Morning Must Reads for Monday, December 19, 2016

Good Monday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 354th day of the year. There are 12 days remaining in 2016.

Utahns say they’re optimistic about Donald Trump’s presidency. The Electoral College meets today to make it official for Trump. Officials say they’ve found nearly zero credible evidence of voter fraud during the 2016 election.

The clock:

  • The Electoral College meets to cast their votes for president and vice president today (12/19/2016)
  • 32 days until Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President (1/20/2017)
  • 35 days until the first day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (1/23/2017)
  • 80 days until the final day of the 2017 Utah Legislature (3/9/2017)
  • 323 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 687 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)

Ten talking points for Monday:

  1. Hoping for the best. Most Utahns say they are optimistic about the coming Donald Trump administration in Washington [Utah Policy].
  2. The next step in the election. 538 people meet today as the Electoral College to confirm Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States [The Hill]. Trump is virtually assured of a win during today’s vote despite the best efforts of many to convince the electors to pick someone else instead [Wall Street Journal]. A new poll shows most Americans don’t want the Electoral College to go rouge and select someone other than Trump [Politico]. Here’s the state-by-state schedule for electoral voting. If all goes according to plan, Trump should cross the 270 vote threshold sometime around 1 pm Utah time [CBS News]. A small group of protestors rallied at the Utah State Capitol on Sunday to convince Utah’s six electors not to vote for Trump [Deseret News].
  3. What voter fraud? A new analysis finds officials in 34 states say there was only one credible allegation of voter fraud out of 137 million ballots cast during the 2016 election [New York Times].
  4. Ratcheting down the tension. China has agreed to return a U.S. owned naval drone they seized in international waters, which had raised tensions between the two countries since the incident happened late last week [New York Times]. However, China is warning that Donald Trump’s inexperience with international affairs could lead to a confrontation between the two countries [Bloomberg].
  5. Hacking latest. A bi-partisan group of Senators is continuing their call for an investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election [The Hill]. Donald Trump‘s team is seemingly backing off their skepticism of the intelligence showing Russia tried to influence the outcome [Wall Street Journal]. Former Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta says he’s convinced the Trump campaign colluded with Russian hackers during the election [Politico]. Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Peter King says the CIA should be investigated for their “hit job” on Trump [Politico].
  6. Boring but importantDonald Trump‘s son-in-law Jared Kushner said the Trump campaign struck a deal with the Sinclair Broadcast Group (which owns KUTV Channel 2 in Utah) to get more favorable for Trump during the 2016 campaign [Politico].
  7. Utah could help kill Obamacare. If Donald Trump is going to follow through on his promise to repeal Obamacare, some members of Utah’s congressional delegation will have a big part to play in that process [Deseret News].
  8. GOP lawsuit to continue. The Utah GOP will move forward with their legal crusade against SB54, but the judge overseeing the case is getting annoyed with the party continually missing deadlines and not following the rules [Tribune].
  9. Monumental implications. If President Barack Obama decides to create a new Bears Ears National Monument before he leaves office, it could mean some major changes for southern Utah [Deseret News].
  10. Air quality crackdown. The EPA says they are about to start classifying Utah’s failure to improve air quality along the Wasatch Front as “serious” [Tribune, Deseret News].

On this day in history:

  • 1777 – Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army began a winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pa.
  • 1974 – Nelson Rockefeller is sworn in as Vice President of the United States under President Gerald Ford.
  • 1998 – Bill Clinton became the second U.S. president to be impeached (Andrew Johnson was the first) by the House of Representatives, which approved articles charging him with perjury and obstruction of justice.
  • 2008 – Mark Felt, an FBI official who became known as The Washington Post journalists’ shadowy source “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal, died at the age of 95.