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.

What you can do to fight back this week (July 1)

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It’s a short holiday work week, as the nation celebrates its 243rd birthday on Thursday.

For most of American history, we’ve struggled to define what our most important principles as a nation are. For me, it’s about freedom, fairness, and truly equal opportunity for everyone. We haven’t always lived up to these ideals, and for many Americans our patriotism is tempered by a recognition of how we have failed from the beginning to make these promises reality for everyone.

But that doesn’t mean progressives aren’t patriots. In a troubling era of hateful politics seeking to exploit and divide Americans, progressives keep the fight for fairness and equality alive everywhere we have a voice in government. When thoughtless and greedy men try to dismantle the institutions middle class America relies on like Social Security and Medicare to give the wealthiest among us a tax break, we fight back–and every year we preserve these institutions against the odds, millions of Americans are able to keep going.

The lives and quality of life we fight to uphold for every American as progressives, year after year, are victories in and of themselves. And they’re reasons to be proud of America no matter who is President. Progressive values are what made America great, they will keep America great, and if necessary will make America great again as many times as it takes.

Thanks again for everything you do to help, and here are a few more ways to take action for the week of July 1:


Supreme Court Consider Trumps Repeal of DACA: Whats Next?

On Thursday, June 28th the US Supreme Court decided that they will take up the case on the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that has been fought in court since September of 2017 when the Trump administration announced that it would be ending the program. We expect a decision in the coming year. The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition will be hosting an educational forum in which we will go over what comes next and what when we believe we can expect a ruling on this lawsuit defending the program. We will have a lawyer present to answer questions the public may have about what we can still do in light of this new information and what we can not longer do. Learn what you should now about the program now and what we can do to fight for a permanent solution.

Where: Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, 2525 W Alameda Ave, Denver
When: Monday, July 1 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Close the Camps: Delivering the Message to Cory Gardner

Join Indivisible Denver, AFSC & Coloradans For Immigrant Rights and the Not 1 More Deportation Table for remarks by impacted community members regarding ICE, Border Patrol and the detention camps. Folks will gather on the street in front of Gardner’s office. There will be an altar where folks are invited bring photos of those killed by ICE and CBP or separated family members. A delegation led by Not1More Deportation table will deliver a letter to Gardner asking him oppose further funds for ICE and CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) and close the camps. The altar and a letter will also be taken up to Gardner’s office.

Where: 721 19th St., Denver
When: Tuesday, July 2 at 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Casa de Paz Volunteer Training

Join us for a training that will prepare you to engage in companioning (or walking beside) immigrants and their families who are separated by detention centers.

Where: Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St, Denver
When: Saturday, July 6 at 1:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


The Resistance Diner Event Benefiting One Colorado

“One Colorado is the state’s leading advocacy organization dedicated to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families.” We are throwing a block party-style dinner! The dinner will be held outside at Comal with plenty of great food. This will be one of our biggest dinners to date, so please share with your friends and let’s get as many people to attend as possible.

Where: Comal Heritage Food Incubator, 3455 Ringsby Court #105, Denver
When: Sunday, July 7 at 4:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Have a great holiday. We’ll see you next week with more ways to make a difference!

Gardner Thinks He’ll Attend Western Conservative Summit

After months of indecision, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) indicated Saturday that he thinks he will attend a giant conservative event called the Western Conservative Summit (WCS).

“We’ve been trying to figure out the schedule,” Gardner told a conservative training session Saturday in Broomfield. “I believe we are. I think it’s on the schedule now. We’re trying to figure out where we are going to be to make that happen. I think so, yeah.”

Colorado Republican Party Executive Director Steve House asked Gardner the question, saying, “The number one question I’ve been getting being involved in the state party right now is, ‘Will Cory be at the Conservative Summit.”

“I know I’ve missed it once or twice, but I think I’ve been there the majority of times,” responded Gardner. “I think the plan is to be there.”

Conservative activist Joy Overbeck, a former Washington Times columnist, was more definitive on Facebook over the weekend, stating, Gardner “will be attending” the Summit and folks should buy tickets.

One Facebook commenter responded to Overbeck with, “I worked hard for [Gardner] to be elected and then he started turncoating on his own Republican Party and Trump!”

“He has a 90% record of voting with Trump–Google it,” replied Overbeck online. “We need to work hard to re-elect him–or would you prefer the Hickster who will likely run?”

The exchange illustrates one theory on why Gardner seemed to be avoiding the Summit: He was worried conservatives might boo him. Others speculated that he didn’t want to appear with such a conservative crowd as the 2020 election nears.

Gardner’s indecision on attending the Summit, sponsored by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, surprised some political analysts, who pointed out that Gardner has tried in recent months to align with the conservative base of the GOP, with, for example, his early endorsement of Trump.

The annual WCS attracts some of the most right-leaning figures in American politics, including, in 2016, then GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Conference director Jeff Hunt said last month that it was “disappointing” that Gardner had not decided if he’d attend this year’s WCS, which takes place July 12 and 13. This year will be the 10-year anniversary of the event.

If he attends, Gardner would join, among others, Trump cabinet member Ben Carson, pundit and gun proponent Michelle Malkin, Colorado’s Republican Party leader Ken Buck, Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr, writer David Horowitz, anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, and right wing radio hosts, like KNUS 710-AM’s Julie Hayden and Chuck Bonniwell, who regularly slam Gardner.

Organizers say the most popular speech was a 2016 keynote by Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty.

At last year’s Summit, Gardner told the crowd he thinks the media “want us to fail” in retaining control of the U.S. Senate, which gives Republicans the power to appoint conservative judges. Republicans went on in November to win a majority in the senate chamber.

Erik Maulbetsch contributed to this post.

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…

(more…)

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

Colorado Week in Review: 6/28/19


Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.

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.

Republicans Aim to Hang Trump Portrait at Colo Capitol in July

Colorado Republicans now aim to unveil a portrait of Trump at the Colorado Capitol in July.

The painting, paid for via a grassroots fundraising campaign led by former GOP State Senate President Kevin Grantham, was first intended to be on a wall in the Capitol rotunda by early January. Then the target date moved to April.

Artist’s sketch of Trump portrait.

Then Republicans tried to snag Trump himself to attend an unveiling ceremony, during the president’s trip earlier this month to Colorado Springs to speak at the Air Force Academy graduation. But this didn’t work.

Now the goal is to have the portrait, which has been completed and is in storage at the Capitol, on public display in July, according to a source. No details on a possible unveiling ceremony have been released.

Colorado Springs artist Sarah Boardman, who was commissioned to create the portrait, has said her work portrays the president with a “serious, non-confrontational” and “thoughtful” expression.

Trump’s likeness would hang next to paintings of former Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Bush.

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.