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Scott TiptonScott TiptonAugust 1, 20176min200
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

The United States has stood strong for 241 years. Through our commitment to a strong national defense, we have been able to protect our interests at home and abroad. Unfortunately, as our intelligence and defense assets have advanced, so have those of our adversaries. Today, cyberattacks, efforts to meddle in our democratic process, intercontinental ballistic missile threats, and governments that continue to support terrorist activity force us to respond to numerous threats across the world. In the last few weeks, Congress has taken necessary actions to address these risks.

The House and Senate both recently passed a bill (H.R. 3364) that preserves and strengthens sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

There is no question among the intelligence community that Russia engaged in efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, and it is critical that we stand up to any country that attempts to undermine our democratic process. In addition to attempting to undermine our election process, Vladimir Putin continues to pose threats to global stability. I am glad there is bipartisan agreement in Congress that any significant changes to U.S. foreign policy concerning Russia must be approved by the legislative branch. H.R. 3364 requires the president to submit to Congress any proposed actions to terminate or waive sanctions with respect to Russia. After receiving the report, Congress would have thirty days to approve or deny the proposed actions. Russia must face consequences for its actions.

We have seen the Kim Jong Un regime in North Korea test 17 missiles since February, and we know that the country conducted its first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States. This is unacceptable, and Kim Jong Un must be stopped. H.R. 3364 cuts the flow of cash North Korea needs to support its ballistic missile program by prohibiting any entity that does business in the United States from also conducting business in North Korea.

Despite warnings from the United States, Iran continues to fund terrorist activities, strengthening our adversaries and undermining stability in the Middle East. The Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran has done little to bring more security to the world. Instead, Iran has received billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran is supporting Hezbollah, one of the most dangerous terrorist groups, and the Assad regime’s attacks on its own people in Syria. H.R. 3364 punishes anyone who contributes to Iran’s ballistic missile program and places new sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to deter further support of terrorist activities.

Recently, the House Homeland Security Committee released alarming statistics that show 39 cases where homegrown jihadists have supported the plotting or financing of terrorist attack attempts. One hundred and ninety-nine attacks have been planned against the West since 2013. These numbers show why a strong Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is so important. I am proud the House, along with my support, has passed the Department of Homeland Security Authorization ActNational Defense Authorization Act, and the Make Americans Secure Appropriations Act – a funding bill that ensures all U.S. military and security operations have the resources they need to identify and respond to threats and keep Americans safe.

Although threats continue to grow and evolve, the United States has the strongest military in the world, and Congress is committed to providing our military with resources to keep it that way. We may have different views on many topics, but we all agree that the security of our nation and safety of all Americans is a top priority.


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Rachael WrightRachael WrightJune 22, 20178min18

Twenty Years Ago This Week in The Colorado Statesman: Little old Colorado was plunged into the deep end of international politics when Denver hosted eight world leaders from the Group of Seven. Denver rolled out the carpet for national leaders from the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia and the United Kingdom, and on the agenda for discussion were a host of heavy-weight issues including


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusJune 16, 20176min140

There was bipartisan applause this week after the U.S. Senate placed new sanctions on Iran and Russia.

Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Cory Gardner, a Republican, backed the sanctions to punish Iran for recently testing ballistic missiles, as well as human rights abuses, and to signal to Russia that the United States will not tolerate interference in elections, as well as its actions in Syria.

The bill imposes sanctions on anyone involved with Iran’s ballistic missile program and those who do business with them. It also applies sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and enforces an arms embargo in an effort to combat terrorism.

For Russia, the legislation strengthens existing sanctions against areas of its economy and imposes new sanction on anyone engaged in cyber attacks on behalf of the Russian government.

New sanctions against Russia also were put in place over human rights abuses and anyone who supplied weapons to Syrian President Bashar Hafez al-Assad.

The measure prohibits the White House from lifting sanctions against Russia without congressional approval. It faces an uncertain future in the U.S. House, and it sets up a collision course with President Trump, who is trying to improve relations with Moscow.

“While it will likely not get the attention and coverage it deserves, Republicans and Democrats took action together today against Russia,” Gardner said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation is a strong message to Vladimir Putin: The United States will not stand idly by as you undermine democracy and human rights around the globe.”

While the bill passed with bipartisan support, Gardner still took a crack at President Obama for pushing the Iran nuclear deal, which sought to ease economic sanctions on Iran if the country reduced nuclear material production.

“One of President Obama’s biggest foreign policy blunders was the nuclear agreement with Iran, which emboldened Tehran (the capital of Iran) to ramp up its nefarious activities, including ballistic missile tests, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses,” Gardner said. “These bipartisan sanctions are a firm response to this grave threat to U.S. national security.”

Bennet applauded the passage of the new bipartisan sanctions as well. But in doing so, he took a jab at President Trump.

“By providing an opportunity for congressional review, we can ensure that the administration can’t roll back sanctions without justification or for inappropriate reasons,” Bennet said in a statement. “Russia continues to deploy a wide range of tools aimed at harming the United States, and it is clear that, if left unchecked, Russia will continue to undermine our democratic institutions.

“The Russia sanctions are critical to countering the Kremlin’s continued threats to our interests and those of our allies. The House should pass this bill quickly, and the president should sign it into law.  This will send a strong message that there are consequences for Russia’s interference in our democracy.”

Gardner and Bennet also worked on an amendment to the bill that aims at protecting the aerospace industry, which has a large presence in Colorado. Original language in the bill would have sanctioned U.S. civil and commercial aerospace activities. It was an unintended consequence of the legislation’s original language, which did not mean to impose sanctions on the industry.

The amendment allows NASA to move forward with planned missions, which often benefits aerospace companies based in Colorado. Without passage of the amendment, Bennet and Gardner said NASA would have had to close up to seven space missions.

“American leadership in space is vital to our national security and position in the world,” Bennet said. “Colorado’s robust aerospace community plays an essential role in maintaining that leadership. This bipartisan amendment ensures NASA and commercial space missions can move forward as planned and continues efforts to reduce our reliance on Russia in the long term.”

“I offered a bipartisan amendment to the Iran sanctions bill today for one simple reason: It will ensure NASA and our commercial space industry will continue to be the world’s leader in aerospace,” Gardner added. “Without today’s amendment, U.S. astronauts would be forced to continue to rely on Russia for access to space for even longer.

“I’m proud Colorado is a leader in aerospace and I will continue to support my home state’s efforts as they play a critical role in space exploration. I’m thankful the Senate came together today to approve this amendment and reaffirm America’s leadership in space.”


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Clifford D. MayClifford D. MayJune 15, 20178min111

In the aftermath of the terrorist atrocities of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush drew a line in the sand. “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make,” he announced. “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Since then, disappointingly if not surprisingly, more than a few nations have straddled that line, providing support to America and America’s enemies alike. Is that because they sympathize with the goals of the terrorists or because they’re afraid of the terrorists or is there some other explanation? It’s not clear. What is: No nation has hedged its bets more egregiously than Qatar.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJune 15, 201720min172

Near the end of the town hall in Frisco last Friday, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat in his ninth year in the Senate, invoked the famous answer Benjamin Franklin gave when asked what the framers of the Constitution had created. “He was asked, ‘What kind of government are you forming, a republic or a monarchy?’ and his answer was, ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’”


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Clifford D. MayClifford D. MayJune 8, 20179min110

The slaughter of 22 concert-goers in Manchester May 22 was followed four days later by the murder of 29 Christians traveling by bus to a monastery in the desert south of Cairo. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks. In an internet video, a masked spokesman denounced the victims — many of them teenage girls, fans of pop singer Ariana Grande — as “crusaders.” As for Egyptian Christians, also known as Copts, they have been described in other Islamic State videos as “our favorite prey.”


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Peter MarcusMay 17, 20177min111

Republicans from Colorado’s congressional delegation appear more interested in seeking the truth behind President Trump’s potential obstruction of justice.

The fallout began this week following reports that President Trump asked FBI Director James Comey to shut down a federal investigation into the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

The reports stem from a memo Comey wrote shortly after an Oval Office meeting in February.

Flynn resigned after it was revealed that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about a phone call with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Comey, according to the memo.

Trump fired Comey last week, though the reason behind the move is unclear.

In a turn of events, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, asked that the FBI release all documents and recordings of conversations between the president and Comey.

A subpoena of the documents and conversations remains a possibility.

It is a question of a potential obstruction of justice by Trump, suggesting that the president tried to influence the Justice Department and FBI investigation into connections between Trump associates and Russia.

While the Comey memo has been shared with certain FBI officials, according to reports, the full contents of the memo have not been made public, though some portions have been read to national reporters.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, tweeted last night that the memo should be made public.

A spokesman for Coffman clarified on Wednesday, “Congressman Coffman has called for an independent investigation, has said Congress needs the memos, and believes Comey should testify.”

A spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, said, “Congressman Tipton supports the House Oversight Committee’s request for Mr. Comey’s documents. Until he has access to them, the Congressman will not be commenting further.”

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Greeley, added, “I support the Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s effort to review the Comey memo, and I would like to see Mr. Comey testify before Congress. As a prosecutor for 25 years, I value due process. I’m not going to reach a conclusion until I see all of the evidence.”

But U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, took a more favorable approach to Trump.

“I place more trust in the account of Oval Office meetings with the National Security Advisor than I do with unnamed sources,” Lamborn said in a statement on social media.

“General McMaster has stated repeatedly and unequivocally that the President behaved in a manner that was ‘wholly appropriate.’ That said, I believe that it is important for the President to put a stop to the swirling media narratives around his actions by sharing the complete truth with the nation. By doing so, he can help return the discussion to solving problems and working hard on behalf of the American people.”

Colorado Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner added, “The bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee has asked James Comey to appear in front of the committee, and they have asked acting FBI Director McCabe for any notes or memos prepared by Comey regarding communication with the Department of Justice and White House on the ongoing Russia investigation. I strongly support these bipartisan actions.

“We currently do not have all the information – and we need to see it before we comment further. It’s also important that this does not impact the ongoing investigation into Russia.”

Republicans asked by Colorado Politics what their standard is for seriously discussing impeachment proceedings have been hesitant to respond.

Another layer to the debate is a meeting Trump had last week with Russian officials in the Oval Office. Trump has been accused of revealing classified information.

There have, however, been conflicting reports on the meeting Trump had with Russian officials, and so Republicans have been hesitant to offer concrete statements on the allegations.

Concerning the Comey memo, the White House denied any influence over the investigation.

“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” the White House statement said. “The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”

But Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, called the recent revelations “deeply disturbing.”

“Congress needs more information, including access to the memos from Director Comey and any recordings or transcripts from the White House. Comey also should testify publicly.

“This further underscores what we have been demanding for months. We need an independent special prosecutor to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 election and connections to the Trump campaign and Administration.”