza among those impressed with Rep. Joe Neguse today:

The Colorado congressman was a litigator in private practice prior to being elected to Congress in 2018. And it sure showed during his breakdown of the key question of the first day of the trial: Is it, in fact, unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a former president? Neguse repeatedly went right to the text of our founding document to make his case that it was, in fact, entirely within the bounds of the Constitution to do so. (Even the textualists among Republican senators had to be at least a little impressed with Neguse’s close reading and expert analysis.) For Democrats looking for young stars in the making, Neguse has to be near or at the top of that list after his compelling and convincing performance on Tuesday. At 36 years old, he’s got a lot of time to decide what interests him most — rising through the ranks in the House or running statewide for governor or Senate down the line. But Neguse has the makings of a future face of the national Democratic Party — and he showed why on Tuesday.

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UPDATE: Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) makes the case for why former President Trump can and should be impeached despite no longer being in office. From The Washington Post:

Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), one of the House impeachment managers, cited historical precedents and the views of several conservative legal scholars as he sought to make the case that it was constitutional for the Senate to try Trump after he has already left office.

Neguse walked senators through the impeachments of Sen. William Blount in 1797 and Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876, both of which occurred after the men were no longer in office.

Blount, a senator from Tennessee, was caught conspiring with the British to try to sell Florida and Louisiana and President John Adams caught him, Neguse relayed.

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Here’s the video that House impeachment managers presented to open the impeachment trial against former President Trump:

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Fringe Clings To Power In El Paso County GOP

FEC United’s world-domination edition logo.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette updates from Saturday’s meeting of the El Paso County Republican Party, where concerns about armed militia “guarding” the meeting did not materialize but the conspiracy theorist chair of the county party Vicki Tonkins was re-elected in a close and disputed election against former county commish establishmentarian Peggy Littleton:

Tonkins prevailed 147-140 over Peggy Littleton, a former El Paso County commissioner, at the county GOP reorganizational meeting at Victory Outreach Church, with a portion of voting members attending remotely over the internet.

Littleton said she was concerned some members of the party’s central committee were wrongly denied credentials while others who shouldn’t have been able to vote were allowed to cast ballots…

“We will be appealing because of the unique year and the irregularities in this year, where people who could not show up in person chose to do it online and were apparently having difficulty with the link and balloting online,” Littleton said.

A seven-vote margin of victory is simply not enough to be comfortable in a party that overwhelmingly believes without evidence that the 2020 elections were rigged, and short of Rudy Giuliani stepping in for a little trial by combat it’s very unlikely that the “suits” wing of the party will ever accept Tonkins’ narrow win. Tonkins, as readers know, appears to have prevailed with the help of Twilight Zone-right organizing group FEC United led by election conspiracy theorizer Joe Oltmann. Although FEC United’s militia wing the United American Defense Force (UADF) did not in the end play a role in “security” for the event as had been feared in early news reports, there’s every reason to believe Tonkins working with the group to pack the party’s lower management with FEC United members was successful.

Assuming Tonkins survives whatever post-electoral scrutiny/chicanery that may ensue in the El Paso County GOP’s byzantine internal election process, it means the Republican Party organization in Colorado’s foremost conservative stronghold voluntarily retained a leader who described the COVID-19 pandemic as a “psyop.” Last fall, Tonkins was stripped of her spending and speaking privileges on behalf of the party due to repeated embarrassments, after which she filed an apparently bogus police report against several fellow Republicans.

Safe to say, there’s a lot left to be sorted out at the El Paso County GOP! This is an organization pretty far from ready for their prime time responsibility, winning elections. It’s a lucky break for El Paso County Democrats who need all the help they can get.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (February 9)

Happy Second Impeachment Day. 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► 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…

 

(more…)

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Cory Gardner: He’s Back And Taking No Blame

UPDATE: AP’s Nick Riccardi observes correctly, this isn’t a promotion:

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National Victory Action Fund chairman Cory Gardner.

For months since losing the 2020 U.S. Senate election in Colorado by almost ten points, ex-Sen. Cory Gardner has been dead silent while the country plunged into political chaos caused by the man Gardner followed happily into the political abyss, now ex-President Donald Trump. While Gardner himself conceded defeat on Election Night, Gardner kept completely under the radar while Trump denied the results in the presidential race and eventually fomented the violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th just days after Gardner left office.

Well folks, as of today, Cory Gardner is back–as the chairman of a new SuperPAC called the National Victory Action Fund (NVAF), whose stated mission is to “get money to campaigns as early as possible” and “consequently, elect conservative candidates to the House and Senate in 2022.” Jeff Larson, former RNC chief of staff and adviser to former RNC chairman Reince Priebus, talks about Cory’s new gig:

Outside groups provide critical resources, but we cannot rely on them alone. Compared to campaigns, outside groups pay far higher rates for television ads, have no access to the actual candidate or specific guidance on messaging, and often start their ads only weeks before Election Day.

Therefore, we need to find ways to get more money into the hands of the actual campaigns themselves.

And that’s where NVAF chairman Cory Gardner takes over–but the story Gardner tells about his defeat in the 2020 elections is, we’re sorry to say, not recognizable to anyone who lived through it:

Out in Colorado, we had far-left groups from out of state saturating the airwaves with millions in television ads years before Election Day. When I finally had enough money to respond in kind, they had already influenced public opinion in a way that was almost impossible to overcome. I’m proud to join with NVAF because getting resources to campaigns is vital if we want to prevent this from happening to other candidates.

It could have been worse we guess.

As Coloradans became painfully used to during Gardner’s decade in federal office, this account of Gardner’s defeat is complete fictionalization. The truth is that Gardner entered the 2020 election cycle with a huge incumbent war chest, while his eventual opponent John Hickenlooper first had to slug it out in a Democratic primary. Hickenlooper’s fundraising did eventually build a massive advantage over Gardner, but to suggest that Gardner never had the money to “respond in kind” to attacks is simply not accurate.

And this leads to the real problem with Gardner’s excuses for why he lost, at least the closest to an excuse we’ve seen publicly: it’s not money that sank Cory Gardner at all. Public opinion turned against Gardner over choices Gardner made on his own, the most damning of which was to lash himself to Trump in a state that rejected Trump in 2016 and then punished Republicans up and down the ballot in 2018 in a referendum on Trump. And it goes back even further than that: ever since Gardner’s close election in 2014 counter to the prevailing leftward political trajectory of the state, he was on the wrong side of Colorado voters on most issues.

It’s not about “influencing public opinion.” Gardner was always a bad fit politically for Colorado.

The sad fact is that few Republicans have paid a higher price for their loyalty to Trump than Cory Gardner. Gardner’s choice to align with Trump to the bitter end, unlike some other GOP Senators whose legacies will survive Trump’s, had lasting consequences. This new job represents a tremendous diminishment of Gardner’s once-limitless career prospects, and underscores the difficulty that Trump loyalists are reportedly having finding new employment anywhere near the prestige they once enjoyed.

Though yes, it probably beats selling tractors.

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