Ten Things You Need to Know for Thursday – July 7, 2016

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 189th day of the year. There are 177 days left in 2016.

The law firm helping Utah in the bid to take control of public lands may have used taxpayer money to pay for luxury travel. Rep. Jason Chaffetz will question FBI director James Comey on Thursday. Trump steps up his fundraising game.

The clock:

  • 11 days to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland (7/18/2016)
  • 18 days to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (7/25/2016)
  • 124 days until the 2016 presidential election – (11/8/2016)
  • 200 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature – (1/23/2017)
  • 245 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature – (3/9/2017)

Ten talking points for Thursday:

  1. A plurality of Utahns say the U.S. Senate should act now and confirm Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. About a third say, if Hillary Clinton wins in November, she should be allowed to pick a new nominee [Utah Policy].
  2. Rep. Jason Chaffetz will grill FBI director James Comey on Thursday over the decision to not file charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State [Utah Policy, Deseret News]. Meanwhile the Justice Department announced they would accept Comey’s recommendation and considers the Clinton email case closed [New York Times].
  3. The law firm hired by the Utah Legislature to help the state in their bid to take control of public lands within the state allegedly used taxpayer money for luxury travel and upscale hotels according to a letter sent to lawmakers by an activist group opposed to Utah’s efforts [Tribune].
  4. President Barack Obama announces 3,000 more troops than originally planned will remain in Afghanistan, bringing the total left in the country at the end of his term to 8,400 [CNN].
  5. Doesn’t anyone want to be Donald Trump‘s running mate? Both Sens. Joni Ernst and Bob Corker take their names out of the running to be Trump’s VP pick [Talking Points Memo].
  6. Donald Trump steps up his fundraising game, announcing he has raised $26 million in June for his campaign [Bloomberg]. However, some say Trump’s fundraising claims are fishy and don’t make any sense [Talking Points Memo].
  7. Sen. Orrin Hatch is counseling Donald Trump to turn down the inflammatory rhetoric and instead focus more on policy during his stump speeches [Deseret News].
  8. It’s over for Bernie Sanders. House Democrats boo him to his face over his indecision about endorsing Hillary Clinton during a Wednesday meeting on Capitol Hill [Politico].
  9. Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, alleging the network head terminated her last month for refusing to enter into a sexual relationship with him [Yahoo].
  10. Salt Lake City leaders use a legal loophole to demolish an abandoned building in Sugarhouse that was an eyesore [Deseret News, Tribune].

On this day in history:

  • 1846 – U.S. Navy Commodore J.D. Sloat proclaimed the annexation of California by the United States.
  • 1865 – Four people convicted of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln were hanged in Washington.
  • 1898 – The United States annexed Hawaii.
  • 1930 – Construction began on Boulder Dam on the Colorado River.
  • 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor was chosen by President Ronald Reagan to become the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.