Trump Revokes Security Clearance for Former CIA Director

George Orwell’s “1984” is getting a little too real.

There’s some breaking news this afternoon from the White House. As the New York Times reports:

President Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director under President Barack Obama, citing what he called Mr. Brennan’s “erratic” behavior.

The White House had threatened last month to strip Mr. Brennan and two other Obama administration officials — Susan E. Rice, the former national security adviser; and James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence — of their security clearances. At the time, Ms. Sanders said that Mr. Trump was considering doing it because “they politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances.”…

…Mr. Trump’s decision to revoke Mr. Brennan’s security clearance was announced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary. Ms. Sanders said the president is reviewing the security clearances of other former Democratic officials who have been critics of the president.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a statement from President Trump to assembled media that Brennan’s security clearance was being revoked, as the Times explains, “because he is among a group of former officials who have ‘transitioned into highly partisan’ people.”

In other words, thou shalt not speak ill of the President.

This was the last Tweet sent from John Brennan’s Twitter account as of this writing:

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 15)

A man, a plan, a canal, Panama (the Panama Canal opened on this day in 1914). It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► Another big Primary Election is in the books. The Washington Post breaks down the winners and losers from Tuesday’s elections in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, and Wisconsin, including some historical firsts:

For the first time, voters of a major party nominated an openly transgender woman for governor. Christine Hallquist won the Democratic nomination for governor in Vermont (though she’ll have to work hard to actually make that race against Gov. Phil Scott (R) competitive). In Connecticut, Democrat Jahana Hayes won her primary for Congress and is set to become the first black woman to represent New England in the House. In Minnesota, Democrat Ilhan Omar is one of two candidates who won primaries in the past two weeks vying to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.

Perhaps the most notable individual result was in Minnesota, where former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty was soundly rejected by Republican Primary voters. From the Associated Press:

Republicans needed only the governorship to take full control of state government in Minnesota, a traditionally left-leaning state that had become a lone outpost of divided government in the conservative Upper Midwest. Big donors saw Pawlenty as the man to do it.

Johnson had been viewed as a longshot given Pawlenty’s unparalleled name recognition and the money that quickly flowed to his campaign when he announced his campaign in early April. Pawlenty was the last Republican to win statewide in Minnesota with his 2006 victory for a second term.

But voters were unwilling to coronate Pawlenty, who didn’t bother challenging Johnson at the state party convention. His loss effectively ends a political career that peaked with two terms as governor and a short-lived 2012 presidential bid.

As the right-wing Washington Examiner writes, there is no place for the likes of Pawlenty in the current Republican Party.

 

► Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded the Republican Primary to Secretary of State Kris Kobach on Tuesday. Kobach won a narrow race after being endorsed by President Trump, but his victory could put the Governor’s race up for grabs as a result. Kobach is a Trumpian favorite but a train-wreck in general.

 

According to a new poll from CNN, Democrats have a 52-41 advantage in the latest survey on the national generic congressional ballot. The CNN poll also shows that health care is the top issue for most voters heading into November.

 

► The Colorado Springs Gazette published one of the dumbest editorials you will ever read on Tuesday. The editorial in question was edited throughout the day as Colorado journalists mocked its stupidity; it was later inexplicably defended by Gazette Editorial Page Editor Wayne Laugesen.

 

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Trump Nominee For Colorado U.S. Attorney Received Unusual and Harsh Reprimand

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Trump’s nominee for Colorado’s U.S. Attorney, Jason Dunn, once received a searing and rare reprimand by Judge Richard L. Gabriel, who now sits on the Colorado Supreme Court.

Gabriel’s admonishment of Dunn came in a 2015 appeals court decision tossing out a ruling that the Douglas County School District had made a illegal campaign donation by distributing a report, produced by a conservative group. Dunn represented the Douglas County School District, referred to below as the “District” by Gabriel, who sat on the Colorado appeals court at the time.

Writing for the majority in the case, Keim v. Douglas County, Gabriel commented on the “tone” of Dunn’s briefs, writing that they contained “personal attacks and serious accusations” that were inappropriate and unfounded” as well as “rhetoric” that was both “unpersuasive and unhelpful.”

Gabriel wrote in paragraph 32 of the decision:

Third, we feel compelled to comment on the tone of the District’s appellate briefs. In its briefs, the District referred to Keim’s arguments as “nonsensical”; accused her of “subtle mischaracterization,” “wholesale mischaracterization,” and “blatantly misleading” the court; described its reaction to certain of Keim’s arguments with inflammatory (or perhaps sarcastic) language like “dumbfounded”; *728 and even referred to certain of the ALJ’s findings in a derisive way. These kinds of personal attacks and serious accusations were inappropriate and unfounded. Disagreement—even vehement and vigorous disagreement—with a trial court’s rulings and with the arguments of an opposing party and counsel are, of course, part and parcel of any litigation matter. Nonetheless, we expect such disagreements to be civil and respectful. The use of rhetoric like that cited above is unpersuasive and unhelpful. See Martin v. Essrig, 277 P.3d 857, 860 & app’x (Colo. App. 2011).

Court observes say that judges rarely admonish attorneys, particularly of the caliber normally nominated for the position of U.S. Attorney, in written opinions.

“I do not recall a Court ever calling out arguments in a brief in that way,” said Denver attorney Jane Feldman, who staffed the Colorado Ethics Commission and has over 35 years of litigation experience. “Courts generally address arguments made in a brief, and say the arguments are not persuasive, but do not comment on the tone. Furthermore, I have drafted and reviewed many briefs, and I don’t recall ever reading a brief in which the arguments were described in that way. Lawyers generally try to be professional in briefs, because you do not want to negatively impact the Court in case the majority is on the other side, and the records are reviewed on appeal. Lawyers generally don’t disparage the arguments made by the other side in that way. You might say something like, ‘Plaintiffs argument is contrary to the facts,’ or “is not in accordance with common practice,” but it sounds like Dunn went too far.”

Dunn, a “shareholder” at Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, Schreck, did not return a call for comment.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) threw his support behind Dunn in June, when Trump nominated Dunn for Colorado’s chief federal prosecutor, after a 18-month delay.

“I am confident that he will make an excellent United States Attorney for the District of Colorado,” Gardner said in a statement, published in The Denver Post. “Jason has a proven record of public service and involvement in his community, and he has the integrity and character that will make Colorado proud. I will urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support his confirmation.”

The Post reported that Dunn worked on regulatory issues and for prominent Republican candidates and causes.

If Dunn is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would replace Colorado’s interim U.S. Attorney, Bob Troyer, who replaced 2016 Obama appointee John Walsh.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 14)

Russia, Russia, Russia! It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

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President Trump is the least racist person you have ever met. He just happens to say a lot of racist things. As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump on Tuesday referred to Omarosa Manigault Newman as “that dog” as the former senior White House adviser continued a publicity tour to promote her new book depicting Trump as a racist.

In a morning tweet, Trump praised his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, for firing Manigault Newman last year. The former reality television star was the highest-ranking black employee in the White House.

“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out,” Trump said. “Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

In response, Republicans like Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake issued STERN TWEETS!

Elected Republicans may not be interested in going out on even the sturdiest of limbs here, but as CNN’s Chris Cillizza writes, Trump is clearly very irritated by Omarosa:

Eight tweets in 24 hours — all about Omarosa. Eight tweets in which Trump refers to Omarosa, an African-American woman and former White House employee, as, among other things, a “dog,” “wacky,” “deranged,” a “crazed, crying lowlife,” “vicious” and “not smart.”

Now ask yourself this: Would you ever be as focused — bordering on obsessed — with someone who you didn’t care about and who you genuinely believed was just saying all sorts of false things? Would you call that person all sorts of names — including a number with quite clear racial under- (and over-) tones, if that person didn’t matter?

The answer of course is “no.” The fact that Trump appears to be absolutely fixated on Omarosa — and the book she wrote about her time in the White House — speaks to the fact that Trump is concerned about what the allegations she makes about him might have.

 

► Energy Secretary Rick Perry is visiting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden today alongside Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). This is the same Rick Perry who said earlier this year that moving from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy is “immoral.”

Following their NREL tour, Gardner will likely get right back to work trying to avert electoral disaster in November.

 

► Today is Primary Election Day in another handful of states (Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin). Politico previews a particularly busy day in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Democrats on Tuesday will choose from a field that once swelled to over a dozen candidates — an array of businessmen, state legislators, the mayor of Wisconsin’s most liberal city and the chief of the state firefighters union — to realize their long-elusive goal of defeating Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

But the clear frontrunner is state education superintendent Tony Evers, a 66-year-old white man who stands out in a year when Democrats have put forward high numbers of women, young people and first-time candidates for office. What Evers lacks in sizzle, Democrats are hoping he compensates for with a record of clashes with Walker over education that could energize his party and deny the Republican governor a third term.

After years of doing battle with unions and pushing conservative legislation, Walker may be the one Republican who gets Wisconsin Democrats as agitated as President Donald Trump does. And that, say some Democratic officials in the state, might be enough in a year like this.

The New York Times has more on what to watch for in today’s Primary races.

 

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Panicked Gardner Asks for Trump’s Help in Arizona Senate Race

UPDATE: Republican Senate candidate Kelly Ward is running digital ads criticizing “Amnesty Senator Cory Gardner”:

Screenshot of Facebook ad (8/11/18)

—–

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is the Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for 2018, which means it is his job to make sure that Republicans maintain their Senate majority in November. This is not a good job to have at the moment.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) hopes President Trump can save him from embarrassing losses in November.

As Politico reported on Friday, Gardner is worried enough about Republican chances of holding onto a seat in beat-red Arizona that he’s calling on President Trump for help:

National Republicans are asking President Donald Trump to intervene in the Arizona Senate primary amid rising fears that the GOP will nominate an unelectable candidate and cede the seat to Democrats in November.

During a recent phone call, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) asked the president to endorse GOP Rep. Martha McSally, widely viewed as the establishment favorite in the Aug. 28 primary, according to two senior Republicans familiar with the conversation.Trump, according to one of the Republicans, was noncommittal and did not say yes or no to the request. [Pols emphasis]

McSally is facing former state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, both of whom are running as conservative insurgents. Polls have consistently shown McSally leading in the primary, but Republicans fear that if Ward or Arpaio wins the nomination, it would effectively hand a victory to the expected Democratic nominee, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

It was only about a year ago that Trump infamously pardoned longtime buddy Joe Arpaio, so it’s fair that Gardner would be afraid that the President might come to Arpaio’s aid once more. Republican troubles in Arizona, coupled with a surging Democratic candidate in Kyrsten Sinema, are just the latest troublesome changes for the NRSC. The billionaire Koch Brothers recently made it clear that they don’t want anything to do with the Republican Senate candidate in North Dakota, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp had long been considered the best pickup opportunity for Republicans in 2018. And in West Virginia, Republicans are about to throw in the towel on GOP challenger Patrick Morrisey, who doesn’t appear to be up to the task of defeating incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in a state Trump carried by 42 points in 2016.

It’s looking increasingly likely that Democrats will regain majority control of the House of Representatives in 2018, but it’s only been in recent months that Republicans really started to worry about losing their Senate majority…and things are only looking worse. Democrat Phil Bredesen appears to be outperforming Republican Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee, and incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller is in a dogfight with Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen in Nevada.

If Democrats can win in 2 of 3 races in Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee, the Republican Senate majority is doomed.

Smiles have been harder to come by for Sen. Cory Gardner of late.

As we’ve discussed before in this space, heading up the NRSC in 2018 has been a massive headache for the ambitious Gardner — so much so, in fact, that it might mark the end of Gardner’s political ascension. Running the NRSC looked much different when Gardner was actively angling for the job in 2016 as a way to join the ranks of Senate Republican leadership and raise his own national profile. Maintaining a Senate majority with Democrat Hillary Clinton as President probably looked like a fairly safe bet for Gardner.

Unfortunately for Gardner, he now must deal with an entirely different political atmosphere. Gardner has consistently struggled to raise money for the NRSC, and with opportunities fading around the country, it seems that embracing Trump is Gardner’s last hope at avoiding embarrassment in 2018. Earlier this year, Trump started to get more involved in the battle for the Senate majority, and Gardner eventually admitted that he regularly consults with Trump on political strategy related to maintaining a GOP majority in the Senate.

Less than three months from the November election, Gardner appears to need Trump just to put himself in a position to avoid a major face plant this fall. If that Hail Mary play somehow manages to work, Gardner then needs to worry about distancing himself from the unpopular Trump ahead of his own 2020 re-election campaign.

Yup, it definitely sucks to be Cory Gardner right now.

Does Coffman Still Favor An Investigation Of The FBI?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As special prosecutor Robert Mueller turns up the heat on Trump and his associates, Republicans are fighting back with increased intensity, not just through Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Last month, U.S. House Republicans proposed impeaching Rod Rosenstein, who has refused to fire Mueller, but quickly withdrew the proposal in favor of trying to hold him in contempt of Congress, a move widely seen as attempting to lay the groundwork for Trump to fire him.

In addition, Trump’s attacks on the FBI are escalating, raising questions about whether Congress would support an investigation of the FBI itself.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) backed that position last year, after a FBI phone tap led to the resignation of Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Asked if the actions of the FBI needed to be investigated, Coffman said:

Coffman: “You know, I think it should be looked into. And here’s one thing. Did the FBI go through the procedures in place in current law to be able to be able to tap into that phone conversation? Are there other violations of law?

Coffman said at the time that he didn’t have a good feeling about Flynn.

Coffman’s office didn’t return an email seeking to know if he still holds this stance and whether he’d join with Trump and other Republicans in pushing for further investigations of the spy agency as Mueller’s investigation of Trump, which relies in part of FBI material, moves forward.

Coffman, who’s expressed broad support for the Mueller investigation, also said last year that the FBI should not just investigate Trump but also the Obama Administration.

Check Out These Awesomely Fake “Space Force” Logos

Fast Company’s Jesus Diaz reports, it’s just too damn much:

According to astronaut Mark Kelly and plenty of other experts, Donald Trump’s Space Force is, simply put, a pretty dumb idea. Nonetheless, last night the president’s reelection campaign released a slew of possible Space Force logos–and they’re right in line with the stupefyingly bad design Trump’s team is known for (see: Exhibit A and Exhibit B).

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence announced the Space Force concept last June, proposing a new branch of the military that will be aimed at space. “We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal,” Trump said at the time. The idea was met with widespread derision from Kelly and others, for several reasons. The United States already has a Space Command. It’s been around since 1982. Space defense is also one of the U.S. Air Force’s core missions, which currently involves monitoring space from natural and third-country threats, protecting military satellites, and foiling Mulder and Scully’s efforts to unveil an alien conspiracy to take over Earth.

For the record,

…They weren’t created by anyone at the Pentagon, NASA, or any other federal agency. They were created by the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign PAC. And, as Parscale notes, they’re going to be used to “commemorate” the Space Force with a new “line of gear.”

Given that the whole business of a “Space Force” is more a distraction for diehard supporters from the daily crush of scandal and incompetence that defines Donald Trump’s presidency for most Americans, it’s completely fine that the campaign came up with these logos as opposed to an official agency! We wish that something similar could be devised for Trump’s upcoming military parade, for example, so the actual military wouldn’t be sidetracked to the tune of millions of dollars by a show intended to gratify the ego of one individual.

If you have time to whip up your own version of a Trump Space Force logo (we do not), please go for it and post the result in comments. Or have your kid make one. With crayons. It would be as good, and just as real.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 10)

For many of you, this is the last weekend before the start of the new school year. Please act accordingly. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

Politico breaks down the numbers from Tuesday’s special congressional election in Ohio, and finds even badder news for Republicans this fall:

Deep suburban antipathy toward President Donald Trump has turned the old GOP electoral coalition inside-out in many areas in 2017 and 2018 — like Ohio’s 12th District, which for two decades sent former Rep. Pat Tiberi to Congress on the back of his popularity in the Columbus suburbs. His anointed successor, Republican Troy Balderson, took a different path to a small special-election lead, instead building on Trump’s rural strength while Democrat Danny O’Connor cut deeply into Tiberi’s old base.

In Columbus’ Franklin County, where Tiberi regularly received more than 55 percent support, O’Connor held Balderson to just one-third of the special election vote. In Delaware County — a wealthier, whiter bedroom community to the north — Balderson scraped together a majority where Tiberi used to win 70-plus percent. But the further Balderson got from the city, the better he performed compared to Tiberi’s baselines, taking up to 71 percent of the vote in further-flung counties.

It’s a shift that was underway before Trump arrived on the political scene — but the president accelerated it. In 2016, Tiberi and some other Republicans even combined their traditional suburban power with growing rural strength on Trump’s ticket. But that combination has proven unattainable in elections during the president’s tumultuous first term, and Republicans across the country will have to confront the full force of that change in the November elections.

 

► Fox News is all in on embracing white anxiety, as CNN reports:

It wasn’t so much a dog whistle as it was an airhorn. Or perhaps a primal scream. But whatever it was, Laura Ingraham’s forceful denunciation of “massive demographic changes” served as another raw example of a Fox News host echoing white nationalist language…

…The Fox News audience is almost 100% white, according to Nielsen. And on the channel’s highest-rated shows, the politics of white anxiety play out practically every day, as hosts and guests warn about the impacts of immigration and minimize or mock the perspectives of people of color. The talk show segments are clearly intended to appeal to people who perceive they are losing their grip on power.

In 2018, Tucker Carlson, at 8 p.m., and Ingraham, at 10 p.m., spend the most time on this subject. (The host in between, Sean Hannity, concentrates more on defending Trump.)

“The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore,” Ingraham said Wednesday night. “Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like.”

In related news, former Congressman Tom Tancredo was his familiar racist self in a recent talk with the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club. This is the same Tancredo who formally nominated Walker Stapleton for the Republican gubernatorial nomination last spring.

 

► In his never-ending quest to antagonize every other country on Earth, President Trump is now targeting Turkey with new tariffs (say that three times fast!) From the Washington Post:

President Trump said Friday that he told his administration to double steel and aluminum tariffs against Turkey, reflecting the rapidly deteriorating state of relations between the two countries.

The announcement would mark a major policy shift, but it was made in a Twitter post with little context. [Pols emphasis] Trump remarked that Turkey’s currency, the lira, was weakening against the U.S. dollar, a phenomenon that had made existing tariffs less effective.

Doubling the tariffs to 20 percent for aluminum and 50 percent for steel would magnify the impact of the trade restrictions.

Trump is mad at Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in part over the country’s refusal to release an American pastor charged with espionage.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 9)

Could Omarosa be Donald Trump’s downfall? If God has a sense of humor, it just might happen. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California — the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — may have spoken a little too openly about the 2018 election in a speech to donors recently. From the Washington Post:

It was in private, at a closed-door fundraiser for a Republican colleague, that Nunes took the new step of tying the investigation to the midterm elections this fall. In comments captured in an audio recording aired Wednesday by “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Nunes laid out in stark terms the rationale for preserving the GOP majority in Congress.

“If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones, which is really the danger,” Nunes said at an event for Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, referring to Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, and Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. Sessions said last year that he would keep his distance from inquiries related to the 2016 election, owing to his role in Trump’s campaign — a move that has frustrated the president, leading him to blame his own attorney general  for the “Russian Witch Hunt Hoax.”

“I mean, we have to keep all these seats,” Nunes added. “We have to keep the majority. If we do not keep the majority, all of this goes away.”

“All of this goes away” probably sounds pretty good to a lot of voters right now. “Must protect Trump?” Not so much.

 

► Vice President Mike Pence is at the Pentagon to talk up President Trump’s “Space Force” proposal. Pence says the United States could officially create a sixth branch of the military by 2020.

 

► We’ve talked before in this space about mystifying Republican efforts at making “California” a centerpiece of their narrative against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis. Fox 31 Denver fact-checks the latest ad using this approach from from the Republican Governor’s Association. It doesn’t turn out well.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 7)

Today marks the approximate “midpoint” of summer, but don’t tell that to your kids as they prepare to head back to school. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

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► National Security Adviser John Bolton says President Trump’s good buddy Kim Jong Un isn’t actually following up on any promises made during a summit meeting in June. From the Washington Post:

National security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that North Korea has not made progress toward denuclearization in a dismal acknowledgment that comes nearly two months after President Trump held a historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

“The United States has lived up to the Singapore declaration. It’s just North Korea that has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearize,” Bolton said in an interview on Fox News Channel on Tuesday morning…

…The Trump administration has consistently sought to reassure critics Kim will make good on his pledges to denuclearize. Last month, Trump tweeted he had “confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake” in Singapore.

“Well, that’s a surprise,” said absolutely nobody.

 

Colorado is joining 18 other states in suing the federal government over plans to permit the distribution of blueprints for untraceable 3D-printed firearms. Local libraries and school districts are taking their own precautions to prevent the printing of these weapons.

 

► It’s Primary Day in a bunch of states across the country, with most eyes on a special election for a Congressional seat in Ohio. Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington also hold Primary Elections today. The New York Times lays out what to watch for today, including this confusing Democratic Primary in Washington:

In the solidly Democratic Ninth District, Representative Adam Smith, a longtime congressman with a top position on the House Armed Services Committee, is facing a primary challenge from Sarah Smith, a democratic socialist. On the surface, this looks a lot like New York’s 14th District, where another democratic socialist, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, beat Joseph Crowley, a longtime congressman with a powerful leadership position. Ms. Smith has encouraged the comparison, while Mr. Smith has emphasized the differences between the two races — including the fact that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was born and raised in her district, while Ms. Smith lives just outside this one.

As the Washington Post reports, 2018 is a bad year for Republican Lieutenant Governors to be seeking higher office.

 

► Climate Change is very real, and we could be reaching a dangerous tipping point. From CNN:

Scientists are warning that a domino effect will kick in if global temperatures rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, leading to “hothouse” conditions and higher sea levels, making some areas on Earth uninhabitable…

…Hotter temperatures could result in sea level rise up to 60 meters (197 ft) from today’s shorelines, swamping coastal populations and forcing communities inland. This summer dozens of people have died in wildfires and heat waves from the US to Asia, giving the world an insight into what could lie ahead.

The report says that if the “threshold” — a theoretical point-of-no-return — is crossed, this “would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene,” referring to the geological age which began at the end of the last ice age, around 12,000 years ago.

 

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Get More Smarter on Monday (August 6)

Today is “Civic Holiday” in Canada, which is really the most Canadian name for a holiday that you could possibly invent. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

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► President Trump went on one of his regular weekend Twitter tirades, and he just might have gotten himself into some legal trouble this time. From the Washington Post:

When President Trump flatly declared on Twitter that his son held that Trump Tower meeting in the full expectation of receiving dirt on Hillary Clinton, he may have done more than concede that collusion did, in fact, take place. He may have also inadvertently pointed to a motive for his repeated efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation — possibly strengthening the case that he obstructed justice. [Pols emphasis]

Much of this morning’s chatter about Trump’s Twitter admission over the weekend focuses on two important facts about it, but not on that one. In the tweet, Trump stated forthrightly that the Trump Tower gathering “was a meeting to get information on an opponent.” However, we know from Donald Trump Jr.’s emails before the meeting that he — along with son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chair Paul Manafort — took this meeting in the full expectation of getting “information on an opponent” that would be furnished by the Russian government.

As many news accounts and analyses point out, Trump has now flatly conceded to that collusion more directly than ever before. As those accounts also point out, in so doing, Trump has also revealed that the statement he helped dictate about this meeting in the summer of 2017 — which claimed it was primarily about adoptions — was a lie.

Trump’s Tweet seems to have been a response to a Saturday story in the Washington Post indicating that the President is indeed worried about legal trouble for eldest son Donald Trump, Jr.:

Trump has confided to friends and advisers that he is worried the Mueller probe could destroy the lives of what he calls “innocent and decent people” — namely Trump Jr., who is under scrutiny by Mueller for his role organizing a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. As one adviser described the president’s thinking, he does not believe his son purposefully broke the law, but is fearful nonetheless that Trump Jr. inadvertently may have wandered into legal jeopardy.

 

► Republicans are chewing their fingernails to the nub over Tuesday’s special election in Ohio for an open Congressional seat. From Politico:

The entire Republican Party machinery has converged on this suburban Columbus district for a furious eleventh-hour campaign aimed at saving a conservative House seat and averting another special election disaster.

But in the final days ahead of Tuesday’s election, signs were everywhere that Democrats are surging — from recent polling to the private and public statements of many Republicans, including the GOP candidate himself. The district has been reliably red for more than three decades, but the sheer size of the Republican cavalry made clear how worried the party is about losing it…

…The all-out push underscores the GOP’s trepidation about the final special election before the midterms. A loss, following startling Republican defeats in Pennsylvania and Alabama, would offer more evidence that a blue wave is on the horizon. And it would further fuel fears of what’s becoming evident: that Democrats are simply more amped up, even in areas that have long been safely Republican.

 

► As the New York Times reports, the Trump administration is poking another stick at European allies:

The Trump administration said it would restore sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord at midnight on Monday, ratcheting up pressure on Tehran while worsening a divide with Europe.

The new sanctions are a consequence of President Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the nuclear deal with world powers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the goal was to get Iran to change its ways — including ending all nuclear enrichment and curbing its weapons programs, as well as ending its support of brutal governments or uprisings in the Middle East.

European officials have said that the Iran nuclear agreement is crucial to their national security. International inspectors have concluded that Iran is complying with the accord.

 

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Coffman Goes Cagey On Trump Check

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Kara Mason at the Aurora Sentinel follows up on a story earlier this week about a list of Republicans in Congress set to receive donations directly from Donald Trump’s campaign–including Rep. Mike Coffman, who has tried mightily to put daylight between himself and Trump despite voting Trump’s way over 95% of the time.

Via a spox, Coffman once again tries to thread the proverbial needle:

Is Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman getting campaign cash from President Donald Trump?

It’s not clear. A report from McClatchy this week said they obtained a list of GOP candidates that would get a $2,000 donation from Trump’s re-election campaign. Coffman was included, along with Rep. Scott Tipton, who represents the Western Slope and parts of southern Colorado.

But Tyler Sandberg, a spokesman for Coffman, said that story got it wrong, and was told Coffman isn’t getting a check. [Pols emphasis]

This statement is misleading for two reasons. The first is simple, the checks from Trump by all accounts haven’t been mailed to any of the candidates yet:

The campaign wouldn’t consider hypothetical situations. So if Coffman was offered the money, it’s unclear whether he’d accept it.

It’s entirely possible that if the check shows up down the road, Coffman will happily deposit it as long as reporters aren’t on their backs the literal day it does. But even if Coffman is right and this national news report is wrong about a check directly from Trump’s campaign, there’s a much more important monetary connection between Trump and Coffman–Trump has personally helped raise tens of millions of dollars for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which is providing essential support to Coffman far beyond a $2,000 maximum individual donation.

Whatever Coffman does with a check directly from Donald Trump, Coffman can’t refuse the support of the national Republican congressional campaign organization–an organization whose funding was itself in substantial part raised by Trump too. For all of Coffman’s lip service to “standing up to Trump,” voting with Trump and the GOP over 95% of the time is the only thing that matters when it’s time to cut the checks that matter.

With all of this in mind, the question of this one $2,000 check becomes less relevant–still worth following, but don’t be sidetracked by it. In every way that matters, Mike Coffman is on the team.

Trump’s team.

The Farce Revealed: Cory vs. Cory On Russiagate

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner.

One week ago, Sen. Cory Gardner appeared on Fox and Friends, the avowedly pro-Donald Trump morning show famous for being regularly watched by Trump personally. In that appearance, Gardner downplayed the threat posed by Russia in a way that surely pleased the show’s viewers–including that one really special viewer:

KILMEADE: Senator when they used to have battles in the old days, the generals would lead, they used to be on the front lines. Isn’t that kind of the way the President’s doing things? He leads, and behind him is Pompeo, Mattis and Bolton. Should we get used to that?

GARDNER: I think that’s exactly the style that you’ve seen from this President, whether it’s Kim Jong Un or whether it’s Vladimir Putin. [Pols emphasis] But again, I, I don’t think, you know remember what happened over the last eight years. You had, you had a President Obama who said to Mitt Romney, uh, ‘the 80s are calling they want their foreign policy back.’ And now we see Russia taking this center stage role that the Democrats denied for the last eight years. It’s pretty remarkable.

It’s difficult to interpret this any other way than validation of Trump’s approach to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and an attack on Democrats for overblowing a threat they had previously downplayed. Again, it’s critical to understand the audience for this message–hardened Trump base voters, and Donald Trump personally.

Why is it important to know about Gardner’s appearance on Fox and Friends last week? Because when Gardner isn’t on Fox, he seems to take a very different view of Trump’s foreign policy–as Denver7’s Blair Miller reported yesterday:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced a new package of sanctions aimed at Russia over its continued interference in American elections and ongoing activities in Syria and Crimea as cybersecurity officials warned that the interference was ongoing…

“The United States must continue to take strong actions against Vladimir Putin’s Russia for their global violations of international law and repeated attempts to undermine U.S. democratic institutions,” Gardner said in a statement. “Unless Russia fundamentally changes its behavior, we must not repeat the mistakes of past Administrations of trying to normalize relations with a nation that continues to pose a serious threat to the United States and our allies.”

Notice how Gardner still can’t bring himself to criticize Trump directly, couching his statement in “the mistakes of past Administrations” instead of talking about Trump’s absolutely disastrous summit in Helsinki with Putin. But even without that, the contradiction between what Gardner said on Fox and Friends about Trump’s foreign policy and what he says outside the Fox News propaganda bubble is big enough to drive a tank through. There’s just no way to reconcile this without acknowledging that Gardner is misleading somebody. Either the pro-Trump audience on Fox and Friends, or everybody else. Once you realize that Gardner simply is telling both sides what they want to hear, it’s all a lot easier to understand.

It blows Gardner’s credibility out of the water, but at least it makes sense.

Trump Administration to Gut Fuel-Efficiency Standards

What, you don’t want a car that averages 8 miles per gallon of gasoline?

As the Washington Post reports, President Trump is moving ahead with plans to gut fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles:

The Trump administration announced plans Thursday to freeze fuel-efficiency requirements for the nation’s cars and trucks through 2026 — a massive regulatory rollback likely to spur a legal battle with California and other states, as well as create potential upheaval in the nation’s automotive market.

The proposal represents an abrupt reversal of the findings that the government reached under President Barack Obama, when regulators argued that requiring more-fuel-efficient vehicles would improve public health, combat climate change and save consumers money without compromising safety.

“We will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.”

— California Gov. Jerry Brown

President Trump’s plan also would revoke California’s long-standing legal waiver to set its own tailpipe restrictions, granted under the 1970 Clean Air Act, which the state has used most recently to try to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. It also would restrict the ability of states to follow California’s lead — something a dozen states and the District of Columbia already have done.

The likely legal clash over the policy threatens to rupture the nation’s auto market, doing away with uniform national standards negotiated by the Obama administration and potentially forcing automakers to produce different vehicles to meet standards in different states — something the industry has said it does not want. [Pols emphasis]

That last sentence is particularly important to note. The big automobile manufacturers don’t want this policy implemented any more than American farmers want Trump to introduce more tariffs, but considering the input and interest of others isn’t exactly a top priority for this administration.

An analysis from the Trump administration claims that halting fuel-efficiency targets at 2020 levels could save $500 billion in something they call “societal costs.” Of course, that same analysis also shows that U.S. fuel consumption would increase by about half a million barrels of oil each day — contributing to further Climate Change problems because of increased greenhouse-gas emissions.

Municipal leaders from Colorado spoke out forcefully in opposition to these new policies during a press conference on Tuesday.

Colorado Municipal Officials: Stop the Trump Administration’s Attack on Clean Cars & Clean Air

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On Tuesday, Colorado elected municipal officials, agency directors and community leaders joined together to oppose the Trump Administration’s expected rollback of the clean car standards – which could come as soon as this week.  Speakers condemned plans by the Trump Administration to reverse the clean car standards and attack states’ authority to protect their citizens from harmful tailpipe pollution – an unprecedented violation of public health, air quality, and common-sense standards that will harm communities across Colorado.

 Speakers also thanked Governor John Hickenlooper for announcing that Colorado will exercise its right to join the more than one-third of the nation’s auto market in becoming a clean car state. Doing so won’t just protect public health; it also will benefit Colorado’s economy and the air quality in cities like Westminster, Golden, Denver, and Lakewood. Many of these communities have municipal sustainability standards, including clean air goals that would be harmed by the rollback of clean cars standards.

 For a video of the press conference, click HERE.

 “As a field engineer and a mom, I know that the clean car standards are important to my family and our community here in Lakewood. Not only do they lead to cleaner air, they also save us money at the pump. That is something that matters now and will make the future brighter for communities across our state,” said Lakewood City Councilmember Dana Gutwein.

 “We need to remember that policies made at the federal level impact communities across our country. Rolling back the clean car standards will make it harder for cities like Westminster and Lakewood to have clean air and to fight climate change. We must protect the progress we made, and that means leaving the clean car standards in place,” said Westminster City Councilmember and Mayor Pro Temp Maria De Cambra.

 “Colorado moms know what matters for our families – healthy kids. In order to keep our children healthy, we need clean car standards that reduce air pollution,” said Jen Clanahan, Head Mom at Colorado Moms Know Best.

 “Colorado can be a leader in protecting public health by pushing back against the administration’s ill-advised rollback of the clean car standards,” said Elizabeth Babcock, Manager of Air, Water and Climate for City and County of Denver. “That is why Governor Hickenlooper’s recent announcement that Colorado will look to exercise its authority under the Clean Air Act to adopt stronger tailpipe pollution standards is a win for our communities, and a win for clean air and water.”

 “The clean car standards not only save us money but are one of the most effective policies we have on the books to fight climate change. That is why communities across Colorado are expressing their support for better mileage standards, less pollution, and more consumer choice on vehicles,” said Executive Director of Colorado Communities for Climate Action, and former Mayor of Golden, Jacob Smith.

 Speakers also highlighted the pocketbook savings of the clean cars standards currently in place. If these standards are left unchanged, the average Colorado family will save $2,700 at the gas pump over the life of their vehicle. The state itself has saved over $550 million due to these strong clean car standards.

 Speakers further highlighted how rolling back fuel efficiency standards will allow automakers to make dirtier cars that pollute the air and harm our health. According to the American Lung Association, over 450,000 children and adults suffer from asthma in Colorado.

 Speakers concluded by calling on the administration to maintain these popular and successful clean car standards, which are the some of the most effective policies we have on the books to reduce carbon pollution from vehicles and fight climate change.