Morning Must Reads for Monday, December 12, 2016

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 347th day of the year. There are 19 days remaining in 2016.

U.S. intelligence agencies say they have evidence Russia tried to influence the election in favor of Donald Trump. Trump appears set to nominate Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State. China is worried Trump will dump the “One China” policy.

The clock:

  • Seven days until the Electoral College meets to cast their votes for president and vice president (12/19/2016)
  • 39 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President (1/20/2017)
  • 42 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 87 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 330 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 694 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)

Ten talking points for Monday:

  1. Our “Political Insiders” say Donald Trump should not quit Twitter, but for varying reasons [Utah Policy].
  2. U.S. intelligence agencies say they have high confidence Russia intervened in the presidential election to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton [New York Times]. Trump scoffed at the allegations saying it’s “ridiculous” to think Russia had a hand in his victory in November [The Hill]. A bipartisan group of Senators says Congress should investigate the claims of Russian election hacking [Washington Post]. Weirdly, John Bolton, who could be named deputy secretary of state, says the story about Russian involvement in the election could be a “false flag” operation. That suggests the Obama administration might actually be behind the hacking [CBS News].
  3. Donald Trump appears set to pick Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who has deep ties to Vladimir Putin, for secretary of state [Wall Street Journal]. It seems highly unlikely that Tillerson would win confirmation in the Senate as several Republican senators are practically begging Trump to pick someone else [Wall Street Journal]. The author of a book about Rex Tillerson describes what makes him tick [New Yorker]. 
  4. Donald Trump says he doesn’t need daily intelligence briefings because “You know, I’m, like a smart person” [Politico].
  5. Poking the dragon. Chinese officials are “seriously concerned” that Donald Trump could abandon the long-held U.S. position that Taiwan is a part of China [Bloomberg].
  6. Donald Trump plans to nominate retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security [The Hill].
  7. Stats savant Nate Silver tweeted on Sunday that Hillary Clinton would likely have won the November election had FBI Director James Comey not sent his infamous letter to Congress about the investigation into her use of a private email server [The Hill].
  8. A new analysis finds eight out of nine Utah legislators are members of the LDS Church, while the overall population of Utah is just 63% Mormon [Tribune].
  9. Democrat Suzanne Harrison says she will not pursue legal action in her narrow five-vote loss to Rep. LaVar Christensen [Utah Policy, Tribune, Deseret News].
  10. Rep. Craig Hall is planning legislation to do away with the vote-by-mail because it left many counties unprepared to handle a glut of voters on election day [Tribune].

On this day in history:

  •  1870 – Joseph Hayne Rainey of South Carolina was sworn in as the first African-American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • 1901 – Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi sent the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1981 – Martial law was imposed in Poland.
  • 2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court halted the presidential recount in Florida, effectively making Republican George W. Bush the winner.