Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 237th day of the year. There are 128 days remaining in 2017.
53 days until ballots for the 2017 general election are mailed to voters (10/17/2017)
74 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
150 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
195 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
438 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
1,166 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)
Today's political TL; DR -
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending to President Donald Trump that both the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments be downsized, but he hasn't released any specifics on his plan [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
Get smart fast! Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott run down the big political stories from the past week, and what they mean for the Utah political zeitgeist [Utah Policy]. Here's a podcast version of our week-in-review if you prefer that [Utah Policy].
Bob Bernick says Sen. Orrin Hatch's indecision about his political future is causing heartburn for other Republicans who are itching to jump into the race [Utah Policy].
Rep. Mia Love names former Utah GOP executive director Ivan DuBois as her new chief of staff [Utah Policy].
Sen. Mike Lee says members of Congress have no business criticizing President Donald Trump's perceived lack of leadership when Republican Senators have failed to deliver on big issues for nearly a decade. Lee also says he's holding out hope that President Trump will be able to make good on his promise to reduce the power of the federal government [Deseret News, Tribune].
3rd Congressional District Democratic nominee Kathie Allen says her campaign will reject any donations from corporations or corporate political action committees [Deseret News, Tribune].
Scott Anderson argues that Congress needs to act on tax reform to kick the nation's economy into high gear [Deseret News].
West Jordan Republicans will meet next month to pick a replacement for Rep. Adam Gardiner who left the legislature to become the new Salt Lake County Recorder [Tribune].
Utah Department of Health officials are growing more confident that the Trump administration will approve a waiver for the state's Medicaid expansion approved by lawmakers [Deseret News].
Utah lawmakers and gun rights advocates take the Bureau of Criminal Identification to task over a $20 fee increase for first-time concealed carry permit applicants [Deseret News, Tribune].
The Utah Department of Transportation wants to expand U.S. 89 in Davis County into a freeway [Tribune].
Something to watch. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, are eyeing a possible joint, independent presidential bid in 2020 with Kasich at the top of the ticket [Axios].
Hurricane Harvey is set to slam into the Texas coast on Friday. The storm could bring three feet of rain, 125 mph winds and a 12-foot storm surge. The governors of Texas and Louisiana have declared a state of emergency [Associated Press].
President Donald Trump may have painted himself into a corner with his threats to shut down the government over funding for the border wall, and Democrats see no reason to compromise since they plan to blame Trump for any ill effects from a shutdown [New York Times].
President Donald Trump is setting up Congressional Republicans to take the fall if they fail to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign [Washington Post].
Speaker Paul Ryan may be facing a nightmare fall as he needs to find the votes to pass measures to fund the government and pass tax reform [Politico].
The White House will not release their own tax reform plan, letting Republicans in Congress take the lead instead [Politico].
President Donald Trump is "seriously considering" ending DACA, the policy enacted by President Obama that shields some illegal immigrants from being deported [Axios].
Some CIA officials are wary of CIA director Mike Pompeo's special interest in a division of the agency tasked with investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016. Pompeo has repeatedly questioned whether Russia interfered in the election [Washington Post].
Gary Cohn, President Trump's top economic advisor, says Trump needs to do more to condemn neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups [Financial Times].
Some moderate Republicans are starting to consider the possibility that President Trump could get a primary challenger in 2020 [Fox News].
A government watchdog group is alleging Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin timed a trip with his wife on a government jet to Knoxville Tennessee on Monday in order to be in the path of the total solar eclipse. Mnuchin did view the eclipse from the roof of Fort Knox [Washington Post].
Pro-Trump media outlets are not happy with White House chief of staff John Kelly's plan to control what information makes it to the president's desk [BuzzFeed].
Amazon plans to lower some prices at Whole Foods once their acquisition of the upscale grocery store is finalized [New York Times].
On this day in history:
1814 - On the second day of the burning of Washington, British troops torched the Library of Congress, United States Secretary, Department of War, and other buildings.
1916 - The National Park Service is created.
1944 - Paris is liberated by the Allies.
1948 - The House Un-American Activities Committee holds first-ever televised congressional hearing.
1950 - President Harry Truman orders the U.S. Army to seize control of the nation's railroads to prevent a strike.
2012 - Voyager 1 spacecraft enters interstellar space becoming the first man-made object to do so.
Weekly survey: Will Operation Rio Grande have a lasting impact? By Bryan Schott, Managing Editor State officials are on phase two of the three-phase Operation Rio Grande to clean up the lawlessness around the homeless population in downtown Salt Lake City. Will the plan be a permanent success, or will any benefits just be temporary? Vote now in our weekly survey....
Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report Outdoor Notes--Tribune: Utah Hike of the Week: Ontario Trail at Deer Valley--Tribune: For a low-effort Utah mountain adventure, take a lift to the trailhead--Tribune:FromUtah's Mirror Lake Highway, many places to sit and reflect--Tribune: Weird sensations in Wyoming for this...