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Situational awareness - November 29, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City.

Welcome to Utah's most comprehensive daily political newsletter. We get you up to date on the most important local and national political stories of the day.

How are we doing? If you have any news tips, suggestions, complaints or just want to give us some feedback, feel free to drop us an email.

Executive summary: What went wrong for the Utah GOP in the midterm elections? Utah is on track for a massive budget surplus next year. Most Mormons voted for Republicans in 2018, but a majority disapprove of President Trump.


  • 60 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)

  • 106 days until the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (3/14/2019)

  • 187 days until the municipal election filing period opens (6/3/2019)

  • 191 days until the municipal election filing period ends (6/7/2019)

  • 258 days to the 2019 Utah primary elections (8/13/2019)

  • 342 days to the 2019 municipal elections (11/5/2019)

  • 432 days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses (2/3/2020)

  • 706 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

  • utah economic outlook public policy summit

    Today At Utah Policy

    images/Resized_Mugshots/Rob_Anderson_01.jpgPodcast: 2018 election post-mortem with Utah GOP Chairman Rob Anderson

    The 2018 midterms were not a particularly good election for the Utah GOP. The party lost a congressional seat, 4 seats in the Legislature and had a rough time in Salt Lake County....
    images/Shutterstock_Capitol_Photos/Utah_Capitol_21.jpgBoomtown! Budget projections show Utah could have hundreds of millions of dollars in surpluses next year

    For those of you who watch such things, get ready for some really big state revenue surpluses for the current budget year a prelude to GOP Gov. Gary Herbert's budget release Dec. 5....
    images/Screenshots/20181128_Lee_CNN.jpgLee blocks bipartisan effort to vote on a bill protecting special counsel Mueller

    On Wednesday, Sen. Mike Lee single-handedly blocked an effort by Democratic Sens. Chris Coons and Cory Booker and GOP Sen. Jeff Flake to force a vote on a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation from interference by the Trump administration....
    images/Screenshots/11282018_Curtis_Fallon.jpgFallon roasts Rep. John Curtis (with video)

    Rep. John Curtis found himself in the crosshairs of late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday....
    images/Resized_Logos/USTAR_Logo_2018.jpgNational conference to highlight Utah's innovation economy

    Next week, Salt Lake City will welcome federal, state, and local government officials, investors, and stakeholders from economic development agencies, nonprofits, and higher education from across the country to discuss best practices in utilizing science and technology to pr...
    images/Resized_Mugshots/Mia_Love_24.jpgWeekly survey: GOP and minorities

    Mia Love suggested in her Monday press conference that part of the reason she lost was the GOP does not do a good job building relationships with minority voters. Do you think that contributed to her defeat in the 2018 midterms? Vote now in our weekly survey....

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    Deseret News

    Eva Witesman: GM news reminds us that government isn't a business

    Derek Miller: Fare thee well, Sen. Hatch

    Editorial: Congress, here's your end-of-year checklist

    State audit: Workforce Services could be more careful in awarding, renewing public assistance benefits

    Sen. Mike Lee blocks effort to vote on bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller

    Utah Supreme Court: Residents' vote to block development at old Cottonwood Mall stands

    Happy New Year: Utah's economic outlook positive heading into 2019, analysts say

    Utah Sen. Mike Lee makes impassioned plea to pull U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen

    Salt Lake Tribune

    Gehrke: A mail carrier's simple act shows we don't all have to be Brent Taylor to serve

    Utah's youngest legislator: 'I won't call anybody old if they don't call me young.'

    With passage of Prop 2, Utah Patients Coalition reorganizes, shifts attention to lobbying the Legislature

    Number of undocumented immigrants in Utah hits a 10-year low

    Sen. Mike Lee blocks proposed legislation to protect Mueller investigation of Russian meddling in U.S. election

    Ben McAdams votes against Nancy Pelosi for House speaker, but she wins Democratic nomination anyway


    • A new poll finds 67-percent of Mormons voted for Republicans in the 2018 midterms, but only 56-percent approve of President Trump's job performance - http://bit.ly/2FNCioW

    • In a rambling interview with the New York Post, President Donald Trump said a pardon for former campaign chair Paul Manafort is "not off the table" - https://nyp.st/2FMlVJd 

    • Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani says the president discussed pardoning former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in early June. Giuliani's proclamation contradicts a White House statement claiming no such discussions took place - http://bit.ly/2FMm7bp

    • President Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not share information he had about WikiLeaks. He also said he was not told about the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton - https://cnn.it/2FLw9cT

    • The special counsel's team is scrutinizing late-night calls between then-candidate Donald Trump and longtime associate Roger Stone - https://wapo.st/2FOBVug 

    • Manafort's plea deal with Mueller's team fell apart because he allegedly lied to investigators about his business dealings with Russia - https://thebea.st/2FWTWqu 

    • Right-wing conspiracy monger Jerome Corsi said in a blockbuster interview that he lied to Congress and is "ready to die in jail." He also said he tried to get stolen Clinton emails to the Trump campaign in 2016 and he "absolutely" intended to help the Trump campaign by doing so - https://on.msnbc.com/2FKVUdq

    • Did special counsel Robert Mueller set Paul Manafort up? There's compelling evidence that Mueller's team baited Manafort into sharing false information with Trump's team - http://bit.ly/2FPEyfj 

    • Senators advance a measure to limit presidential powers in Yemen. The move came after Senators were denied a CIA briefing on the killing of a Saudi journalist - https://nyti.ms/2G0lfAf 

    • Democrats in the House nominated Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker of the House. She will still need to pick up about 15 votes to get the gavel back, but her allies are increasingly confident she will get there - https://politi.co/2FKUDmE

    • Stunning! President Trump's Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta helped a hedge fund manager get a sweetheart plea deal after he was prosecuted for allegedly forcing dozens of underage girls to become prostitutes for him and other influential friends - https://hrld.us/2FLyg0j

    • The Dow jumped 600 points on Wednesday after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell hinted the Fed may slow interest rate hikes - https://cnn.it/2FOANH2 

    • A leaked document from the Kremlin confirms President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit in Argentina this weekend - https://reut.rs/2FNHdWY

    • Police raided the offices of Deutsche Bank on Thursday morning as part of a massive money laundering investigation - https://nyti.ms/2FKSvva 

    • Rising sea levels from climate change could cost the U.S. trillions. In fact, rising sea levels are already causing problems in coastal cities like New Orleans - http://bit.ly/2FOQ4aW

    • The Trump administration is preparing to finally move on a formal ban of bump stocks on semi-automatic weapons - https://nyti.ms/2FPERGZ 

    • The FBI waived fingerprint checks for caregivers at a migrant detention camp for teens in Texas, potentially putting the safety of those housed there at risk - http://bit.ly/2FMlFKf

    • The NRA reported donations to the group dropped by $55 million last year - https://thebea.st/2FLl23y

    • Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped again. The average baby born in 2017 can expect to live 78.6 years. The latest drop is largely attributed to a rising number of deaths from drug overdoses - http://bit.ly/2FNtnnx


    • 1777 - San Jose, Calfornia is founded as Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe by Jose Joaquin Moraga.

    • 1877 - Thomas Edison demonstrates his phonograph for the first time.

    • 1929 - Admiral Richard E. Byrd leads the first expedition to fly over the South Pole.

    • 1963 - President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    • 1967 - Vietnam War: Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announces his resignation.

    • 1972 - Atari releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game.

    • 1990 - The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing "all necessary means," including military force, against Iraq if it didn't withdraw from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991.

    • 2017 - NBC fired Matt Lauer as host of the Today show after the network received a complaint accusing him of "inappropriate sexual behavior." 

    Policy News

    Utah Inland Port Authority advances search for executive director, interim administrator and legal counsel
    The Utah Inland Port Authority Board advanced its search for an interim administrator as well as received an update on the national search for a full-time executive director....
    images/Logos/New-GOED-Logo.pngBoeing grants Utah STEM Foundation $75K to launch 'Utah STEM Collective Impact' study
    Boeing has announced that it is granting the Utah STEM Foundation $75,000 to support the Utah STEM Action Center in launching the "Utah STEM Collective Impact" study....

    More National Headlines

    Trump threatens to declassify Russia docs to counterpunch Dems (The Hill)

    Former AG Gonzales: 'I Have a Problem' With Mueller Team If 'Perjury Traps' Are Being Set (FOX News)

    John Kerry on running for president in 2020: 'I'm going to think about it' (CNN)

    Bernie Sanders not stepping into Senate Energy void as liberals fear Manchin (Politico)

    Trump may finally be undermining Obamacare (Politico)

    Trump insists he has a good relationship with critic Cuomo (New York Post)

    Stormy Daniels: Michael Avenatti Sued Trump For Defamation Against My Wishes (Daily Beast)

    Pence casts tie-breaking vote to advance controversial Trump judicial pick (The Hill)

    Democrats overwhelmingly nominate Pelosi as Speaker amid rebellion (The Hill)

    Google CEO to appear before Congress where he will likely face questions from Republicans on political bias (CNN)

    G.M., Not Trump, Is the Real Villain to Some Ohio Factory Workers (New York Times)

    Wise Words


    "What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us." Henry David Thoreau


    Lighter Side

    Political Identity

    A liberal is a conservative who's been arrested. A conservative is a liberal who's been mugged. One Line Fun


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