Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 289th day of the year. There are 76 days remaining in 2017.
Ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters tomorrow (10/17/2017)
22 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
98 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
143 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
386 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
1,114 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)
Today's political TL; DR -
POLL: Half of Utahns say they don't believe that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election, but big numbers of moderates and liberals think there was cooperation between the two entities [Utah Policy].
A bombshell report says Sen. Orrin Hatch played a key role in weakening the DEA's ability to combat the opioid crisis while pulling in $177,000 in campaign contributions from the companies producing the drugs [Washington Post]. Hatch's office responded to the article, calling it "flawed" [Hatch press release].
John Curtis, the GOP nominee in the 3rd CD special election, raised about 3-times as much money as Democrat Kathie Allen during the latest financial reporting period. Allen, who had posted spectacular fundraising numbers earlier this year, saw her cash haul drop dramatically over the last two quarters [Utah Policy].
The Cook Political Report takes note of the possibility that Ben McAdams could challenge Rep. Mia Love in 2018. They've shifted their rating of the district slightly toward the Democrats, changing it from "solid Republican" to "likely Republican" [Utah Policy].
PODCAST: John Curtis is the guest on the latest "Beg to Differ" podcast with Bryan Schott and Mike Winder [Utah Policy].
Our "Political Insiders" say they don't expect Congress or the Utah Legislature to take action on gun legislation following the mass shooting in Las Vegas [Utah Policy].
The four leading candidates in the 3rd CD special election took to the debate stage on Friday. Republican John Curtis shrugged off attempts by his opponents to tie him to President Donald Trump [Associated Press, Deseret News, Tribune].
The final day of testimony in the hearing over who will care for former County Recorder Gary Ott featured testimony that Ott's finances were in "shambles" after he began living with his former secretary and girlfriend Karmen Sanone [Deseret News, Tribune].
Provo officials have decided to no longer prosecute class A misdemeanor cases, instead, those cases will be sent to the Utah County Attorney. The move is a response to legal issues between Provo and Utah County that has increased the workload in the Provo City Attorney's office [Daily Herald].
Gov. Gary Herbert's office wants to appeal a decision by the State Records Committee that ordered the Attorney General's office to release a legal opinion prepared for the Legislature on the rules Herbert's office set for next month's special Congressional election. Previously, the governor's office blocked the release of the opinion claiming attorney-client privilege [Tribune].
Salt Lake City's longshot bid to possibly host the 2026 Winter Olympics got a boost after Innsbruck, Austria pulled out of the running [Deseret News].
A partisan fight over the future of the Affordable Care Act could lead to a government shutdown in December. Democrats are vowing to pin the blame on Republicans if premiums skyrocket next year after President Donald Trump took executive action to end some payments meant to subsidize health insurance exchanges [Washington Post].
President Donald Trump's legal bills topped $1 million during the last three months in response to the probe into Russia's role in the 2016 election. Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee have paid out more than $2 million in legal bills this year because of the Russia probe [Politico].
Russian trolls who helped to boost President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign on social media platforms were required to watch the Netflix series "House of Cards" to help them craft their messages designed to whip up discord [Yahoo].
The U.S. military will begin drills to practice evacuating American service members and their families out of South Korea in the event conflict with North Korea breaks out [New York Times].
The effectiveness of North Korea's cyber espionage program has grown exponentially, leaving American authorities unsure of how to counter the growing threat. Scary quote: "At a recent meeting of American strategists, ... some participants expressed concerns that the escalating cyberwar could actually tempt the North to use its weapons -both nuclear and cyber - very quickly in any conflict, for fear that the United States has secret ways to shut the country down" [New York Times].
President Donald Trump reportedly enjoys mocking Vice President Mike Pence's religious beliefs. During a conversation on gay rights, Trump singled out Pence and joked, "Don't ask that guy - he wants to hang them all!" [New Yorker].
Republicans are learning to ignore budget deficits in their desperation to pass a tax reform measure [Politico].
White House chief of staff John Kelly is pushing to fill vacant political appointments in the Trump administration, giving Cabinet secretaries more autonomy to make key appointments [Politico].
Facebook is seeking to hire people who hold national security clearances. They say those employees would be key to help prevent foreign powers from using the social network to manipulate future elections [Bloomberg].
A judge may throw out a key part in the bribery trial of Sen. Robert Menendez, which could torpedo the prosecution's case against the New Jersey Democrat [Politico].
A woman who claims she was groped by President Donald Trump has subpoenaed his campaign seeking documents relating to any woman claiming Trump sexually assaulted her [BuzzFeed].
On this day in history:
1793 - Marie Antoinette is guillotined at the height of the French Revolution.
1859 - Abolitionist John Brown leads a raid on Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.
1875 - Brigham Young University is founded.
1916 - Margaret Sanger opens the nation's first family planning clinic in Brooklyn.
1962 - President John F. Kennedy was informed that reconnaissance photographs revealed the presence of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, kicking off the Cuba Missile Crisis.
1968 - U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos are kicked off the US team for participating in the Olympics Black Power salute.
Bishop to negotiate defense spending bill House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has announced that Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) will serve on the House-Senate Conference Committee tasked with reconciling the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA.)...
"A big story right now is this Vanity Fair article about the White House. They say that Trump's becoming unhinged, and that he recently shouted, "I hate everyone in the White House!" But later, he clarified his remarks, saying, "Except for me. I still like me a lot." Jimmy Fallon
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