Impeachment Logic with Ken Buck

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley)

Congressional Republicans are scrambling to figure out how to proceed with their full-throated support of President Trump in the wake of Wednesday’s public impeachment hearings, in which Ambassador William B. Taylor, Jr. and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, testified for hours in front of members of the House Intelligence Committee. Taylor’s testimony was particularly damning, and not just because it included new revelations about a phone call between Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland that makes it appear that Trump was really only interested in investigating political rival Joe Biden.

While we have yet to hear from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) on his opinion of Wednesday’s hearings, Congressman/State Republican Party Chairman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) talked to Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post and gave his thoughts on what took place yesterday. We’ll get to Buck’s incredible nonsense in a moment, but first we should present some background information.

Buck had previously been a fan of what has come to be called “The Sideshow Bob Defense,” owing to the nefarious character from the long running TV show “The Simpsons.” In essence, this theory is based on the idea that Trump did not actually commit a crime because his extortion attempt with Ukraine was unsuccessful. This is, of course, completely absurd; attempting to commit a crime is still a crime. Ineptitude is not a defense.

“Convicted of a crime I didn’t even commit. Hah! Attempted murder? Now honestly, what is that? Do they give a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry? Do they?”

As we wrote last month, Buck’s usage of “The Sideshow Bob Defense” was patently ridiculous:

As for whether or not Trump committed a crime even if the quid pro quo is universally acknowledged, that’s not up to Ken Buck to decide. Federal law says clearly that seeking assistance from a foreign government in an American election is a crime. Again, if anyone out there should be expected to know this without being told, it’s a former prosecutor. At the end of September, Buck even said “I don’t think this is necessarily even wrong” in reference to what  federal law clearly defines as a criminal act. Today, Buck sidesteps the question by saying only that it’s not an “impeachable offense,” but his credibility to make that judgment is already spent after he argued that what is clearly a crime is in fact not.

You’ll never catch me, logic!

Buck never misses a chance to remind a reporter that he is a “former prosecutor,” though it appears that the former Weld County District Attorney either didn’t really know what he was doing at the time or forgot everything he once knew about the law…which leads us back to his comments to The Denver Post today:

“Whether it’s appropriate or not, the voters can decide. It’s not impeachable,” the congressman said in a phone interview Thursday morning, a day after public hearings in the impeachment inquiry began…

…Buck compared the allegations against Trump — that he withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine because the Eastern European ally would not investigate the son of Joe Biden, a possible Trump opponent — to conditions the U.S. government routinely places on foreign aid, while reiterating that he does not believe Trump withhold the money in order to force an investigation into the Bidens.

“For example, we put tariffs on Mexico and say to Mexico, ‘Help us stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States’ and Mexico agreed to do that and has been doing that and the president withdrew the tariffs. That’s a quid pro quo. It’s not illegal. In and of itself, a quid pro quo does not violate the law,” Buck said. Over the summer, Trump threatened to place tariffs on all Mexican goods, but backed off after an agreement was reached on immigration enforcement.

This is objectively wrong. Period.

It is irrelevant whether or not Buck thinks President Trump’s request of Ukraine is illegal. We don’t need Buck’s opinion here because the law itself is clear.

Now take a gander at how the Greeley Congressman would raise the bar on Presidential misconduct:

The congressman declined to say whether he believes it’s appropriate for a president to ask such a favor, calling that a hypothetical scenario. A quid pro quo, as Democrats allege Trump engaged in, would only be an impeachable offense if it rises to the level of a crime, said Buck, a former prosecutor.

“In other words, if I’m the president of the United States and I say to (Russian President) Vladimir Putin, ‘If you go and kill these three political opponents of mine, I will give you aid, or I will stop giving Ukraine aid,’ yes, that’s a crime,” the congressman said.

It’s getting hot in herre

It’s noteworthy in itself that Buck declines to say whether he believes President Trump’s actions to be appropriate, but the real problem here is Buck’s faulty response to Trump’s actions as a “hypothetical scenario.” Trump did talk to the President of Ukraine and he did ask him to “do us a favor, though” and start an investigation into the Bidens. There’s nothing hypothetical about any of this.

Furthermore, according to “Buck logic,” Trump would have to ask another country TO MURDER SOMEONE for this sort of request to rise to an impeachable offense.

WUT?

Most adults understand that this scenario would still include separate crimes — for murder and for bribery. Then again, most adults also don’t believe that people are purchasing AR-15 rifles in order to obliterate raccoons.

You might remember that Buck damn near sunk President Trump during the testimony of former special prosecutor Robert Mueller when he repeatedly asked if Trump could be charged with a crime and kept getting the same affirmative answer. Buck later attempted to defend his blunder by saying that “only very soft people” are worried about Trump’s actions. In other words, it’s not necessarily a good thing for Trump that Ken Buck is trying to publicly defend him.

Buck tells The Denver Post that he will “will go where the evidence takes me in this case.” If Buck was making an honest attempt to understand the evidence, this might be reassuring.

Threat of Ill-Defined “Radical Left” Is Gardner’s Dominant Campaign Theme

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner can’t talk about issues like guns, Trump, and abortion without getting into trouble with his Republican base or independent voters–or both–but he apparently thinks he can get away with talking about the “radical left.” Or “loony left.” Or the “fringe left.”

That’s safe territory for him, he thinks.

Hence, a new Gardner campaign ad states, “Don’t let the radical left destroy Colorado jobs.” 

But who’s he referring to? The people who make up his high disapproval rating? The attendees at the women’s march? Just the people carrying “Cardboard Cory” cutouts?

Gardner’s recent advertisement and trail of radio interviews, where he often drops “radical left” line, don’t shed much light on the question.

“Loony Left”

Whoever they are, Gardner apparently thinks the radical left can swing elections.

Prior to the 2018 election, Gardner worried that “loony left” and “radical left” voters could create a “problem” for Republicans, leading Democrats to victory.

“Obviously, voter motivation and intensity is important in elections,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner told a KHOW radio host Ross Kaminsky in September of 2018. “And if more on the radical left, the loony left, get out and vote than the right, that’s a problem.”

Gardner, who once thought people protesting him were paid, painted a darker picture of the leftist problem in July at the Western Conservative Summit (at 1:24:15) warning that “fringe liberals” are rallying “against the values that made America great” and “espousing far left radical ideas that are rooted in socialism.”

This kind of rhetoric about the threat of radical, loony, fringe leftists is the dominant theme of Gardner’s re-election campaign, starting in his first campaign ad last year.

“Do you want to protect the Senate from a radical far-Left takeover in 2020?” Gardner asked in the ad.

If you’re getting scared, though you don’t exactly know who the radical threat is and why they’re dangerous, that’s what Gardner wants.

If you’re wondering what’s up with Gardner’s campaign, think about all the stuff Gardner isn’t talking about.

 

Get More Smarter on Thursday (November 14)


There are 40 shopping days remaining until Christmas. Now, let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Unless you’ve been living inside an old Budweiser box, you’re probably aware that Wednesday was the first day of public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill. Ambassador William B. Taylor, Jr. and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, testified for hours in front of members of the House Intelligence Committee and the eyes of the world.

Taylor dropped a bombshell in his opening statement, telling a story about a phone call between President Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland that apparently laid bare that Trump cares only about Ukraine insofar as they might investigate former Vice President Joe Biden for invented transgressions. The rest of the hearing went downhill from there for Republicans.

For more on Wednesday’s proceedings, here’s a quick list of links:

Trump Exposed: A Brutal Day for the President (Politico)

In the big moment, Republicans go small (Washington Post)

♦ New revelations from first public hearings paint damning portrait of Trump (CNN)

♦ How Adam Schiff Avoided a Circus (Washington Post)

♦ Republicans’ Best Defense is a Bad Offense (New York Times)

♦ Impeachment hearing testimony further connects President to Ukraine pressure (CNN)

♦ Pelosi says Trump has admitted to “bribery” with Ukraine (Axios)

Of course, as Philip Bump notes for The Washington Post, your takeaway from Wednesday’s hearings might be quite a bit different if you get your information from the likes of Fox News.

 

► At least one person is dead and several others injured in a school shooting in Santa Clarita, California. This is the 30th school shooting of 2019.

 

► As the Associated Press reports, Gov. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) unveiled a new state budget with a heavy focus on education spending:

Polis proposed a $34.5 billion state budget Wednesday for the next fiscal year, once again emphasizing early and higher education investments and seeking to increase rainy-day reserves.

Polis presented his request to the Joint Budget Committee, which will craft a balanced budget during the 2020 legislative session.

Polis noted that the requested funding increase of 2.9% kept with the inflation rate, Colorado Politics reported.

“There’s not a lot of free money” available, he said.

The Denver Post has more on the upcoming budget battle.

 

► Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) is trying to overturn a magazine ban in Colorado as gun stores openly flaunt laws designed to prohibit high-capacity gun magazines.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Never-Ending Squabble Over Gun Magazines Turns Sinister


It’s been a big week of political news on the subject of gun control in Colorado, with two related storylines converging into what we expect will be the next big flashpoint in the 2020 session of the Colorado General Assembly–a renewed battle over the state’s 15-round limit on firearm magazine capacity, passed in 2013 in response to mass shootings in Aurora and elsewhere utilizing high capacity magazines to dramatically increase the toll of dead and wounded. In the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting in particular, a 100-round ammunition drum attached to an AR-15 type assault rifle–which only jammed after most of its capacity had been expended–was responsible for the majority of deaths.

Despite this, as the Denver Post reports, yesterday the Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments in Rocky Mountain Gun Owners’ lawsuit to overturn the magazine limit:

In arguments before the state court Wednesday, the groups’ lawyer, Barry Arrington, said that since the U.S. Supreme Court has found that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right, the state has a heavier burden to prove that the magazine limit is needed. He said they cannot meet that standard.

The law was passed in 2013, a year after the Aurora theater shooting, in an effort to limit the number of deaths in mass shootings. While large capacity magazines were used in the Columbine and Aurora shootings, Arrington said that have also been widely used by gun owners, with millions of them in existence when the law was passed.

Aurora shooting memorial, July 2012.

9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger captured a particularly compelling exchange from yesterday’s arguments:

“The odds of you hurting more people is significantly higher than if you had to stop and reload. What’s crazy about that?” [Justice Richard] Gabriel asked.

“The evidence at trial was that two had been abused. Two magazines. Not two million. Two magazines had been abused in the state of Colorado. So, it’s literally the fact that the government is saying if it’s a one-in-a-million chance that one of these firearm components can be abused by a homicidal maniac, we get to ban them all.” Arrington said.

“If you’re going to look at statistics and you’re going to say the odds are so low that no one has ever used this for a mass shooting, then the odds are also low that anyone needs 15 rounds to defend oneself,” Gabriel said. [Pols emphasis]

A ruling in this case from from the state supreme court isn’t expected this year, but legal experts we’ve talked to do not expect the magazine limit to be overturned in the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected numerous challenges to state and local gun laws in the last 10 years. The 2008 DC vs. Heller Supreme Court decision clearly dictates that reasonable regulations on guns are compatible with the Second Amendment.

So, that’s where the issue stands legally. But 9NEWS’ Zelinger also released this week and in-depth investigative report, Overloaded, which revealed a much more essential and troubling problem: Republicans in Colorado, from the General Assembly to the elected county sheriffs RMGO has helped put in power all over the state, have created a lawless environment where gun stores and gun owners are breaking the law with impunity.

(more…)

Republicans Slink to Gutter on First Day of Public Hearings


Ambassador Bill Taylor (left) and House GOP counsel Steve Castor

If you read just one summary of Wednesday’s first day of public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill, make it this piece from Dana Milbank of The Washington Post:

Of all the excuses, defenses, distractions and outright non sequiturs President Trump’s defenders deployed at Wednesday’s first public impeachment hearing — the whistleblower is biased! Hunter Biden is corrupt! Adam Schiff wanted nude photos of Trump! — the most telling came from Steve Castor, the Republicans’ chief counsel, as he questioned Bill Taylor, America’s man in Kyiv.

Describing the “irregular channel” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his team of “amigos” used to coerce Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents, Castor asked Taylor: “In fairness, this irregular channel of diplomacy, it’s not as outlandish as it could be — is that correct?”

Taylor seemed to think Castor was telling a joke. “It’s not as outlandish as it could be,” he said with a laugh. “I agree.”

True! Giuliani could have conducted the entire scheme in drag. Or they could have threatened the Ukrainian president with a Nerf gun instead of merely withholding military aid. But Castor wasn’t kidding. He defended his point at length, then asked again: “It may be irregular, but it’s certainly not outlandish?”

Taylor smiled, shook his head and nodded, as if to convey: Whatever you say.

As the website Law & Crime notes, Wednesday’s performance by Republican attorney Steve Castor was a “trainwreck” worthy of the intense derision it received on social media. As John Harris writes for Politico, the first day of public hearings was a “brutal day for the President.”

And this is only the beginning.

“Citizen Voter” Spokesman Sees Initiative as a “Lifeline” for “Many Republican Campaigns”

(Desperate enough to admit it without prompting – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

not George Athanasopoulos

Former GOP Congressional candidate George Athanasopoulos, who is leading the Initiative 76 “Citizen Voter” campaign, believes in the effort not only for its policy impact, but as a political organizing tool to help Republicans in the 2020 election.

The Colorado Constitution already mandates that voters to be citizens of the United States, yet the ballot initiative proposes to amend a single phrase, from “every citizen” may vote to “only a citizen” may vote.

While legislators and lawyers can debate whether the new phrase would actually change the current law’s effect, Athanasopoulos went on the radio to say that there is another benefit to the campaign: energize lagging Republican political campaigns in need of a “lifeline.”

Patrick Neville Initiative 76

On Tuesday, House Republicans may have showed at least some faith in his argument by not only delivering the Initiative 76 signatures themselves, but also sharing a video of several lawmakers including House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), Minority Caucus Chair Lori Saine, (R-Dacono), and Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) carrying boxes of petitions into the Secretary of State’s office.

Speaking to KNUS hosts Chuck Bonniwell & Julie Hayden on July 29, Athanasopoulos said:

“This can be the spark that lights the fire. This can be the issue that Republicans can run on and get people enthusiastic and frankly it shouldn’t just be a Republican issue this should be an American issue.”

He expounded on his point a few minutes later, imagining a Republican candidate using the initiative as a campaign talking point:

“This is a great issue for Republicans because if you’re a Republican running for office I would vocally say, ‘I signed the petition I am supporting this initiative. I believe that only American citizens should vote in American elections. How about my opponent? Did my opponent sign this? Does my opponent support this?'”

He returned to the same point again, saying simply:

“This initiative is a lifeline to many Republican campaigns that they need to grab on to.”

Over the course of his interview, he convinced at least one person. Host Chuck Bonniwell introduced the last segment with Athanasopoulos by making his guest’s point for him:

We’re here with George Anthony was talking about a new initiative to mandate in the Colorado Constitution that you have to be a U.S. citizen to vote. And I think as George has indicated it can be used by candidates — certainly Republican candidates–to go after the Democratic ones who refuse to support the initiative. Chuck Bonniwell, KNUS radio host, July 29, 2019

The “Citizen Voter” initiative is part of a national effort to push these ballot initiatives. A Florida nonprofit called, Citizen Voters, Inc, which esssentially fully funded the signature gathering effort here in Colorado (spending $1.4M) is also supporting similar efforts in Florida, Alabama and other states. The Washington Post explored the group and its funders in a long feature over the summer called, “Secret donors and Trump allies: Inside the operation to push noncitizen voting laws in Florida and other states.”

Thursday Open Thread


“Ignorance of all things is an evil neither terrible nor excessive, nor yet the greatest of all; but great cleverness and much learning, if they be accompanied by a bad training, are a much greater misfortune.”

–Plato

Two Former GOP Lawmakers Share Fake News that Humans Don’t Cause Climate Change


(Says a guy who claims to have punched a bear — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On Facebook this week, two former Republican state legislators were among a group of conservatives who shared a fake news item with the headline, “NASA admits that climate change occurs because of changes in Earth’s solar orbit, and NOT because of SUVs and fossil fuels.”

The article was deemed “false” by Snopes and other fact checkers.

Neither former state Representatives J Paul Brown (R-Ignacio) nor Judy Reyher (R-Swink), who shared the post,
returned calls seeking to know if they would remove the fake news from their social media feeds.

Brown shared a Facebook comment about the article falsely calling “man made global climate change” a “hoax” and objecting to a post by Facebook debunking the article.

Reyher shared a portion of the Natural News article falsely reporting that NASA “has known that the changes that occur in planetary weather patterns are completely natural and normal. But the space agency, for whatever reason, has chosen to let the man-made global warming hoax persist.”

Snopes’ correction reads:

This story was picked up by the website Natural News, where it gained further virality. One of the more telling approaches for outlets that promote a specific brand of climate-change denial is to report as news their “discovery” of something that, while perhaps new to them, is fundamental to the field of climate science and in no way in conflict with the concept of anthropogenic climate change.

When climate scientists discuss evidence for anthropogenic changes in the climate system, they do not simultaneously argue that there are no natural causes of variation in the climate system. Asserting that would be a straw-man argument. Evidence of natural climate variability is not evidence of a lack of human input into the climate system.

Erik Maulbetsch contributed to this post.

3 Years On


It looks like the NFL has been given permission, by some source unknown, to the teams desperate for a quarterback to do the NFL version of an interview.  They are going to watch Colin Kaepernic workout.  Right now the NFL is short a few good quarterbacks and the SFB hate of a man who kneels to protest is off due to another distraction. 

So even Elway is going to do something, like send a scout.  Perhaps Colin will overlook how much Elway has for the low intelligence racist narcissist and think about an offer from the Broncos.

Tell Us How You Really Feel, Chaffee County GOP


Continuing our occasional look at content appearing on official Colorado Republican Party social media landing pages, here’s the Chaffee County GOP voicing what appears to be their displeasure over white people not having enough wives, which results through straightforward means in…well, fewer white babies. It’s true that you might be a little confused hearing from an official Republican Party mouthpiece how “Europeans disappeared,” past tense, since it’s our understanding that people of European descent both in Europe and elsewhere–including 85% non-Hispanic lily-white Chaffee County–are still very much with us.

Outside a few places we’ve read about in southern Utah where the gene pool is problematically shallow, there’s not much we can offer to help Chaffee County Republicans in their quest for more wives! More babies is something they could work on at least to some degree, as long as their spouses are willing, but the reality is that birthrates decline as a natural product of economic development–and that includes the developed Muslim world, too.

But again, that’s a conversation for well-adjusted adults to have.

Well-adjusted adults are not in charge of the Chaffee County Republican Party.

Selling Air: GOP Defends Pointless “Citizen Voter” Initiative


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

In the 24 hours since petitions were submitted in support of Initiative 76, a constitutional amendment to duplicatively restate that voting rights in Colorado are restricted to U.S. citizens only–which the constitution already prescribes and is already followed in practice throughout the state with zero exceptions we are aware of–proponents have faced a barrage of questions from reporters, trying to figure out what the point of the measure is beyond the superficial objective of turning out a particular segment of low-information, high-prejudice voters.

The answers? Mostly crazy stuff, with a wink and nod to the desperate realpolitik. Colorado Public Radio:

The Colorado effort has collected more than 200,000 signatures ahead of a Tuesday deadline, likely ensuring they’ll have more than enough ruled valid to qualify for the election, according to Joe Stengel, registered agent for the initiative…

Stengel claimed, without providing any evidence, that noncitizens already are voting in Colorado, despite the existing laws.

“They are voting now, and I think that they’ll probably continue to vote if we don’t ensure the integrity of our elections,” he said. He could not point to any specific examples, he said.

Grand Junction Sentinel:

Stengel, who served as minority leader in the Colorado House before leaving office in 2006, denied that the effort has anything to do with politics.

“It’s a non-partisan issue,” he said. “Democrats, Republicans, independents should all be concerned about voter integrity. Opponents can say whatever they want, but who would not be in favor of voter integrity?”

CBS4:

“This is a great opportunity so that we can get in front of the voters first hand,” said Rep. Patrick Neville (R – District 45), the House Minority Leader. “They are going to get a chance to vote on it.” [Pols emphasis]

Denver Post:

“In my mind, this simply clears up some ambiguous language,” Neville said during a press conference late Tuesday morning, “and ensures we take the first steps to ensure we have election integrity in the state of Colorado.”

We’ll start with the most important point, which is there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim that noncitizens are voting in Colorado elections. Repeated false claims of this kind from former Secretary of State Scott Gessler during his term from 2011-14 fell apart under scrutiny, and it became obvious that Gessler and friends were intentionally omitting the naturalization of new citizens in the state–which completely accounts for these alleged instances of “noncitizen voters” with room to spare.

It’s been necessary for us to revisit this question over and over as the false claims get recycled to new audiences. And every time, whether it’s Gessler or Donald Trump making the allegation, it has always turned out the same way.

Once you get past the easily disproven claims of “noncitizens voting,” proponents seem to acknowledge that Initiative 76 is nothing more than a get-out-the-vote vehicle for beat-down Colorado Republicans in the 2020 elections. Along with the ballot measure to overturn the legislature’s passage of the National Popular Vote Compact, these measures are unapologetically described (at least in private) as a way of giving demoralized Colorado Republicans demotivated by the top of the ticket and the near-inevitability of another impending defeat in our state some reason to return their ballot.

Bottom line: Initiative 76 almost surgically targets a segment of the electorate that Republicans need desperately to vote, namely conservatives in possession of more rage than facts. That’s its entire reason for existence. Like so many other storylines in today’s politics, when the pitch man tells you you’re being too cynical…the reality is that you’re not being cynical enough.

Gardner Breaks Silence On First Day Of Impeachment Hearings


Technically speaking, anyway, from today’s Get More Smarter:

As the nation sits riveted to their televisions and other screens following updates to the impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, Sen. Cory Gardner is indefatigably on script–talking about any available subject besides the eight hundred pound gorilla dominating the headlines. Unfortunately for Gardner, we’re at the stage where talking about something else–anything else–is worse than saying nothing at all.

Gardner tried that first, of course, and it did not end well.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 13)


Happy first day of public impeachment hearings…day. Please celebrate responsibly. Now, let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The headline and subhead in every media outlet in the country is all about public impeachment hearings beginning today on Capitol Hill. William B. Taylor Jr., acting ambassador to Ukraine, dropped a bombshell piece of news in his testimony this morning when he revealed that an aide overheard a damning phone call between President Trump and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland that took place on July 26, one day after Trump’s infamous “perfect” phone call with the Ukrainian President.

You can get live updates of today’s impeachment hearings via The Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times, and just about anywhere else on the Internet. Heck, you could probably find live updates on PornHub, but we’re not going to check that one for ourselves. For more information, go to The Washington Post for initial reactions to today’s testimony and for fact-checking on the spin machine.

We’ll end this section with some advice for Republicans from the editorial board at The Washington Post:

 

► Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) writes an Op-Ed for The Hill newspaper about honoring the service of those who are testifying on impeachment hearings:

The American people will soon hear the testimony of veterans, career foreign service officers, and dedicated public servants. As both a combat veteran and member of Congress, I have one request of my colleagues: do not question the patriotism of these decorated veterans and public servants.

We can and will debate the merits of the testimony, but baseless smears against those who have dedicated their lives to our country are beneath our nation’s dignity. Unfortunately, we have seen these attacks before.

► It’s been one week since the polls closed on the 2019 Election, and Aurora still doesn’t know who will be the city’s mayor. As The Denver Post reports:

The votes cast in the five-way race, which appeared to be in former U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s favor Nov. 5, ended up being too close to call when the three counties involved finished their main ballot counts Thursday.

Coffman was leading Omar Montgomery, the NAACP chapter president, by fewer than 300 votes.

And there were still about 2,300 votes out in Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas counties combined — all counties that can claim part of Aurora — that needed signature and identification verification before they could be counted. There were also additional military and overseas ballots that needed to be counted as well as ballots that were transferred from various county offices. However, many of the uncounted ballots are probably not from Aurora.

So Montgomery volunteers started knocking on doors again, trying to cure, or correct, signature and identification discrepancies, on hundreds of ballots that weren’t counted.

 

DACA recipients in Denver are anxiously awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court as to whether or not President Trump can lawfully cancel the Obama-era program. As NBC News reports, observers expect the court to side with Trump on ending DACA, but as the New York Times explains, a ruling favorable to President Trump might actually be the worse outcome for the White House.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Bombshell on First Day of Public Impeachment Hearings


UPDATE: So, what happens when EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testifies publicly, which could come as soon as next week?

—–

William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, during the swearing-in process prior to House testimony.

William B. Taylor Jr., acting ambassador to Ukraine, opened up the first day of public impeachment hearings in front of the House Intelligence Committee today with a bombshell bit of new information. As The Washington Post explains:

Taylor added new information to his opening statement Wednesday, describing a July phone call between Trump and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland overheard by a member of Taylor’s staff in which Trump purportedly asked about “the investigations.”

Taylor said one of his aides told him that Sondland called Trump from a Kyiv restaurant on July 26 to update him on meetings he was having in the city.

The aide heard Trump through the phone asking about “the investigations” and Sondland said the Ukrainians were ready to move forward, according to Taylor.

The phone call purportedly took place after Sondland met with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to Zelensky, and one day after Trump asked Zelensky to pursue investigations into his political opponents in a controversial phone call.

“Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden.”

  — Ambassador Bill Taylor

As CNN notes, “Bill Taylor’s opening statement is a wow.”

George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, joined Taylor in testifying this morning.