Kavanaugh Confirmation Process Upended

UPDATE #2: President Trump voices his support for another hearing. From the Washington Post:

“We want to go through a full process,” Trump told reporters at an event on workforce development. He added that the Senate will “go through a process and hear everybody out.”

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UPDATE: Chris Cillizza of CNN explains how everything changed this morning:

What happened here is simple: Ford called Republicans’ bluff. As an anonymous accuser, her allegations weren’t going to change Kavanaugh’s glide path to the Supreme Court. As a named accuser, she complicated that path. As a named accuser who has now expressed a willingness to tell her story — and in public — there is no longer a clear path to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. (That’s not to say he can’t make it. It is to say that there is no clear path by which he makes it.)

The reason Kavanaugh’s path is now so fraught is a unique combination of the moment in which we are currently living, the man in the White House and the onrushing midterm elections.

—–

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (left) met with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in late July.

The confirmation process for President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court was upended over the weekend when a woman came forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school.

Christine Blasey Ford confirmed via the Washington Post on Sunday that she is the person behind an accusation of sexual assault that was first revealed last week as a confidential letter to Democratic lawmakers. From the Post:

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

The Senate had been scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s appointment as soon as Thursday, but Ford’s allegations have cast new doubt on that process. As Denver7’s Blair Miller reports in a series of Tweets, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is among the chorus of voices calling for the process to slow until “full investigation” can be conducted:

Colorado’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) won’t go that far…

What Gardner does not say here is more important; he still hasn’t said whether or not he supports delaying Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote. As Politico reports, there are enough Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing public support for waiting on Ford’s testimony that a vote this week may not happen:

Less than 24 hours after Ford publicly came forward against Kavanaugh, her attorney said that she “will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the Senate Judiciary Committee has the full story,” including providing testimony. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) already had begun seeking follow-up calls for senators on Ford’s charges, and said on Monday that he is “working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner” — which could further imperil a committee vote on Kavanaugh that’s still set for Thursday.

Hatch, a senior Judiciary member, declined to commit senators to a Thursday vote on Kavanaugh and said the timing would be “up to the chairman.” But for the six Republicans who’ve urged the committee to hear from Ford, winding up the process as scheduled this week wasn’t a primary concern.

“This woman is willing to come forward and tell her story and we should listen to her,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Milwaukee radio station WTMJ. “I’m not really sure where this goes from here.”…

Johnson joins calls from GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alasaka and Arizona’s Jeff Flake and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, who told POLITICO Sunday that the committee shouldn’t vote on Kavanaugh until Ford can be heard. And Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of Republican leadership, said that “These are serious allegations that need to be looked at closely by the committee before any other action is taken.” [Pols emphasis]

Gardner had expressed his support for Kavanaugh’s nomination before these new allegations were made public. But with so many high-profile Republican Senators already willing to pump the brakes on Kavanaugh, Gardner’s position here is tenuous at best. Gardner doesn’t want to be one of the last Senators to agree to delay a vote on Kavanaugh until after Ford has a chance to testify.

Gardner: When Obama Was President, U.S. Businesses Were “Afraid”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a radio interview this morning, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) responded directly to former President Barack Obama’s point in a speech last week that the U.S. economy had turned around in 2015 and 2016, not during the Trump presidency.

“Look, when President Obama was in office, businesses were afraid to invest,” Gardner told KDMT radio host Jimmy Sengenberger. “They were afraid to bring back money from overseas. They were afraid to plan too far overhead because they new they were going to be regulated. They were going to be taxed. They were going to be discouraged from investing, because, remember, after all, they didn’t build [their businesses] according to Barack Obama.

“Under President Trump, what you’ve seen, and under this Administration, the Republican majority, we have actually relieved regulatory burdens from the backs of American businesses and families,” said Gardner on air. “We’ve lowered taxes. And as a result, you are starting to see this Obamasclerosis go away.”

Critics say Trump’s regulatory rollback threatens the environment and the economy, and his tax law will worsen inequality, drive up the debt, and throw 13 million people off the public health insurance rolls by 2025.

Just this week, for example, Trump proposed weakening Obama’s rules to limit emissions of methane, a potent climate-change gas.  The proposed rule would save oil and gas companies $485 million over the next seven years, but pollution-wise, it would be like adding 260,000 cars to the road during the same period. In July, Trump proposed allowing more pollution from cars.

While it’s true that businesses criticized Obama, they’ve increasingly expressed fear about Trump’s policies, not only about Trump’s tariffs but also about the impact of his unpredictable foreign policy stances, his environmental policies, and more.

This week, a diverse coalition of hundreds of businesses and trade association formed to fight Trump’s trade policies.

Elsewhere in the interview, Gardner expressed his “optimism” that Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed by the senate and decried the “theatrics, the antics, the harassment, the bullying that you’ve seen throughout this process.”

“We’re all proud of Justice Gorsuch,” Gardner told Sengenberger, referencing Trump’s first U.S. Supreme Court pick.

Gardner also said he believes Republicans will “expand their majority” in the U.S. Senate in the November election, adding that “Ted Cruz will win” in Texas.

Most pollsters agree that Cruz is still the favorite in Texas, but the race way closer that predicted and could be lost by Cruz. But polls do not support Gardner’s stance that the GOP will gain senate seats. Races across the country are too close to call and could swing to the Democrats.

Gardner Hopes Like Hell Trump Doesn’t Waffle On Weed

FRIDAY UPDATE: Denver7’s Blair Miller:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet on Thursday sent a scathing letter to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy urging the administration to reconsider its quest to gather negative data about legal marijuana programs, like the one in Colorado…

In his letter Thursday to James Carroll, the acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Bennet said that Trump and his administration “has further eroded any credibility it had on the issue” and that the committee’s work would “further contribute to the Administration’s incoherent and backward-looking policy on marijuana enforcement and regulation.”

“At a time when we should be investing in objective and peer-reviewed scientific research on marijuana and the effects of legalization, the White House is instead using taxpayer money to spread a politically-driven narrative,” Bennet wrote. “What’s perhaps most unfortunate is that my state and others stand ready to work as partners with the federal government to gather the data and research necessary to ensure we are protecting public health and safety.”

Isn’t this what Sen. Cory Gardner, the “Trump whisperer” on all matters marijuana, should be saying?

—–

The Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports on a story that once again has Colorado’s multibillion-dollar marijuana industry facing the prospect of a big buzzkill:

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, remains “confident” President Donald Trump will keep his promise not to meddle with state marijuana policy despite a report that the White House asked federal agencies to compile statistics and stories that paint the drug in a negative light.

“There seems to be a lot of interest in these storylines going around about how staff are trying to manipulate the president or to work around his firmly held policy positions – including the position he’s held since the campaign that marijuana policy is best left to the states …,” Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano said.

The storyline comes from an article first published Wednesday by BuzzFeed News about The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee. It reportedly asked 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to provide “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana and how it might threaten the country. The reported purpose behind amassing all these data points was to brief the president.

Not to worry, says Sen. Gardner, who received a large helping of credit for “saving” Colorado’s marijuana industry from the threat of a crackdown by Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he interceded with Trump earlier this year. But setting aside the strange bedfellows of a conservative Republican championing the marijuana business, an act of political expediency that Gardner has reportedly had to explain to a great many unhappy fellow conservatives, there’s the larger problem that Gardner really has no control over the capricious decisionmaking of the Trump administration. Just like North Korea or any other matter on which Gardner has tried to run cover for Trump, he’s at the mercy of Trump’s inconsistency.

Which means that, well, sure. If Trump decides it’s in his best political interests to crack down on weed despite it all, you can expect Cory Gardner will be left flapping in the breeze without even a moment’s consideration. In that event, we can only hope that the voices who praised Gardner so loudly for protecting their reefer last time will realize that a counterintuitive friend is oftentimes a fair-weather friend, too.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 31)

The University of Colorado and Colorado State University face off tonight in Denver for the 90th “Rocky Mountain Showdown.” It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► President Trump is totally winning the unpopularity contest. As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump’s disapproval rating has hit a high point of 60 percent, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that also finds that clear majorities of Americans support the special counsel’s Russia investigation and say the president should not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

At the dawn of the fall campaign sprint to the midterm elections, which will determine whether Democrats retake control of Congress, the poll finds a majority of the public has turned against Trump and is on guard against his efforts to influence the Justice Department and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s wide-ranging probe.

Nearly half of Americans, 49 percent, say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings that could lead to Trump being removed from office, while 46 percent say Congress should not.

Read that last one again: Nearly HALF of Americans think Congress should being impeachment proceedings. That’s pretty astonishing.

 

► Former Arizona Sen. John McCain is being honored in Washington D.C. ahead of burial services on Saturday. McCain’s body is lying in state under the Capitol rotunda today.

 

► The billionaire Republican donors known as the Koch Brothers revealed their list of Congressional Republicans they plan to help defend this fall through their Americans for Prosperity organization. Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) did not make the list. Coffman claims the snub is because of a disagreement on the Farm Bill, which he explained with this very Coffman-esque quote:

“We differed recently on an issue. It was important to them, they wanted a ‘no’ vote on the farm bill. Let me tell you: I was with them last time — I voted ‘no.’ But I voted ‘yes’ this time.”

If you want Coffman to support your position, generally you just need to wait a few months.

Meanwhile, Congressional Republican leaders are getting close to a self-imposed deadline to abandon underperforming incumbents who look likely to lose to Democrats in November. Coffman is probably not at risk of being cut off by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), but 2018 is shaping up to be a strange cycle.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 30)

There are 123 days remaining in 2018, in case you haven’t been keeping track. 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…

► Supporters of President Trump are growing increasingly worried that he is completely unprepared to deal with a potential Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. From the Washington Post:

President Trump’s advisers and allies are increasingly worried that he has neither the staff nor the strategy to protect himself from a possible Democratic takeover of the House, which would empower the opposition party to shower the administration with subpoenas or even pursue impeachment charges.

Within Trump’s orbit, there is consensus that his current legal team is not equipped to effectively navigate an onslaught of congressional demands, and there has been broad discussion about bringing on new lawyers experienced in white-collar defense and political scandals…

“Winter is coming,” said one Trump ally in close communication with the White House. [Pols emphasis] “Assuming Democrats win the House, which we all believe is a very strong likelihood, the White House will be under siege. But it’s like tumbleweeds rolling down the halls over there. Nobody’s prepared for war.”

 

As CNN reports, top Republicans are privately pleading with President Trump to not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the midterm elections:

Trump has been very public about his frustration with Sessions and has been venting to Republican members of the Senate and House for months now, according to several Senate Republican sources with direct knowledge of the conversations.

The President regularly goes on tangents about how Sessions is not serving him well — specifically Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. The probe has formed a cloud over the White House, and the President believes it is bogging down his time in office…

…Trump is also dismissive of Sessions’ personality, temperament and diminutive stature.

According to Politico, aides have said Trump complains that Sessions “talks like he has marbles in his mouth.”

Never one to listen to advice, Trump is apparently personally lobbying Congressional Republicans for their assent in firing Sessions.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is taking a strange gamble in saying that he “will not allow the United States to be fooled again” regarding North Korean denuclearization talks. Gardner has generally been parroting President Trump on North Korea since he screwed up with his public statements back in June.

 

Fox 31 fact-checks a new television ad hitting Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton for his poor attendance record as State Treasurer:

It is true that on two occasions Stapleton missed PERA meetings to lunch with individuals who would eventually donate to his campaigns. The Truth Check believes Stapleton would have better served the state on those occasions by attending the PERA meeting…

Republicans are now trying to hit back at Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jared Polis over missed votes in Congress, but this is not a winning strategy; Stapleton’s record on this subject is considerably more problematic.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Cory Gardner (Probably) Won’t be Fooled Again on North Korea!

Gosh, you’re the bestest President ever.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) likes to think of himself as one of the Senate’s foremost experts on foreign policy related to North Korea. In reality, the White House tends to ignore Gardner (who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and whatever it is he has to say about the DPRK and its cherubic leader, Kim Jong Un — unless, of course, the Trump administration has to clean up after Gardner inserts his foot in his mouth.

As we wrote on Tuesday, Gardner was (once again) made to look like a fool by President Trump in regards to North Korea:

That Gardner is still clinging to the phrase “maximum pressure” to describe American policy toward North Korea shows how far removed from reality Gardner’s rhetoric is. When Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with no preconditions, the “maximum pressure” strategy against North Korea was effectively abandoned. Trump’s abrupt cancellation of that summit, only to un-cancel it a few days later, means that no one should consider these latest threats to be in any way definitive…

…In summary, the state of American diplomacy with North Korea can be characterized in many ways, but in 2018 the one phrase that does not apply is “maximum pressure.” We believe that Gardner knows this perfectly well, but he also knows that anything other than covering for Trump no matter what happens would have serious consequences: both for Gardner personally, and Republicans in the upcoming midterms generally.

It’s what Cory Gardner has been reduced to under Trump. A toady with a script that changes too often.

Perhaps Gardner is embarrassed by his role as Trump’s North Korea toady. Perhaps Gardner realizes that he needs to start to act like a real boy in advance of his 2020 re-election campaign. Whatever the reason, today Gardner drew a line in the sand that he might not be able to avoid crossing anytime soon:

Smile!

Gardner now says confidently that he “will not allow the United States to be fooled again.” This is a bold statement coming from a guy who was totally onboard with Trump’s salesmanship on June 7:

Gardner says he believes the Trump Administration’s policy of isolating North Korea is working.

A few days after than statement, Gardner was dutifully cheerleading for Trump in the wake of the President’s absurd claim that he had fixed the problem of a North Korea nuclear threat after one sit-down meeting with Kim Jong Un. Did Gardner really believe that Trump had “solved” North Korea at the time? That seems…unlikely.

Anyway, regardless of what Gardner thought two months ago, he now swears that he will not be fooled again! Or, more accurately, that he “will not allow the United States to be fooled again.”

If you have a nagging feeling that Gardner won’t be able to keep this promise, you’re not alone.

Trump Makes Gardner Look Silly On North Korea (Again)

“Maximum Pressure.”

Bloomberg joining numerous outlets in reporting on the recent souring of relations between North Korea and the United States, despite President Donald Trump’s determined effort to cast his erratic diplomacy in the best possible light:

The U.S. doesn’t plan to suspend more joint military drills with South Korean forces, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said, as diplomatic progress on North Korea’s denuclearization appears to have stalled.

“We have no plans at this time to suspend any more exercises,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday, adding that the Defense Department hasn’t made decisions about major annual drills expected next year. “We’ll make decisions on that in consultation with State.”

Mattis said he’s working in coordination with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s diplomatic efforts — “it’s all riding on Secretary Pompeo’s shoulders,” he said — but he also signaled that smaller-scale exercises are going ahead. In an apparent response to more routine training efforts, North Korea has stepped up criticism recently, saying American forces are conducting covert military rehearsals for an invasion.

In separate news reports today, we learn that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s latest visit to Pyongyang was cancelled abruptly following receipt of a nastygram from the North Korean government. This announcement doesn’t mean that provocative military exercises will immediately resume after Trump ordered them halted last June–just that at some point in the future, they might resume. You’ll recall that Sen. Cory Gardner helped misinform the news cycle on these exercises when they were halted, getting smacked down by the White House when he falsely claimed they weren’t.

So it’s more than a bit curious that to the same Sen. Gardner, this latest spat represents nothing less than the second coming of Douglas MacArthur:

That Gardner is still clinging to the phrase “maximum pressure” to describe American policy toward North Korea shows how far removed from reality Gardner’s rhetoric is. When Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with no preconditions, the “maximum pressure” strategy against North Korea was effectively abandoned. Trump’s abrupt cancellation of that summit, only to un-cancel it a few days later, means that no one should consider these latest threats to be in any way definitive. After all, this was the President of the United States exactly four days ago:

In summary, the state of American diplomacy with North Korea can be characterized in many ways, but in 2018 the one phrase that does not apply is “maximum pressure.” We believe that Gardner knows this perfectly well, but he also knows that anything other than covering for Trump no matter what happens would have serious consequences: both for Gardner personally, and Republicans in the upcoming midterms generally.

It’s what Cory Gardner has been reduced to under Trump. A toady with a script that changes too often.

Gardner Goes to Bat for “President Trump’s America First Agenda”

(Sen. Cory Gardner and President Trump are best buds these days — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner blasted out an urgent fundraising appeal over the weekend, stating:

Gardner: Your contribution is vital to the future of President Trump’s America First agenda. With your support, we will strengthen our Senate Majority. Will you step up and make a contribution today?

Gardner emailed the plea to fellow Republicans in his role as the Chair of a GOP committee that’s in charge of electing U.S. Senators in the November election.

Republicans hold a narrow majority in the U.S. Senate currently, but both the senate chamber and the U.S. House of Representatives could change to Democratic control in November — an outcome Gardner referenced in his fundraising appeal in an effort to create sense of urgency.

Gardner: Democrats are spending millions on negative and misleading attack ads in their attempt to win back the Senate in 2018. The stakes are too high, and time is running out. We have 5 days until our crucial fundraising deadline, and we are well short of our goal. Pitch in NOW to help us DEFEND the Republican Majority! Senate Republicans are counting on you to step up and help us win in November!

The email promised that all donations would be matched by four times, though the source of the matching funds wasn’t indicated, and Gardner’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Gardner has indicated that he will give up his leadership of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) after the upcoming election to focus on his own re-election in Colorado in 2020.

Asked this year if he was planning to run again for his current U.S. Senate leadership position, in which he’s charged with electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate, Gardner told The Hill, a Washington DC publication, “I am going to be focused on 2020.”  This was interpreted as a sign that he would give up the position, which gives Gardner a seat at the Republican leadership table in the U.S. Senate.

In June, Gardner told conservatives at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver that Republicans will be able to confirm scores of judges if they can retain control of the U.S. Senate in November.

Gardner said the “media is afraid of this,” and they “want us to fail.”

Since then, Trump nominated U.S. District Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Gardner has fully endorsed the conservative, after refusing to meet with Obama’s Supreme Court selection, Merrick Garland, prior to the 2016 election.

Gardner’s critics say he tries to present himself as independent-minded about Trump’s agenda, while backing the president in under-the-radar fundraising appeals and voting with the mogul over 90 percent of the time.

Gardner Regional Director Goes Burqa Bonkers!

UPDATE: Aaaand…deleted!

—–

At the top of Cathy Garcia, Sen. Cory Gardner’s Pueblo Regional Director’s Facebook page now:

Not much additional commentary needed here! When it comes to religious freedom, not all “People of the Book” need apply. The only real question is, will Sen. Cory Gardner, jet-setting member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “like and share?”

He’s obliged to do something.

Gardner Lashes Himself to Trump, Now and Forevermore

Sen. Cory Gardner (right) waves to onlookers behind President Trump ahead of a campaign event in West Virginia (Aug. 21, 2018)

Tuesday, August 21 will go down in history as the day that a sitting President of the United States was named as a co-conspirator in a criminal activity that could ultimately lead to the end of his administration. As John Dean, former White House counsel for Richard Nixon, told Bloomberg News: “I think we’ve established today that we have a criminal president, and that is historic.”

The history books will likely pay less attention to the political fate of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), but Tuesday was a monumental day for Colorado’s junior Senator nonetheless. Gardner was riding with the President on Air Force One when news broke that two former Trump associates — onetime campaign manager Paul Manafort and former personal attorney/fixer Michael Cohen — had been convicted of serious crimes that could foretell doom for the Trump administration. When Trump descended from Air Force One for a campaign rally in West Virginia, he was followed by West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and a smiling, waving Gardner. 

The significance of this moment for Gardner is unmistakable. For months Gardner has been inching closer to Trump’s inner circle. Small admonitions have morphed into demonstrations of blind loyalty. What we saw on Tuesday was just the final step. Gardner permanently hitched his political wagon to Trump when he descended from Air Force One behind the President, grinning and waving on the tarmac just before Trump addressed the media on the Manafort/Cohen bombshells.

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner greet supporters on the tarmac at an airport in Charleston, West Virginia.

As Bloomberg News reports, Gardner was apparently a source of comfort for Trump on the darkest day of his Presidency to date:

Aboard Air Force One en route to West Virginia, Trump watched Fox News coverage of the Manafort verdict and Cohen’s plea, two people near him said…

…But there was no joking around on Air Force One like there sometimes is.

People close to the president reassured him and shared ways to deal with fallout from double-barreled bad news. What Trump was most interested in: How it’s all playing.

Aides were aware Tuesday was a very bad day and were relieved the president wasn’t sitting in the White House residence tied to the television for the evening. His travel companions, Congressman Alex Mooney and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, both of West Virginia, and Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, distracted him with conversation about legislative issues and other topics, the people added. [Pols emphasis]

You can also bury any excuse that Trump or Gardner weren’t aware of the severity of the moment. Politico’s Lorraine Woellert was part of the press gaggle on Air Force One:

As the plane throttled for takeoff, everything hit: Trump’s former campaign manager had been convicted of a felony and the president’s onetime fixer was turning against him in a campaign corruption case.

This wasn’t just a case of terrible timing for Gardner, either. Gardner was with Trump in West Virginia in part because of his duties as Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), though Gardner did not accompany the President on similar recent campaign stops in North Dakota and Indiana. Gardner didn’t need to be with Trump on Tuesday, but there he was.

Later, at a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey, Trump made a point of acknowledging Gardner from the podium. Said Trump:

This is a man that makes a promise and it’s 100% good. He’s tremendous and has done so much. He’s from a place called Colorado. And he’s helping to lead our campaign to elect more Senate Republicans, like the man we’re going to elect in West Virginia. Cory Gardner. Thank you, Cory, thank you. [Trump looks to his left and pumps his fist enthusiastically] Great job. You’re doing a great job. Thank you.

Trump is still planning to run for re-election in 2020. As far as we know, so is Gardner.

The political futures for these two Republicans are now intertwined. For better or for worse, Cory Gardner is an official member of Team Trump.

Cory Gardner is So Screwed

UPDATE #2: The kiss of death.

—–

UPDATE: And this one…

Sen. Cory Gardner (right) exiting Air Force One with President Trump Tuesday afternoon.

—–

Guess who was the third person to deplane from Air Force One this afternoon in West Virginia?

Via CNN

Yup, that’s Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). You’ll be seeing a lot more of these pictures.

Cory Gardner, Banana Republican

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

The decision this week by President Donald Trump to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan continues to reverberate, being an unprecedented break with longstanding bipartisan tradition to strike back at one of the administration’s more potent critics. Trump’s original threats to revoke clearances for his critics was laughed off by House Speaker Paul Ryan as “trolling,” but nobody’s laughing now.

They’re normalizing:

That’s Colorado’s own Sen. Cory Gardner, defending the decision to revoke a former CIA director’s security clearances, acknowledging that the action was taken because of things John Brennan said about the President. We get that Brennan has no right to a security clearance, and the the President necessarily has the authority to revoke them.

But this is not how American presidents behave. This is how petty thugs with no checks on their power behave.

At least for the purposes of this interview, though, Gardner was all game face–CNN’s Manu Raju continues:

To summarize, the United States is the in the grip of an unprecedented political and moral crisis because Donald Trump is disgracing his office at such a rapid pace it can barely be catalogued. He is alienating our allies, emboldening our enemies, dividing the American public, and misusing his power as President to lash out against his critics. His serial mistreatment of women is setting back gender relations in this country by decades. Donald Trump is unquestionably one of the worst Presidents in American history, perhaps the worst, and the damage Trump is doing will take years after he leaves office to undo.

And now we know with certainty: Cory Gardner is not going to lift a finger to stop it.

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.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

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.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Rick Perry, Cory Gardner Tour NREL Tomorrow

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, eating a corn dog.

A press release from the Department of Energy announces the Secretary of Energy hisself, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, will tour Golden’s National Renewable Energy Lab tomorrow accompanied the always-cherubic Sen. Cory Gardner:

On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will travel to the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. While there, he will tour the Energy Systems Integration Facility and the Science and Technology Facility with Senator Cory Gardner. They will see first-hand the wide range of research and development being conducted at the lab – from high-performance computing to solar materials research.

Perry and Gardner will also stop by the NREL Partner Forum and then provide open press remarks and answer employee questions at an all-hands meeting. Following these events, they will hold a brief media availability.

Readers will recall that now-Secretary Perry famously pledged to abolish the Department of Energy if elected President–sort of, since he couldn’t remember the name of the agency when pressed to identify which departments of the federal government he would abolish in a debate. Once Donald Trump nominated Perry to serve as the Secretary of the very same Department of Energy–which we assume, when you get right down to it, was Trump making some kind of joke–Perry expressed “regret” at having made such a rash policy prescription.

Whatever the fate of the Department of Energy as a whole, NREL itself has been subjected to several periods of uncertainty by Republican administrations and Congresses, but it does appear that the GOP has bigger fish to fry between now and the November elections. That is, staying in power, and kicking renewable energy to please the fossil fuel industry isn’t a good look for Republicans going into this particularly hostile midterm.

So hooray! Rick Perry loves…what’s that place again?

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)

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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.