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Situational awareness - November 30, 2018

Good morning from Salt Lake City and TGIF!

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. Follow our social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook.

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: Republican hardliners want to make it easier to boot party leaders from office. Cohen says Trump pursued a real estate in Russia after he won the GOP nomination. Democrats back away from a floor fight over DACA.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Today At Utah Policy

    images/Logos/GOP_Logo_04.pngUtah GOP hardliners propose rule change to make it easier to boot party leaders from office

    In a move that's seemingly targeted at Utah GOP chairman Rob Anderson, a group of hardliners on the State Central Committee is pushing a change to the party's governing documents that would make it easier for that body to remove a party officer from their post....
    images/Resized_Logos/Bernick_and_Schott_on_Politics_480.jpgNe'er the twain shall meet - Bernick and Schott on politics Ep. 399

    Mia Love heads for the door, but not before she rains hellfire down on Trump, Ben McAdams, the GOP and the media....
    images/mugs/bernick-mug.jpgBob Bernick's notebook: News and notes

     Several items of note this week:...
    images/Shutterstock_Mugshots/Mitt_Romney_07.jpgPoll: Utah Mormons want Romney to stand up to Trump

    A new poll from the Associated Press finds 64% of Utahns want newly elected Sen. Mitt Romney to take a confrontational stance against President Trump. ...
    images/Shutterstock_Logos/Bernick_Schott_Podcast_05_small.jpgPodcast: Bernick and Schott on politics Ep. 399

    Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott give you the rundown on a bonkers week in Utah politics. ...
    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

    Gov. Gary Herbert fires back in Utah County lawsuit over transit board nominees

    Paul Ryan says Mitt Romney could be GOP 'standard-bearer'; Utah voters want him to stand up to Trump

    Herriman mayor accused of misspending nearly $1,000 of city funds

    'We know how to do this': Here's who would pick up the tab for Salt Lake City's next Winter Games bid

    Hatch, Lee introduce resolution to rename North Ogden V.A. center after fallen soldier/mayor

    Salt Lake Tribune

    Editorial: When it comes to opioid dollars, doctors must heal themselves

    3 ideas picked for $1M challenge to boost Utahns' income: Renting out extra space, a transportation app and a 'strike force' for coal country

    State lawyers argue Utah County, not Gov. Herbert, violated law about appointing new UTA board nominees

    A report says Utah's rate of uninsured children went up last year, but advocates say Medicaid expansion will bring it back down

    Hatch, Lee introduce bill to name North Ogden V.A. center after fallen Utah soldier

    Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. John Curtis want U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen to end

    Jenny Wilson, just off the Senate campaign trail, will run for Salt Lake County Mayor


    • Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's longtime fixer, plead guilty to lying to Congress on Thursday. He also revealed that President Trump was involved in a potential business deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow after he secured the GOP nomination in 2016. The discussions about the real estate deal in Russia took place at the same time that then-candidate Trump was publicly pressing for improving relations between the U.S. and Russia and while Russian intelligence groups were conducting an influence campaign aimed at helping Trump win the 2016 election - https://nyti.ms/2FPP9qu 

    • Cohen's plea deal with Mueller came together quickly over the last two weeks - http://bit.ly/2FMDAAj

    • President Trump tweeted on Friday morning that his potential business dealings in Moscow even after he had secured the GOP nomination were "very legal & very cool" - http://bit.ly/2FQFmk8

    • Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into the role played by the president's children in the efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow - https://yhoo.it/2FP0VS1

    • President Trump lashed out at Cohen, calling him a "weak person" following his plea deal - https://politi.co/2FRk6e2

    • President Trump's lawyers say his written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller about the Moscow real estate deal match what Michael Cohen said in his Thursday plea agreement - https://nyti.ms/2FPENXQ

    • The Trump Organization planned to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a $50 million penthouse at Trump Tower Moscow once the deal was completed - http://bit.ly/2FN26Sc 

    • President Trump canceled his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at this weekend's G20 summit on Thursday. The White House cited the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine as the reason for the cancellation - https://wapo.st/2FLaAZQ 

    • President Trump signed his new NAFTA deal with Canada and Mexico on Friday - https://bloom.bg/2FRuO4p

    • Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, asked the company's communications staff to research whether billionaire George Soros stood to benefit financially from criticizing the company - https://nyti.ms/2FQDoQM 

    • Republicans in the U.S. Senate are furious with Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake's maneuver to block the confirmation of President Trump's judicial nominees until his bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from interference by the White House is brought to the floor for a vote - https://politi.co/2FRzqY5 

    • Democrats in Congress are backing away from a possible floor fight over protections for immigrants who came to the country illegally when they were children - http://bit.ly/2FLbXHY

    • Former FBI Director James Comey is fighting a subpoena demanding he testify before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees next week - https://wapo.st/2FYSCU2 

    • The Veterans Affairs Department tells Congress they won't reimburse veterans who were paid less than they were owed for GI Bill benefits due to computer issues - https://nbcnews.to/2FNcMA4 

    • Far-right activist Laura Loomer handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter's New York City headquarters on Thursday to protest the social media company suspending her account. The whole episode was rather ridiculous - https://thebea.st/2FMTv1L

    • Ukraine has barred entry to their country to all Russian males between the age of 16 and 60 in the latest development in the growing conflict between the two countries - http://bit.ly/2FQTnOS

    • Worth your time: CNN investigates how police departments around the country have destroyed hundreds of rape kits before the statute of limitations on the cases expired - https://cnn.it/2FOCB2B 

    • Marriott disclosed a massive data breach on Friday morning. The personal data of up to 500 million guests may have been compromised - https://wapo.st/2FRB6AR

    • Measles cases around the globe skyrocketed by 31% between 2016 and 2017 - https://cnn.it/2FYSwMa

    • The number of insects in the world has declined dramatically, and it could have major implications for human life on Earth - https://nyti.ms/2FR7S51


    • 1782 - In Paris, representatives from the United States and Great Britain sign preliminary peace articles ending the Revolutionary War.

    • 1803 - In New Orleans, Spanish representatives officially transfer the Louisiana Territory to a French representative. Just 20 days later, France transfers the same land to the United States as the Louisiana Purchase.

    • 1804 - The U.S. Senate begins an impeachment trial of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase.

    • 1954 - In Sylacauga, Alabama, the Hodges meteorite crashes through a roof and hits a woman taking an afternoon nap. The space rock weighed 8.5 pounds and measured 7 inches in length.

    • 1979 - Pink Floyd's rock opera, The Wall is released.

    • 1982 - Michael Jackson's sixth solo studio album, Thriller, is released worldwide. It will become the best-selling album in history.

    • 1988 - The Soviet Union stopped jamming broadcasts of Radio Free Europe for the first time in 30 years.

    Policy News

    Casual Friday: Weekend Events & Outdoors Report
    Weekend EventOutdoors Report--Tribune: He was there when Snowbird first took flight and helped it through lean times - recently retired Bob Bonar looks back at nearly a half-century at this iconic Utah resort--Tribune: Salt Lake County announces plans for a new Jordan River ...
    Pell grant volume at Utah's public colleges and universities exceeds $222 million
    Pell grant volume at Utah's public colleges and universities has exceeded $222 million for the 2017-18 award year an increase of 16 percent compared to the 2016-17 award year. Nearly one in three of the 184,000 students who attend Utah's public higher education institutions...
    images/Resized_Logos/Fox_Files_Logo.pngFox files: Thankful for - and learning from - others
    I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed spending time with loved ones. I enjoyed relaxing and recharging my batteries and reflecting on the many things I have to be grateful for, not the least of which are a job I love, a team I treasure, and the best partne...
    images/Logos/EDCUtah_454X417.pngUtah Film Commission launches grant program to support local talent
    The Utah Film Commission launched the Next Level Grant Program which provides funding and footing for local directors and producers....

    More National Headlines

    CNN fires commentator Marc Lamont Hill after he called for eliminating Israel, endorsed violent 'resistance' (Washington Examiner)

    Ex-Trump Official Anton: Mueller Hasn't Indicted Anyone for Collusion After 18 Months (FOX News)

    After loss, Rep. Barbara Lee wonders when black women get a seat in Democratic leadership (Washington Post)

    Twitter tumbles on fear of conservative backlash (Reuters)

    New Hampshire Democrats invite rising star Beto O'Rourke to the crucial presidential primary state (CNBC)

    Facebook Considered Charging for Access to User Data (Wall Street Journal)

    Obama official helped prepare dire National Climate Assessment (Washington Times)

    Stormy Daniels' 'Gay Dads' Back Lawyer Michael Avenatti in Latest Drama (Daily Beast)

    Ryan casts doubt on 'bizarre' California election results (The Hill)

    California Democratic Party leader Eric Bauman to resign after accusations of sexual misconduct (Los Angeles Times)

    Falling Oil Prices May Make Trump Happy but They Pose Risks for U.S. (New York Times)

    Wise Words

    Sure Investment

    "Goodness is the only investment that never fails." Henry David Thoreau


    Lighter Side


    What's the difference between a politician and a flying pig? The letter F. One Line Fun


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