Housing Growth Cap (Q200) wins in Lakewood special election

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Final update until July 11, when military, overseas, and “cured” ballots will be counted (but  probably not change results much) : Question 200, the Lakewood Growth Cap, won by 52.60% to 47.40%. Turnout was high for a municipal election: about 35%.

What this means: Growth in Lakewood will be held to 1%, and housing projects of over 40 units will have to go through citizen review.

From the Jeffco Clerk’s website:

Lakewood Special Election Results  – City of Lakewood Ballot Question 200

Shall the City of Lakewood limit residential growth to no more than one (1) percent per year by implementing a permit allocation system for new dwelling units, and by requiring City Council approval of allocations for projects of forty (40) or more units?
Yes (FOR THE ORDINANCE): 18,771  (52.60%)
No (AGAINST THE ORDINANCE): 16,913 (47.40%)
Total Votes Cast: 35,684 (35.81% of Lakewood’s 99,638 eligible voters)

A special election was held in Lakewood, Colorado on July 2, 2019. The all-mail-ballot election allowed voters to decide whether Lakewood will have a housing growth cap, which would limit density for new housing. It also mandates a more active role for community and local governments; units of over 40 apartments have to be approved by citizen and Council panels.

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Who Will Be the Democratic Nominee for President in 2020?

Who fills this spot in 2020?

When last we asked this question, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were neck-and-neck, with Sen. Kamala Harris closing quickly. When last we asked, of course, the first Democratic debates had not yet taken place.

Now that we have the first debates in the books, polling data is starting to shift a bit. As the Washington Post reports:

After CNN on Monday released the first poll since last week’s Democratic debate, all the focus was on Joe Biden dropping and Kamala D. Harris and Elizabeth Warren rising.

But what about Bernie Sanders? Two more new polls Tuesday seem to fill out the picture of a 2016 runner-up who didn’t exactly impress last week and is losing ground early.

The CNN poll had Sanders dropping four points into fourth place, at 14 percent, though he was still in a statistical tie with Harris (17 percent) and Warren (15 percent).

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows a similar picture, with Sanders dropping from 19 percent to 13 percent and again falling into fourth place. And a new Iowa poll also has him in fourth place — but that’s not even the worst of it.

So, what say YOU, Polsters? Are you feeling confident about Warren and Harris? Is Bernie in as much trouble as it looks? What about former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper?

For the second consecutive poll, we forgot to include New York Mayor Bill de Blasio — which is probably symbolic in and of itself. If you’re that person who is supporting de Blasio, cast your vote below for “Someone Else.”

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet on the outcome TODAY, who do you predict will be the Democratic nominee for President in 2020?

And since there are still a bagillion candidates and we don’t want to take up the entire screen with this one poll, you’ll have to cast your vote after the jump…

 

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Gardner Claims Democrats Want To End Airport Customs Checks

(Words, words, words — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner Says Democrats Want to End Airport Customs Checkpoints

At a Republican communications training last Saturday, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) warned activists that Democrats want to eliminate the border and end customs controls at American airports.

[The Democratic presidential candidates] said they want to “decriminalize” [the border],” said Gardner. “That means you in essence have eliminated the border–not just the border–but when you fly into an airport, why would they even have customs at an airport, right? You don’t even need that. That is in essence what they’re arguing for.”

Gardner’s comments came at a three-hour event in Broomfield, billed as a “comprehensive communications training,” featuring Colorado Republican party leadership along with Trump campaign’s Colorado director Jefferson Thomas:

Join Colorado GOP’s Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown, COO Steve House, and Executive Director Lx Fangonilo for a comprehensive messaging training. Along with Trump State Director Jefferson Thomas and Gardner Campaign Manager Casey Contres, we will discuss specific issues, local concerns, and how to connect voters’ concerns to President Trump’s and Senator Gardner’s campaign issues.

As with many of his recent Colorado events, Senator Gardner surprised the crowd with his appearance. Focusing on what he sees as Democrats’ dangerous policy proposals, Gardner addressed issues discussed during last week’s Democratic presidential debates: healthcare, immigration, and more specifically, healthcare for immigrants.

His warnings on immigration in particular drew audible gasps from the audience. Gardner claimed that the Democratic contenders all said they wanted to eliminate the border, including ending customs controls at American airports.

 

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“Dismiss Polis” Moves Ahead, “Official” Recall Rages


We’re monitoring fresh developments in the long-discussed longshot movement(s) to recall Gov. Jared Polis, which as of next week will finally be able to open their 60-day window to collect an unprecedented 640,000+ signatures–an effort certain to fail without a massive infusion of cash, and even then in pursuit of an historically improbable objective just to reach the ballot. The slim likelihood of success has given rise to countercharges of grift and bad character between the two principal committees, both backed by considerable damning evidence–leading to a third Dismiss Polis campaign which yesterday claimed it will shortly begin circulating petitions.

A post to the smaller of the Polis recall Facebook groups, Resist Polis PAC yesterday announced the details:

A newly drafted recall petition, submitted this week by the Dismiss Polis Issue Committee to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, appears to be the solution concerned Coloradans wanting to recall Governor Jared Polis have sought for months.

Dismiss Polis is not affiliated with any previous recall efforts and will act as a neutral, third-party organization, being the solution to the necessity of only one petition circulating to recall the Governor.

Leadership from the Resist Polis PAC team has voted to circulate the petition of Dismiss Polis this summer, as it fits with our consistent message of unity across the state.

Polis recall petitions will be printed by Dismiss Polis and can be distributed to volunteer signature gatherers across Colorado by any recall organization wishing to assist in the recall efforts. Completed, notarized petition packets would then be returned to Dismiss Polis before all signatures are turned into the Secretary of State.

Our team at Resist Polis PAC encourages any other recall groups to make the right decision for Colorado and circulate the Dismiss Polis petition. Filing a second petition will cause division in a time when Coloradans need unity more than ever. [Pols emphasis]

Sounds like they’ve got their ducks in a row, right? Think again! The above post was to the Resist Polis PAC’s Facebook group, which consists of about 2,000 people. But over at the vastly larger “Official” Recall Polis Facebook group, which has over 40,000 users, alarms are being sounded by group administrators that “Dismiss Polis” is a doomed effort–and worse, even a diversion set up by Gov. Polis himself:

It’s no secret that there are three “Recall Governor Jared Polis” groups. We have ‘Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ (ORCGJP), a Political Issue Committee (PIC), ‘Resist Polis’, a Political Action Committee (PAC), and now ‘Dismiss Polis’, another PIC.

I want you to read this knowing where I stand on this issue, so I will begin by saying I am heavily involved in the ORCGJP group. I was approached by the Resist group, did some research, and figured out they were actually working for Polis, [Pols emphasis] trying to thwart the efforts of of ORCGJP, so I got in with ORCGJP. You will have to figure out this for yourself, but I have already…

We believe, due on their behaviour, that the other two groups exist only to thwart the efforts of ORCGJP… Evidenced by the fact that THE VERY PERSON who took the money from ORCGJP is the head of the Recall Group (Tom Good), and has proof of past run ins with the law including theft as well as embezzelment within a leadership position. How can one support the Recall or Dismiss groups? There are even documented admissions from the other groups, bragging about shutting down ORCGJP’s website over Memorial Day…. Does this sound like behaviour of like minded individuals, getting together on a common goal?… I think not…

Bottom line… DO NOT SIGN ANY RECALL POLIS PETITION 🇺🇸 UNLESS IT IS FROM ORCGJP 🇺🇸.

To summarize, there is a good chance that a petition to initiate a recall election against Gov. Jared Polis will be approved by the Secretary of State on or near the July 8th date they can legally begin to circulate. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of grassroots supporters of a Polis recall are being told that this petition effort is fraudulent and being warned not to sign. All of this combined with the yawning gap between even the most optimistic fundraising estimates and the expected need raises hard questions about the utility of the entire effort–questions that donors will be understandably reticent to answer in the form of a check. As for using a Polis recall petition as a segue into signing petitions against legislators? This controversy could be all it takes to make that strategy a loser.

How will it end? Most likely with a whimper. But like any temper tantrum, it has to play itself out.

Hick Purges Staff In Bid To Stay In Prez Race


UPDATE: Politico:

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s senior team urged him last month to withdraw from the presidential race gracefully and run for Colorado’s Senate seat or pursue other opportunities, a source familiar with the situation told POLITICO…

“We thought it was time to make a change,” he told MSNBC’s Craig Melvin. “You know, these campaigns are long, hard campaigns and you don’t always get it right with the first team.”

But a source familiar with the situation disputed the governor’s characterization, saying he is lashing out at the political professionals around him and surrounding himself with Colorado loyalists rather than confronting reality.

—–

As the Denver Post’s Nic Garcia reports, the presidential campaign of former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is entering the staff-shakeup phase, which though not in itself terminal is certainly a sign that Hick is not pleased with his standing after last week’s introductory presidential debates:

John Hickenlooper, struggling to gain traction in a crowded Democratic presidential primary field, announced a new campaign manager late Monday following the news that his national finance director was leaving…

The shuffling comes days after the former Colorado governor failed to have a breakout moment at the first Democratic debate and a day after a key fundraising deadline.

Politico first reported that Dan Sorenson, Hickenlooper’s finance director, was leaving to join former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign.

On Hickenlooper losing his finance director to the only somewhat less underperforming campaign of Beto O’Rourke, 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark had an amusing if painful Twitter rejoinder:

The consensus view is that of Colorado’s two presidential candidates, Sen. Michael Bennet acquitted himself better on last week’s debate stage. Though neither candidate managed what one could call a breakout moment, there’s speculation that Bennet’s face time in opposition to Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders could give him renewed legs as those candidates drop in support–speculation we’ll believe if and when we see it in poll numbers measurably improving for Bennet.

As for Gov. Hickenlooper, he’s almost sure to stay in this race through the next round of debates at the end of this month. That’s how long he’s got to turn his presidential campaign around with the qualifications for future debates set to tighten. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that how Hickenlooper manages the next month could matter more to Colorado politics than the presidential race.

Like the decision to run for president itself, it’s up to Hickenlooper to decide what comes next.

Remember When Cory Gardner Cared About Russia?


Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

We wrote on Friday about the joint press appearance by President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which Trump made a mockery of years of controversy over Russian meddling in the 2016 elections by playfully wagging his finger at Putin and asking him facetiously to not hack the 2020 elections. The Guardian reports that wasn’t the only thing Trump and Putin yucked it up about in Osaka:

As they sat for photographs at the start of their first formal meeting in nearly a year, the US president lightheartedly sought common ground with Putin at the expense of the journalists around them in Osaka.

“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia but we do,” Trump said. [Pols emphasis]

To which Putin responded, in English: “We also have. It’s the same.”

Twenty-six journalists have been murdered in Russia since Putin first became president, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), many of them investigative reporters scrutinising governmental abuses.

Trump’s joking around with Putin about interfering with American elections and (especially, depending on your profession) joking about “getting rid” of journalists with a man who may be responsible for the deaths of dozens of journalists is just the latest conscience-shocker of 2019 for fellow Republicans–who seem to be contending with both more frequent and more severe lapses in moral judgment by President Trump as the next election season approaches. It is objectively difficult to comprehend how Trump could so audaciously make light of what the Mueller investigation and numerous other probes all have concluded took place: that Russian intelligence deliberately interfered in the 2016 elections in order to support Trump’s election.

It’s even harder to understand how Sen. Cory Gardner can be silent about this latest embarrassing display, which he has now been for several days. Almost exactly one year ago, President Trump met with Putin for a summit in Helsinki, Finland. At that time, Trump expressed doubts in a joint press conference that Russian interference in the 2016 elections had even happened. And that was too much for Cory Gardner, who fired off as close to an angry response to Trump as you’ll ever see within hours of the meeting:

Whether it be chemical attacks on allied soil, the invasion of Ukraine, propping up the murderer Assad in Syria, or meddling in our elections through cyber-attacks, Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains an adversary to the United States…I encourage the Administration to avoid the mistakes of past Administrations in normalizing relations with Russia at zero cost to Putin and his regime. [Pols emphasis]

Just like with Kim Jong Un and the Helsinki summit a year ago, Donald Trump is doing the exact opposite of what Gardner asked him to do. The difference between now and a year ago is that Gardner, for whatever reason, does not see any political value in challenging the President’s actions this time. Given that Trump has progressed from doubting the threat Gardner says Russia poses to openly mocking it, Gardner should if anything be more angry, not less. And that’s before the jokes about killing reporters.

Actions speak louder than words, but Gardner’s silence roars louder still.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 1)


Did anybody see what happened to June? Anyone? 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 became the first American President to set foot in North Korea over the weekend. As the Washington Post reports, Trump’s photo op handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un isn’t indicative of progress in denuclearization talks:

What we do have, though, is a potential moving of the goal posts — away from a fully denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

As Trump returned, the New York Times reported that his administration is entertaining the idea of a deal with North Korea that includes a “freeze” in its nuclear program, rather than the complete and total denuclearization the administration has demanded. The reported deal feels a whole lot like a trial balloon for a diluted deal. [Pols emphasis]

National security adviser John Bolton, it bears emphasizing, called the report into question Monday morning. He tweeted that, “Neither the [National Security Council] staff nor I have discussed or heard of any desire to ‘settle for a nuclear freeze by NK,’” Bolton said.

But note a couple things. First, Bolton isn’t quite saying that such a proposal isn’t on the table; he’s merely saying he and the NSC haven’t talked about it. Bolton also was a curious omission from the delegation that traveled to North Korea, and if there’s anything we know about this administration, it’s that the left hand isn’t always talking to the right.

What an amazing negotiator, this Trump guy.

This is also yet another egg on the face for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has long touted the idea that he has Trump’s ear on North Korea.

 

Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in Colorado are announcing fundraising results from the second quarter of 2019. The campaign for former State Sen. Mike Johnston says it raised $1.6 million in Q2, which leads to a total of $3.4 million raised since Johnston first entered the race earlier this year. Democrat Dan Baer, meanwhile, says he raised $1.1 million in Q2 after first entering the race in mid-April.

 

► Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser wants a court to dismiss a silly lawsuit led by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) challenging Colorado’s new “red flag” law on piddling procedural grounds.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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AG: Dismiss Cheeseball Gun Nut Lawsuit


House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

Colorado Public Radio reported Friday and we wanted to be sure it got a mention:

Gov. Jared Polis is asking the Denver District Court to dismiss a Republican lawsuit over the passage of a so-called “red flag” gun law last legislative session. The Colorado Attorney General’s office filed a motion Thursday.

Polis signed the measure into law April 12. The gun rights group, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and three Republican lawmakers sued Polis a few weeks later, arguing that Democrats who control the House did not fulfill a Republican request to read the bill out loud in a full and intelligible way.

The Attorney General’s office says those lawmakers should have raised concerns closer to when the original bill reading requests were made in March.

“But rather than complain then to the legislature, they kept quiet until the session ended, not allowing the legislature an opportunity to cure the alleged defect, and now ask this Court to intervene in a hotly contested political issue.”

It’s important to understand the nature of the legal challenge filed by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, Rep. “Pistol Packin'” Lori Saine, and Rep. Dave Williams, which is not a challenge to the actual extreme risk protection order (ERPO) itself but rather the legislative procedure in passing the bill. Readers of course remember the battle over reading bills at length in this year’s legislative session, which Republicans temporarily won (the case is still pending) when a judge ordered Democrats to have them read intelligibly. This suit seeks to invalidate a bill passed by both chambers and signed into law by the governor, on the basis that at some point along the way a superfluous request that the bill be read at length wasn’t honored.

Attorney General Phil Weiser’s response is that Republicans essentially sandbagged this complaint about the bill not being read at length so as to provide a pretext to challenge the bill after the end of the legislative session. That puts the court in a position of having to settle a wholly political question, which courts prefer not to do.

But most importantly, this is not a challenge to the law on its merits. For all the hue and cry about the ERPO law’s alleged unconstitutionality, similar “red flag” laws already exist in a dozen other states, and the law functions similarly to laws that already require persons subject to restraining orders to temporarily surrender their firearms. The reason Colorado House Republicans and their allies at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) chose this process angle against the law as the basis of their lawsuit is simple: they know a direct challenge to the law’s constitutionality will fail.

Once you understand that, this whole undertaking looks very different.

Monday Open Thread


“I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel–it’s vulgar.”

–Molly Ivins

Gardner Trumped Again As Prez Crosses DMZ


CNN reports while a strange kind of history is made at the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea:

President Donald Trump shook hands with Kim Jong Un on Sunday and took 20 steps into North Korea, making history as the first sitting US leader to set foot in the hermit kingdom.

Trump crossed the low stone curb separating the North and South at 3:45 p.m. local time, making his way alongside a grinning Kim into a country that’s long been a global pariah for its nuclear ambitions and dismal record on human rights.

The event, seemingly spontaneous and broadcast live, took to a new level Trump’s showman instincts and view of diplomacy as a test of interpersonal skills. Afterward, Trump said he agreed with Kim to revive staff-level talks that had collapsed after their last summit in February.

The issue of engagement with North Korea had been relegated to the political back burner for the last few months following the failed second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in February in Hanoi, Vietnam. And that was seemingly just fine with Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has been forced to swallow Trump’s erratic engagement strategy out of political necessity while still trying to maintain a hard line against North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and human rights record.

Unfortunately for Sen. Gardner, Trump’s dramatic crossing of the DMZ into North Korea comes right after an interview he gave to Colorado Public Radio Friday in which Gardner slams the idea of another reward to Kim Jong Un–comments that, needless to say, did not age well through the weekend:

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner thinks it’s a waste of time.

“I don’t understand what a third summit would do, other than stall and give Kim Jong Un more time to continue to flaunt international and U.S. law,” Gardner said…

Gardner is concerned that China and Russia have eased their sanctions pressure on North Korea, and that since the first summit, even the U.S. has begun to allow more waivers on sanctions. The senator dismisses both meetings between Trump and Kim as full of unfulfilled promises and he’s not convinced a third summit would bring any different results.

“I don’t understand why the president would want to meet with a person who has not changed a single bit,” Gardner said. [Pols emphasis]

Sen. Gardner, call your office! It’s safe to say that headlines like this one:

Are a thing of the past.

Where Sen. Gardner goes from here is anybody’s guess, but with the conservative media now lining up to shower Trump with praise for his “historic” 20 steps into North Korea to meet again with North Korea’s Supreme Leader it’s going to be difficult for Gardner to dissent publicly. Restarting talks that stalled in February is not going to produce quick results either way, so Gardner has the choice of crossing not just Trump but his fellow Senate Republicans, or finding a way to comport what he said two days ago with Trump’s actions yesterday.

We’ll update if and when Gardner figures out how to thread this political needle. Gardner has endorsed Trump’s re-election, but just in the last few days Trump has made such a mockery of Gardner from Russia to North Korea that it’s simply impossible to take this story’s description of him as a “top congressional authority” on foreign policy seriously.

He’s just another excuse-making passenger on Trump’s crazy train.

Weekend Open Thread


“We want everybody to act like adults, quit playing games, realize that it’s not just my way or the highway.”

–Barack Obama

Consensus: Bennet Did Pretty Well, But…


Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Surveying the commentary following last night’s Democratic presidential debate featuring both of Colorado’s entries into the race, Sen. Michael Bennet and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, there’s a consensus emerging that Bennet in particular did as well as he could have hoped for–perhaps even enough to transit from the 1% pack into the middle tier of candidates in this packed field. CNN’s Chris Cillizza, a good barometer of the center left, calls Bennet a qualified winner:

Michael Bennet: Look, I don’t think that the Colorado senator is somehow going to shoot from 1% to relevance in the polls based on his performance in this debate. He wasn’t that good. But, for someone who a) no one knew going into this debate and b) had limited speaking opportunities to make his case, I thought Bennet performed well. Bennet’s incredulity with Biden’s belief that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would start working in a bipartisan way if the former vice president won the White House felt genuine — and was powerful. In short: Bennet came out of this debate looking better than he went into it. Which is a win.

The Denver Post’s Nic Garcia from Miami:

The Coloradans left the South Florida art complex where the debate was held just after midnight each saying he took his chance to say what he needed to say.

Bennet, however, had a little more pep in his step.

“I was glad I was able to make the case that we desperately need universal health care in this country,” the senator told The Denver Post in an interview. He slapped the backside of his right hand into his left palm as he compared Sanders’ Medicare for All plan with his own legislation.

Colorado Public Radio notes Bennet’s decent outing but keeps things in perspective:

“Bennet got in a few good moments,” said Seth Masket, a political science professor at the University of Denver. “He definitely got across his points on some of his political reforms. He got in some pretty solid critiques of President Trump and those seemed to get some support from the audience.”

…According to trends from Google, Hickenlooper and Bennet were the least searched candidates during the second Democratic presidential primary debate. Near the end of the night, one New York Times reporter quipped “Only so much room for two Wesleyan grads from Colorado.”

Ouch. No really, if fellow Coloradans want to take offense at that kind of bullshit Ivy League snobbery, it’s allowed. But there’s not much either candidate can do about it. It’s fully expected that both Sen. Bennet and Gov. Hickenlooper will stay in this race through the next round of debates set for July 30 and 31 in Detroit–debates they have already qualified to participate in. After that, of course, the next round of debates will have a higher standard for qualification. At this point, failure to make that cutoff will mark the practical end for a number of presidential campaigns.

For both Colorado’s presidential aspirants, it’s all or nothing now with the latter still the most likely outcome. But it does appear that Bennet took better advantage of last night’s opportunity to get on the radar, and that’s to his credit. Now he’s got one month to turn that crack into an opening.

So Bad It’s Good: Watch The “Official” Polis Recall Video



Have you ever wondered to yourself while sitting in front of your home computer, “could I make a gripping political ad?” We have some bad news–without experience, preferably some professional training or (God forbid) a college education in video production, the answer is most likely no. Once in awhile somebody stumbles into a good concept Blair Witch Project style, but generally speaking the cutting room floor of political history is littered with bad, sometimes really bad, amateur video.

So it goes with the above minute of low-res mashup footage and extremely dramatic royalty free music, fresh from the struggling “Official” Polis recall campaign and bad enough that a high school student would lose points for turning it in. But lest you think this was a volunteer effort, the campaign actually lists an expenditure of several hundred dollars to a “videographer.”

That’s right–apparently they paid for this.

On the other hand, here’s something we already know about the Polis recall campaign–since anyone who possesses “political experience” either knows it’s a fool’s errand or is taking part only to siphon off the campaign’s money. Given the likelihood that all of the competing Polis recall operations will be footnotes in history by Labor Day, preserving this example of their low-budget folly for posterity was the least we could do.

Endorse This? Trump Clowns Cory Gardner on Russia


President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

CNN reports from the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, where President Donald Trump just met with Russian President Vladimir Putin both privately and in public–and finally, to Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado’s profound relief, strongly warned the Russian president to not meddle again in American elections–the way every investigation including the recently-concluded Robert Mueller inquiry has determined without question they did in 2016…

As you probably know by now, that’s not what happened. CNN in fact reports:

President Donald Trump issued a breezy warning to his Russian counterpart Friday against meddling in US elections, laughing and smiling as he told his counterpart not to interfere.

“Don’t meddle in the election, please,” Trump said, smirking and wagging his finger at Putin. He only raised the matter after being questioned by reporters whether he would issue a warning…

When he made his playful admonishment against election interference, Putin sat beside him laughing. Trump’s aides, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also smiled. [Pols emphasis]

According to an AP poll released June 19, 63% of Americans have “major concerns” about the possibility of foreign interference in the next election. The same poll says that 44% of Americans don’t think the Mueller report exonerates Trump on coordinating with Russia, and another 31% aren’t sure. That Trump would be this cavalier with the Russian President about an issue so many Americans are legitimately concerned about is politically unfathomable–or at least would have been before Donald Trump.

For Sen. Cory Gardner, this should be a political crossroads. Although Gardner has steadfastly refused to close the logical loop from Russian interference in the election to its goal, which was the election of Donald Trump, Gardner has tried to compensate with bellicose rhetoric about the threat posed by Russia in the vaguest possible terms–even as Gardner has drawn closer to Trump politically ahead of the 2020 elections. In April, Gardner introduced with much fanfare legislation that to “determine” is Russia should be on the list of state sponsors of terrorism–legislation we have to assume now Trump will never sign. And here’s what Gardner said about the Mueller report:

The report also confirms what we already know, Russia interfered in our election. I will keep up the pressure on the Putin regime and pursue additional sanctions – they cannot go unpunished.”

Senator Gardner has been an outspoken critic of Russia and President Putin and has been a leader in Congress on punishing Russia for their efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and other illegal activities around the world.

With Trump’s latest humiliating mockery of what Gardner claims he believes took place in 2016, and a strong majority of Americans are worried is about to happen again, the cognitive dissonance that has allowed Gardner to condemn Russian interference on behalf of Trump in 2016 while endorsing Trump’s re-election in 2020 is coming to a head. Gardner is extremely adept at evasion of the media, especially when contradictions like this one are dominating the news cycle.

But this is too much. Trump and Putin are laughing. At Cory Gardner.

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