Earlier this week we noted an interview for The Get More Smarter Podcast with Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora).
In the interview with hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii, Crow discussed the events of January 6; his confrontation with a fellow House Member the morning before the attack; how Crow explains last week’s events to his children; and why impeaching President Trump was unavoidable after he incited an insurrection.
You can listen to the full 15-minute interview below. After the jump, we have included a transcription of Crow’s comments.
When Tom Rice voted “yes” on the impeachment of Donald Trump over the President’s role in inciting the riot that led to the storming of the US Capitol, most close congressional watchers assumed he had made a mistake.
After all, there was little to indicate that the reliably conservative South Carolina Republican would join nine other colleagues in breaking with the President (and the party) to back impeaching Trump. Unlike Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), Rice hadn’t been an outspoken critic of Trump. And unlike Reps. John Katko (New York) and David Valadao (California), Rice doesn’t represent a swing district.
“Compared to the often raucous members of the state’s congressional delegation, Rice has been more low-profile and focused on his legislative work,” wrote the Almanac of American Politics of Rice, who has represented eastern South Carolina’s 7th district since 2012.
But Rice hadn’t made a mistake or accidentally pressed the wrong button. His vote to impeach was real — and without question, the most surprising of the 10 Republicans who bucked the President.
Dana Milbank of The Washington Post ponders the thought process of the 10 Republicans who voted in favor of impeachment.
► Trump’s impeachment trial now moves to the U.S. Senate, where it won’t likely be taken up until late next week at the earliest. As The Washington Post and others have reported, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he might support impeachment, if only to expedite the process of removing Trump’s presence from the Republican Party.
► 9News reports on local law enforcement efforts to secure the area around the State Capitol building in advance of planned “protests” in the next week.
► If you thought Colorado Republicans might have learned a lesson from their second consecutive drubbing at the polls in 2020…well, they didn’t. Led by new House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, House Republicans tried a bunch of pointless shenanigans on Wednesday as the state legislature briefly gaveled into session before a recess until Feb. 16 for coronavirus safety precautions.
As Alex Burness of The Denver Post notes:
Way out of power and largely irrelevant when it comes to actually setting policy, the CO House GOP in Nov. chose a new leader who’d supposedly change course. On Day 1 of session, they bucked tradition by protesting the formality of electing a Dem speaker. New year, same caucus. https://t.co/W3tjLPYUXg
Rep. Jason Crow comforts a fellow House Member during last Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Our first podcast episode of 2021 is a big one: We have an EXCLUSIVE interview with Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora), detailing the harrowing moments surrounding last week’s siege of the U.S. Capitol.
Hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Rep. Crow about the events of January 6; his confrontation with a fellow House Member the morning before the attack; how Crow explains last week’s events to his children; and why impeaching President Trump was unavoidable after he incited an insurrection.
► As POLITICO reports, momentum continues to build for impeaching President Trump:
House Democrats are moving quickly toward impeaching President Donald Trump as early next week, a reflection of the seething outrage that remains over his incitement of deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol.
Timing remains in flux and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to make a decision on exactly how to proceed, including whether to pursue a constitutional process that could remove Trump without impeachment. Top Democrats are still in talks with all their members and will hold a caucus-wide call at noon. But they are expected to decide today on their next steps, according to several lawmakers and aides.
Whether or not Trump could officially be impeached before his time in office expires at noon on January 20 is less important than holding Trump accountable for this week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol:
If Democrats pass articles early next week — and Pelosi immediately sent them to the Senate — the Senate would be required to begin a trial immediately under congressional rules. Trump’s first impeachment trial, on charges he abused his power and obstructed a congressional investigation, ultimately lasted four weeks before the Senate delivered its verdict.
That timetable suggests the goal of any impeachment is unlikely to be Trump’s removal and is much more focused on the option to prevent him from holding federal office in the future. Some Democrats believe that possibility could woo Senate Republicans, some of whom are eyeing a 2024 bid themselves.
► CNN reports on another tragic loss resulting from the Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol building:
Prosecutors in the US Attorney’s office plan to open a federal murder investigation into the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a US Capitol Police officer who died Thursday night, a law enforcement official tells CNN.
Sicknick was injured Wednesday when a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol. He died at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” Capitol Police officials said in a statement.
The death is being investigated by the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide branch, the US Capitol Police and their federal partners.
Sicknick was many Capitol Police officers who were attacked with lead pipes and other blunt instruments.
► As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, there is a growing list of high-profile names and organizations calling on the resignation of Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Doug Lamborn for taking part in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election:
The letter said the two lawmakers “have betrayed the trust of Colorado voters by helping incite violence against the body you were elected to, a body designed to serve us. By endorsing the president’s unsubstantiated and repeatedly debunked, discredited, and false claims of voter fraud, you encouraged and tacitly endorsed the actions of these terrorists and threatened the basic foundation of our democracy.”…
…Signatories to the letter include seven Democratic members of the Colorado General Assembly, city council members in Aurora, Broomfield, Denver and Edgewater; former Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Trish Zornio and Lorena Garcia, and two dozen progressive organizations, including unions, Planned Parenthood and ProgressNow Colorado.
Meanwhile, Boebert appears to have no concept of the harm she and fellow Trumpians have caused. In a video released today, Boebert sounds absolutely looney:
We are the United States of America. Freedom will find a way to persevere. God bless each and every one of you. You are all in my prayers. pic.twitter.com/EoOAbJVeMa
UPDATE: Colorado called for Joe Biden and John Hickenlooper by national outlets at 7:01pm.
Welcome to blue statehood.
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Your friends from “The Get More Smarter Podcast” will be LIVE tonight for an Election Night Extravaganza. Special guests will be dropping by throughout the evening to discuss 2020 election results in real time. We’ll kick things off at 6:30 pm on Facebook and Periscope. Check us out on YouTube or CLICK HERE FOR THE FACEBOOK LINK.
Two years ago, we were talking a lot in this space about #Crowmentum. The race for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District was looking better for Democrats in 2018 after a couple of near-misses (and “not-so-near” misses) in previous election cycles in which CO-06 was a top battleground in the state. Democrats were cautiously optimistic that first-time candidate Jason Crow could knock off longtime Republican politician Mike Coffman after some encouraging poll numbers and strong fundraising reports.
As it turned out, Crow didn’t just win — he annihilated Coffman by 11 points. Crow’s decisive victory was a surprisingly-strong repudiation of both Coffman and Trump, but there was still an outstanding question about how much CO-6 itself might have really changed. After all, this was a a district that had been represented by a Republican in every year since it was first created — including 5 terms from conservative firebrand Tom Tancredo.
That question will be answered definitively in a little more than one week, but it’s telling in itself that we are barely even discussing CO-06 in 2020. As Justin Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, the CO-06 battleground of the past decade is a much different place today:
For the first time in several election cycles, there has not been an influx of outside money into the 6th District this year. There has been no public polling and no debate. All is quiet in what was once a well-trodden political battleground…
…Crow has run only positive television ads — a common tactic among incumbents who expect to win easily — that have highlighted his work on health care, the environment and coronavirus relief. Over the summer, he took his volunteers off the campaign trail and put them to work sending 67,000 text messages with COVID-19 resources and information to 6th District residents.
So what happened in CO-06? A couple of things: 1) Crow’s margin of victory in 2018 diluted enthusiasm for a 2020 challenge, and 2) Crow had a very successful and high-profile first term in Congress.
We’ll start with the second point first. Crow proved in his freshman term in Congress to be a hard-working, accessible, and likable Representative whose voice was being heard in Washington D.C. For example, an Op-Ed signed by Crow and several other Members of Congress with military/national security backgrounds ultimately might have convinced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move forward with impeachment hearings against President Trump. Crow was later selected as one of seven Democrats to serve as “impeachment managers” in Trump’s Senate trial. Whether you liked him or not, you couldn’t accuse Crow of not being fully engaged in the job.
House for House? Not so much.
But even before Crow proved himself in Congress, his 11-point victory over Coffman in 2018 complicated Republican thinking about 2020. If there was a Republican bench of up-and-comers in CO-06, nobody wanted to sit there anymore.
Thus, Republicans were left with former State GOP Chairman and “CEO” Steve House as their nominee — though only after House convinced professional candidate/grifter Casper Stockham to make a hopeless bid for CO-07 instead. House pushed ahead with a completely forgettable campaign that we — and everybody else — barely noticed, aside from his silly attempts at matching Crow’s military record by pretending that he had the support of people with the word “veteran” in their title.
As Wingerter notes in his story for the Post, House doesn’t appear to be giving himself much of a chance next week, either:
Win or lose, House plans to keep his campaign office on Colfax through the rest of the year. He has bought decks of Scrummy, a vocabulary game developed in Denver, and plans to host tournaments there for local kids after the election.
That sounds nice.
Colorado will likely gain an eighth congressional seat after the 2020 Census numbers are counted, which could significantly alter the makeup of CO-06 in 2022. Redistricting might make Republicans more enthusiastic about challenging Crow in two years — though by that point Crow will be an even stronger candidate than he is already.
A Democratic congressman from Colorado introduced a bill Thursday that seeks to gather racial policing data from across the nation, create a federal task force to investigate local law enforcement misconduct and provide financial incentives to agencies that implement pilot programs to reduce wrongdoing.
“This should have happened a long time ago,” said U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, who has teamed up with House Democratic colleagues Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, of Texas, and Rep. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota, on the measure. “A lot of people have died and been seriously hurt because we haven’t made the change we have to make.”
The bill comes as congressional Democrats seek to introduce a wave of legislation aimed at police accountability in the wake of last week’s death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Floyd’s death has prompted protests across the nation, including seven straight days of demonstrations in Denver.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who represents the location where George Floyd was allegedly murdered by Minneapolis police, goes into more detail about the proposed bill in a release yesterday:
This bill will establish a federal agency responsible for investigating all nationwide deaths occurring in police custody, officer-involved shootings and uses of force that result in severe bodily injury. The agency will conduct unbiased, independent investigations and issue determinations of responsibility and recommendations for reform that will prevent future violence. Those findings will be admissible in court and federal funding for law enforcement activities and equipment will be curtailed if a police department fails to take meaningful action on the Board’s policy and reform recommendations.
“The systemic targeting and use of deadly and brutal force against Black people stems from the long legacy of slavery, lynching, and Jim Crow laws in the U.S.,” said Rep. Omar. “If we are to change this pattern of violent racism, we need to fundamentally restructure our criminal justice system. We need an independent agency—outside law enforcement—to investigate misuse of force in an unbiased manner.”
Politically, this is an issue that plays very well for Rep. Jason Crow. Crow’s diverse district centered on Aurora is no stranger to police violence against people of color. Republicans might not agree, however, particularly with an energetic campaign underway to demonize four women freshman colleagues of Rep. Crow’s known as “The Squad”–which includes Rep. Omar, Crow’s partner on this bill. With respect to the GOP’s vituperative attacks on those four freshman members of Congress in particular, there’s a sharp cultural divide between audiences who chuckle along at derogatory attacks on women of color in leadership, and those who find such attacks to be racist and repellent.
In that event, Republicans may find out the hard way that Aurora is on the wrong side of that divide.
► Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate is moving “at warp speed” (which is about “half-speed” in regular person parlance) on producing a massive stimulus bill in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As CNN reports:
Two GOP sources told CNN’s Manu Raju that Republican senators are close to reaching an agreement among themselves on the details of Mnuchin’s plan. The conference plans to meet later on Wednesday to discuss where they stand, with one of the sources expecting an agreement by lunchtime.
The idea is to cut a deal among themselves, and then try to hammer out a bipartisan agreement with Democrats on a massive package that could pass Congress in a matter of days. But Democrats have their own plans, so there are hard-fought negotiations ahead.
The bill McConnell is talking about would be the third major piece of federal legislation to move through Congress this month:
The first bill, which started in the House, passed the Senate, and was quickly signed by President Trump, dealt primarily with medical and emergency response needs. This was the bill that was opposed by only two House Members, one of who was Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley). In the Senate, only Kentucky Republican Rand Paul voted “NO.”
This is the trillion-dollar “bailout” bill that will likely include sending money directly to Americans within the next couple of weeks. Politico has more on this third major piece of legislation:
Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) saidTuesday there is a “high level of interest” among Republicans for a Trump administration proposal tosend as many as two $1,000 checks directly to individual Americans to help respond to the economic slowdown, a move that could cost an estimated $500 billion, according to GOP sources.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made a pitch for the initiative at a lunch with Senate Republicans on Tuesday, part of an $800 billion-plus package being floated by the White House that also includes as much as $250 billion in emergency loans for smalls businesses being hit by the economic slowdown.
Under the Mnuchin plan, direct payments — on a means-tested basis — could be sent to American via the IRS as early as next month, although even that may not be as fast as some in Congress want.
For more on these bills and a host of other Coronavirus-related questions, check out this interview from Tuesday with Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) on The Get More Smarter Podcast:
► Two members of Colorado’s congressional delegation are in self-quarantine after being alerted that they may have had contact with an infected person. From The Denver Post:
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Jason Crow both announced Tuesday that they’re self-quarantining after coming into contact last week with a constituent who subsequently was found to have the coronavirus.
It’s not clear if it was the same constituent, but the contact was on the same day — March 11 — and both men were notified of the contact by the same health department.
“I was alerted today by the Tri-County Health Department that a Coloradan who visited my Washington office for a constituent meeting has tested positive for coronavirus,” Gardner, a Yuma Republican, said in a press release.
“While I am not showing any symptoms at this time, I have made the decision to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution,” he added.
Crow is also not reporting showing any symptoms but is self-quarantining for precautionary reasons.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) did what everyone expected him to do yesterday when the Senate voted on two articles of impeachment against President Trump: He covered up for Trump and voted to acquit the President.
In response to a question from Joe St. George of Fox 31 News about whether the Senate vote set a new precedent for election interference, Gardner had the temerity to exclaim that “foreign interference in our elections is absolutely wrong.”
In an interview with Colorado Public Radio, Gardner argued that the impeachment of Trump was really just a policy kerfuffle. “This is a policy question,” he said. “Does the United States have the ability to investigate how its taxpayer dollars are being spent?”
Gardner’s bullshit was swiftly condemned by lawmakers and media outlets alike. Here’s Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora), who served as one of the House impeachment managers in the Senate trial, speaking to Colorado Public Radio in response to Gardner’s “policy disagreement” explanation:
“The trial showed unequivocally that that’s just not true. Cory Gardner is not telling the truth there.’’
Crow said further that he believed Gardner was “doing what he feels is politically in his own best interest instead of doing what is right and upholding his oath,” and it’s impossible to argue otherwise. Kyle Clark of 9News had this to say on Wednesday evening:
Hundreds of Democrats and Republicans in Congress faced that central question of whether President Trump did something wrong, and they showed the basic courage to directly answer that question for voters…
…But the whole impeachment trial has now come and gone without Senator Cory Gardner ever coming up with the basic courage to directly answer that question. [Pols emphasis]
But the unkindest cut was reserved for the editorial board of The Denver Post, which absolutely lit into Colorado’s Junior Senator on Thursday:
Sen. Cory Gardner either thinks it’s OK for a president to pressure a foreign government to investigate a U.S. citizen for personal and political gain or he’s too afraid to criticize this president for doing just that.
We’re not sure which is worse.
Gardner failed to address the issue on the floor of Congress while he was explaining to the public his decision to acquit the president on that very question. In subsequent media interviews where he was asked the question directly, he did the trademark Gardner dodge and weave.
That was just the beginning. Here’s the knockout blow:
Gardner once said he would stand up to his own party. Turns out he won’t even be critical of the actions of a member of his own party. He must believe what Trump did was fine. Why won’t he just say that?
Coloradans deserve a senator who will be straightforward and honest with them. Coloradans deserve a senator with a track record of bipartisanship. Coloradans deserve a senator who will call out things that are wrong and work to correct them. Coloradans deserve better than Cory Gardner. [Pols emphasis]
Colorado Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora), meanwhile, is earning rave reviews for his performance as one of seven House “impeachment managers” prosecuting the case against Trump. Here’s NBC News Capitol Hill Correspondent Kasie Hunt on Tuesday:
Jason Crow, a surprise manager, today demonstrating why @SpeakerPelosi picked him
Tuesday’s session lasted almost 13 hours, according to CNBC. Crow, a former Army Ranger, spoke late into the evening and noted that despite the late hour, it was morning in Ukraine, where soldiers were fighting Russia and depending on U.S. aid. He previously served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The American people deserve answers,” Crow said Tuesday. “I remember what it feels like to not have the equipment you need when you need it. Real people’s lives are at stake. That’s why this matters. We need this information so we can ensure that this never happens again. Eventually, this will all come out.”
“We will have answers to these questions. The question now is whether we will have them in time, and who here will be on the right side of history.”
— Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora)
Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on Crow’s performance from Tuesday:
Crow took to the Senate floor in the evening to argue for a subpoena of documents from OMB, where testimony and media reports suggest officials were concerned by Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine.
“We know these documents exist and we know the only reason we do not have them is because the president directed OMB not to release them,” Crow said, referring to what he claims are key documents that reveal how the president’s controversial order was enacted. “Because he knows what they would show.”
Crow went through a timeline of events related to the withholding of aid to Ukraine in the summer of 2019, punctuating his remarks on several occasions by saying, “The American people deserve answers.” Crow talked about his own combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the importance of military aid to soldiers in wartime.
“Who knew what, and when? OMB documents would shed light on OMB’s actions as the president’s scheme unraveled,” the congressman said.
Crow’s background as an Army Ranger who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan allows him to frame the withholding of military aid from Ukraine in a very personal manner; there aren’t many Members of Congress who could have the same impact, as you can see from this CNN clip below:
One member of Colorado’s Congressional delegation is standing up for what he believes and making a passionate case for his colleagues to follow. The other is Cory Gardner.
► The House of Representatives will vote today to send articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the announcement today and introduced the seven House Members who will serve as “impeachment managers.” One of them is Colorado’s own Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora).
The Democrat from Colorado is in his first term as Congress. Before Congress, he served as an Army Ranger, leading combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was also partner in a law firm in Colorado. According to the Almanac of American Politics, he wasn’t a prosecutor, but he “conducted internal investigations nationwide, responded to emergency events and handled a wide-range of government inquiries.” He also represents the kind of district — a suburban one in a swing state — that Democrats will need to hold onto in November to keep their majorities.
He is the only manager who does not sit on any of the impeachment inquiry committees, but he had a role in swaying Pelosi to authorize the impeachment inquiry. He was one of seven House freshmen with national security backgrounds who co-authored a Washington Post op-ed calling Trump’s actions on Ukraine impeachable, a move that signaled a significant momentum shift within the Democratic caucus. Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry a day after that published.
Crow’s selection provides a stark contrast to the impeachment involvement of another key Colorado elected official: Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). As Justin Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, Gardner just keeps ducking questions about President Trump:
Gardner’s office declined again Tuesday to answer questions from The Denver Post about whether he would support a motion to dismiss the two charges against Trump or vote to allow witnesses in a Senate trial that’s expected to begin next week. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah have said they want to keep open the option of hearing from witnesses after opening arguments.
CBS reported Monday that the White House expects at least four Republicans will vote to call witnesses in the Senate trial. That “possibly” includes Gardner, according to the report, though he has said nothing to indicate that he will. There are 53 Senate Republicans, and a simple majority of 51 votes will be needed to pass trial rules.
Silence has become the norm for Gardner on the topic of impeachment. His office previously declined to say whether witnesses should be called and whether he agrees with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “total coordination” with the White House.
The New York Times apparently wasn’t able to corner the squirrelly Senator, either:
In the Capitol on Tuesday, Mr. Gardner was making himself scarce. When Republicans wrapped up a luncheon featuring a discussion of trial procedure, he zipped out a back door and headed for a little-used elevator, avoiding a throng of waiting reporters.
“I’m sorry, he’s got to get going,” an aide to Mr. Gardner told a reporter who followed him, as the elevator doors opened and the senator slipped inside. Then Mr. Gardner jumped in, begging off any discussion of whether he could be the elusive fourth vote who could upend hopes of a quick acquittal of Mr. Trump.
► Evidence continues to mount against President Trump ahead of a Senate impeachment trial. As Jennifer Rubin writes for The Washington Post:
One can only imagine what evidence we have yet to see during the impeachment proceedings against President Trump. With each new tranche of evidence — including emails regarding the hold on military aid to Ukraine and now documents from Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani’s — the conclusion that Trump abused power and obstructed the investigation becomes incontrovertible…
…Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells me the new evidence is ” jaw-dropping” and “highly incriminating of both Giuliani and Trump.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this morning the names of seven Democrats who will help prosecute the House impeachment case in a U.S. Senate trial as soon as next week. Colorado Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) was among the names selected.
The seven lawmakers will be tasked with prosecuting the case against President Donald Trump in the Senate’s trial, giving them a high-profile role and a chance to be at least a footnote in history.
The long-awaited announcement comes as the House is scheduled to vote later Wednesday to send the managers and the two impeachment articles over to the Senate — a formality that triggers the start of the trial.
Pelosi’s list reflects her desire for geographic, racial and gender diversity among the impeachment managers, and it draws from the Democratic Caucus’ wide swath of legal and national security-related experience.
Here’s Politico’s rundown of Crow’s selection:
Crow, 40, was a surprise choice, but Pelosi has leaned heavily on the so-called “national security freshmen” in the Democratic Caucus during her deliberations for the impeachment process. [Pols emphasis] Crow, serving in his first term, doesn’t sit on any of the committees charged with investigating Trump. But he is a former Army captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he received his law degree at the University of Denver. He was one of seven national security-oriented freshman lawmakers who wrote an op-ed in September calling for an impeachment inquiry after the Ukraine scandal came to light. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee.
This is a very big deal for Crow and for Colorado in general.
This is it: The final episode of 2019 for TheGet More Smarter Podcast. To close out the year, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the most important Colorado political stories of 2019 and look ahead to 2020 with some bold predictions. Will Democrats take control of the U.S. Senate in 2020? Can Sen. Cory Gardner win re-election? Which one of Colorado’s seven Congressional seats could flip next year?
And for the first time, Jason plays America’s worst favorite game, “Duke or Donald.” Ian is the current record-holder in the game that nobody really wins, but can Jason take the title in the last episode of 2019?
While you were reading about impeachment news last week, you may have missed a significant vote in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives addressing an issue that is of utmost concern to American voters in 2020: Reducing the outrageous costs of prescription drugs.
The “Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act” (HR-3) passed out of the House on Thursday on a largely party line vote (Colorado’s four Democratic House Members voted “YES,” while all three Republicans voted “NO”) and will now head to the place where all good pieces of legislation go to die: The desk of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As CBS News explains:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill would cap Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket costs for medicines at $2,000 a year. It would use about $360 billion of its projected 10-year savings from lower drug costs to establish Medicare coverage for dental care, hearing, and vision, filling major gaps for seniors.
But the legislation has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate, and the White House has issued a veto threat. Still, Democrats saw a victory in the message their bill sends to voters…[Pols emphasis]
…Pelosi is claiming bragging rights because her bill would deliver on the promise that President Trump made as a candidate in 2016, when he said he would “negotiate like crazy” to lower prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients. It’s a pledge that Mr. Trump has backed away from as president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner don’t know where to go from here.
Polling data continually shows that health care and prescription drugs top the list of voter concerns in 2020…much like they did in the Democratic wave year of 2018. A recent survey from Healthier Colorado found that 82% of Colorado voters believe that prescription drugs are too costly; nearly half of voters say that health care in general is unaffordable. The bill passed last week in the House of Representatives has the support of groups such as AARP, but McConnell won’t touch it in part because it is fiercely opposed by the pharmaceutical industry. As Politico reports today, the issue has put Republicans in a bind:
Yet with an election year cresting and massive divisions among his members, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is staying put. Associates say the Kentucky Republican is not eager to make a move that splits his caucus and could incur the wrath of the well-financed pharmaceutical industry.
A final decision will wait until after the Senate’s impeachment trial. Many Senate Republicans, however, know they need to do something to satisfy Trump and avoid the awful optics of doing nothing at all.
Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) this summer advanced a bill that would fine drugmakers that hike prices above inflation rates, but from the start it had more Democratic support than Republican backing. Even though a significant number of GOP members say it’s a bold stroke with crucial presidential support, many Republicans liken the move to price controls that would kill innovation.
This quote from Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy sums up the absurdity of the GOP’s position: “Thank goodness Republicans control the Senate. That said, we still need something to make medicines affordable.” Ya think?
Republicans have lambasted impeachment investigations against President Trump as a distraction from the key issues facing average Americans, but Democrats snatched that stool right out from under them last week by multitasking on important topics. As The Hill explains:
Vulnerable Democrats in swing districts can point to the legislation as keeping a long-held promise to let Medicare negotiate drug prices. Members can show they are focused on kitchen table issues despite the chaos over impeachment.
The bill also gives moderate Democrats in Congress a chance to tout a health care issue that’s separate from the “Medicare for All” debate consuming the Democratic presidential primary.
“If a Democrat wins the White House and the party takes control of the Senate, a bill to allow the government to negotiate drug prices seems much more likely to pass than Medicare for All or even a public option,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health care policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Congressional Republicans are now in the unenviable position of arguing against the substance of legislation that would reduce health care costs for millions of Americans. Republican leaders can shake their fists at the idea of “price controls” for prescription drugs, but that language only makes a dent with pharmaceutical lobbyists; controlling prices is exactly what average voters want to see from Congress on the issue of prescription drug costs.
Military adviser for Steve House campaign for Congress
Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is a former Army Ranger who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq and was awarded a Bronze Star. Crow honored American service members on Veterans Day on Monday by thanking them for their service and attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the Colorado Fallen Heroes Memorial in Denver.
House marked Veterans Day by announcing he’s been endorsed by five Coloradans with records of military service and four Republican state lawmakers with more tenuous connections to veterans.
The endorsements listed in a release issued Monday by House’s campaign include an oral surgeon who serves in the Army National Guard, a prosecutor who serves in the Marine Reserves, a Marine Corps veteran who chaired the El Paso County Republicans, and a retired Army officer who lost a primary for Elbert County commissioner last year by just two votes.
There’s also a state lawmaker from Colorado Springs who went to the Air Force Academy and two Republicans who sit on their chamber’s respective State, Veterans and Military Affairs committees — known as the “kill committees,” where legislation of all sorts routinely goes to die — and two GOP lawmakers from Western Colorado who look out for veterans while they’re at the Capitol, according to the House campaign. [Pols emphasis]
House does have a couple of endorsements from honest-to-goodness military veterans, but his announcement on Monday was watered down quite a bit by the inclusion of people who have nothing to do with the armed services of the United States.
Two of these endorsements (State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and state Rep. Janice Rich) are apparently related to “Veterans Day” because they are state lawmakers who sit on the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committees. This is sort of like claiming the support of South Americans because you are endorsed by someone who delivers packages for Amazon.com. But these endorsements almost make sense compared to state Sen. Ray Scott and state Rep. Matt Soper, both of whom are included on House’s “Veterans Day” list because they…appreciate veterans?
Scott honors the servicemen and women of Colorado and fights to ensure they are treated with honor and dignity by the State of Colorado’s highest legislative body…
…Soper has fought tirelessly for veterans and their families since he was first elected in 2018.
The House campaign must have forgotten to mention that Sen. Scott also likes to watch movies about Americans who are in the military when he is supposed to be paying attention on the Senate floor.
Via press release (11/11/19)
Perhaps on Valentine’s Day, House can wrangle the endorsement of former Utah Congresswoman Mia Love.
This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, Congressman Jason Crow sits down with hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii to talk about a recent trip to Afghanistan and Turkey, advancing impeachment proceedings, and the best place to find his roommate, Rep. Joe Neguse, on a weekday evening. Your hosts also discuss Sen. Cory Gardner’s career implosion and play another round of American’s favorite game, “Duke or Donald?”
Click after the jump below for a brief transcript of a great story Crow tells about an unforgettable moment when he took the oath of office in January.
If these half dozen protesters want to “stop the madness,” we suggest they go inside and have some hot chocolate.
Trump Victory, along with Colorado Republican Party leaders, is hosting a “counter-impeachment” press conference today called, “Stop the Madness!” The event is one of many such events across the country, coordinated by the Republican National Committee (RNC), which says its goal is simply “to cause chaos.”
The press conference will call on Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) to “drop the impeachment inquiry against President Trump,” according to a news release. The event takes place at Crow’s Aurora office at 11:00 a.m. today.
The website features photos of three of the four congresswomen known as “The Squad,” women of color at whom Trump has tweeted racist insults in recent months.
Speakers at the event include: Colorado GOP Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown, Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) and Congressional District 6 candidates Steve House and Casper Stockham.
Also appearing is right-wing social media personality, Ashley St. Clair, a former Colorado Springs college student who worked as a “brand ambassador” for Turning Point USA until two weeks ago. The far-right group dropped St. Clair after Right Wing Watch’s Jared Holt reported on photos of her partying with white nationalists at an alt-right gathering in Florida last month.
Prior to working with Turning Point USA, St. Clair interned with the Starboard Group, the preeminent fundraising firm for Colorado Republicans, chiefly Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), whose holiday party she attended.
St. Clair was in Aurora back in July to counter-protest the pro-immigration rally that took place at the contract ICE facility.
There’s no evidence that Crow’s district is feeling any more warmly toward Trump now.
Still, the RNC is targeting Crow as part of a $2 million advertising campaign for allegedly not “reaching across the aisle” to work with Trump.
As part of this, the RNC has also set up a StopTheMadness website, which will be a “one-stop clearing house to defend the president — including opportunities for people to sign up as a volunteer, details on how to show up to a counter protest, and more.
“The Democrats refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election and are on a never-ending fishing expedition to tear down President Trump,” states the website. “We need your help in standing up to these members of Congress across the nation to stop the madness!”
The site’s centerpiece is a video that links the impeachment inquiry to violence. Besides Pelosi, it features three members of Congress: Rep Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Al Green (D-TX). All three are African-American.
UPDATE #2: Colorado Public Radio looks at how Colorado’s congressional delegation is responding on the question of impeachment and the Ukraine controversy.
UPDATE: The Washington Postreports–the dam has officially burst:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to announce a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, a dramatic turnaround by the Democratic leader that sets up a constitutional and political clash pitting the Congress against the nation’s chief executive.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) is slated to make her announcement later on Tuesday after a closed-door meeting with her caucus, according to Democratic officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe private deliberations.
Impeachment is a rare and extraordinary step that would overturn the decision of U.S. voters in 2016 to elect Trump. Pelosi’s decision foreshadows an intensely partisan fall, triggering pushback from Trump allies with repercussions for the 2020 campaign.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora)
Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is one of seven freshman Democrats — all with military or defense/intelligence backgrounds — signing on to an editorial published in today’s Washington Post that makes a strong case for investigating what they call “impeachable offenses”:
The president of the United States may have used his position to pressure a foreign country into investigating a political opponent, and he sought to use U.S. taxpayer dollars as leverage to do it. He allegedly sought to use the very security assistance dollars appropriated by Congress to create stability in the world, to help root out corruption and to protect our national security interests, for his own personal gain. These allegations are stunning, both in the national security threat they pose and the potential corruption they represent. We also know that on Sept. 9, the inspector general for the intelligence community notified Congress of a “credible” and “urgent” whistleblower complaint related to national security and potentially involving these allegations. Despite federal law requiring the disclosure of this complaint to Congress, the administration has blocked its release to Congress.
This flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand. To uphold and defend our Constitution, Congress must determine whether the president was indeed willing to use his power and withhold security assistance funds to persuade a foreign country to assist him in an upcoming election.
If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense. We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly, and we call on our colleagues in Congress to consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us, including the power of “inherent contempt” and impeachment hearings, to address these new allegations, find the truth and protect our national security. [Pols emphasis]
Crow is a former Army Ranger who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
House Democrats appear to be moving closer to initiating impeachment hearings in the wake of an alleged whistleblower complaint regarding threats by President Trump to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless it investigates former Vice President Joe Biden for some sort of invented transgression.
As Randy Corporon of KNUS radio discussed over the weekend, former Jefferson County GOP Chair and CO-7 candidate Don Ytterberg will take over for House as the new right-hand man of State Party Chairman Ken Buck, who can’t be a full-time Party Chairman on account of the fact that he’s still serving in Congress himself. House has not indicated publicly that he will run for Congress in CO-6, but that’s the reason for the change from what we hear.
Ernest Luningreported last month that House was considering running for the Republican nomination in CO-6, despite (or because of) the fact that Casper Stockham is already in the race (although Stockham has the support of former CO-6 Rep. Tom Tancredo). State GOP Party bylaws prevent House from remaining in a leadership role while also running for public office.
Democrat Jason Crowousted longtime Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in 2018 to take control of a seat that Republicans had never once relinquished in the history of the district. Crow has already raised more than $1 million for his re-election campaign.
As the Aurora Sentinel’sKara Masonreported yesterday, freshman Democratic Rep. Jason Crow has joined Reps. Diana DeGette and Joe Neguse in calling for impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump to commence in the U.S. House–a belated conversion that appears to be part of a surge of support among House Democrats to go there:
Citing the investigation from former special counsel Robert Mueller, Aurora Congressman Jason Crow said Tuesday that Congress should now look into impeaching President Donald Trump.
“Trump and his administration have engaged in repeated abuses of power and disregarded our institutions, while flaunting Congress and the judiciary,” Crow said in an op-ed published first to Medium on Tuesday. “To this day the President prevents key witnesses from testifying before Congress, wrongly asserts executive privilege to dodge subpoenas, and attempts to skirt court rulings. If Congress doesn’t stand up to these abuses, then our system of checks and balances will have failed. It’s clear that we must respond with the full weight of Congress.”
…Crow, who has said he’s made a point to work with Republicans in Congress, joins a growing number of Democrats leaning toward beginning impeachment proceedings. Nearly half of the 235 House Democrats have endorsed impeachment proceedings, and a dozen Democratic senators have done so.
Politico is reporting today that with Rep. Crow and several other Democrats coming on board this week, a majority of House Democrats are now ready to begin impeachment hearings:
The number of House Democrats who support impeachment proceedings passed the halfway mark — 118 out of 235 voting members now support the effort — on Thursday when Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida announced his support. Deutch was also the 23rd Democratic lawmaker to support impeachment proceedings in the days after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified to Congress, affirming publicly his damning evidence suggesting Trump attempted to obstruct justice…
Perhaps more significant than the number of Democrats backing an inquiry are the identities of the members themselves. The latest additions include Reps. Mike Levin of California, Jennifer Wexton of Virginia and Jason Crow of Colorado, three freshmen who flipped Republican-held districts in November. Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, a member of Pelosi’s leadership team, added her name to the list on Friday.
The biggest roadblock up until now in commencing impeachment hearings in the House has been the view of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that even though Trump is committing impeachable offenses “every day,” without a realistic shot at not just impeaching Trump in the House but convicting him in a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate the effort would be a net political liability for Democrats in the 2020 elections. That position could be in the process of giving way to the alternative view that the House doing its constitutional duty and, if the facts warrant, delivering a case for impeachment into Mitch McConnell’s lap is the better course both morally and politically.
What say you, readers? Has the time come to impeach Donald Trump, or is letting the voters decide Trump’s fate next November the better choice? A poll follows.
Republican Casper Stockham has run two consecutive unsuccessful campaigns for Congress in Denver against incumbent Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, so he’s trying something different in 2020. Stockham is shifting his sights eastward to challenge Democrat Jason Crow in CO-6.
We bring this up not only to prevent getting a bunch of Facebook messages from Stockham himself, but to again highlight the incredible shift in a district that had always been held by a Republican until Crow’s dismantling of then-Rep. Mike Coffman in 2018. As we noted in April when Crow reported raising nearly a half-million dollars in his first fundraising quarter as an incumbent, there has been very little buzz from Republicans about attracting a top candidate in CO-6.
Stockham seems like a nice enough guy, but he’s a perennial candidate for public office who is not a serious challenger to Crow (or anyone else in Congress, for that matter). After raising about $60,000 in his 2016 campaign against DeGette, Stockham’s fundraising dropped to a total of about $35k in 2018 — both figures are nevertheless significantly higher than we would have guessed before checking FEC reports. Based on voter registration numbers, Stockham is statistically more likely to win in CO-6 than in CO-1…though that’s sort of like saying you have a better chance of visiting Mars than Venus.
What we find most interesting about this story is that a right-wing radio outlet in Colorado considers Stockham’s candidacy to be “news” in the first place. Stockham’s presence won’t likely prevent a more serious Republican challenger in CO-6, but it does make things slightly more awkward for the GOP when they inevitably have to pretend that he’s not their real challenger to Crow.
Freshman Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) pulled off one of the more astonishing victories of the 2018 election when he unseated longtime Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in CO-6. Crow’s victory came in a very good year for Democrats, sure, but five months later it’s still hard to fathom that he ultimately won this race by 11 points.
Earlier this year, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) added Crow to its list of top pickup opportunities for 2020. Nevertheless, we haven’t heard much discussion among Republicans about potential challengers, and that isn’t likely to change now that Crow’s Q1 fundraising numbers have been revealed.
Crow, who isn’t accepting contributions from corporate political action committees, plans to report taking in $490,000, with $473,000 cash on hand, for the three-month period ending March 31. His campaign said two-thirds of the donations are from Colorado residents, with 74 percent under $100…
…Crow’s fundraising total nearly matches the record haul for a Colorado congressional candidate during the first quarter of an off-year. [Pols emphasis] It falls short of the $519,000 Coffman raised during the first three months of 2013 and the $514,000 brought in for the same period by Coffman’s 2013 Democratic challenger, Andrew Romanoff.
You read that correctly. Jason Crow raised nearly a half-million dollars in the first three months of his first term in office…in an off-year…without a dime of corporate PAC money.
Fundraising isn’t the only criteria that potential opponents will use to gauge their chances in 2020, but Crow’s Q1 numbers are a massive warning sign that this seat may soon be out of reach for the GOP.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is among the most endangered Republican incumbents in the country. We know this because hardly a week goes by without some news outlet mentioning his vulnerability in 2020. While the 2020 election is still 607 days away (as of today), we’re less than a year out from the party caucuses in Colorado, which means the clock is ticking as potential candidates jockey for position in 2019.
Gardner officially kicked off his Senate re-election campaign last month with a high-dollar fundraiser in Washington D.C., but he has yet to announce any sort of campaign launch in Colorado. We’re still not convinced that Gardner will ultimately be on the ballot in November 2020; sharing a slate with Donald Trump is going to be rough for any Republican, particularly in a state like Colorado where Democrats ran roughshod over Republicans in 2018.
But enough speculation about Gardner for now. He’s still the incumbent and he says he’s running for re-election, so let’s focus instead on the Democratic side of the aisle, where the likely 2020 nominee isn’t even a candidate yet…