Morning must reads for Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 95th day of the year. There are 270 days remaining in 2017.

Half of Utahns view Trump unfavorably. Congressional Republicans try to revive the effort to repeal Obamacare. Susan Rice denies leaking the names of Trump campaign officials caught up in intelligence intercepts.

The clock:

  • 45 days until the Utah Republican State Convention (5/20/2017)
  • 73 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention at Weber State University (6/17/2017)
  • 216 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 292 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 337 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 580 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,308 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR – 

  • NEW POLL: Half of Utahns have an unfavorable view of President Donald Trump. 47% view him favorably [Utah Policy].
  • Utah’s Democrats are committing political malpractice by essentially ignoring the success of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams as they plot a path forward [Utah Policy].
  • Federal prosecutors say they will not press charges against the Utah Transit Authority in an investigation into financial and ethical wrongdoing [Deseret News].
  • Utah GOP Chairman James Evans calls those who are disrupting town hall meetings held by Republican members of Congress “thugs” [Associated Press].
  • The Salt Lake City Council raises the alarm about a plan to fence off a crosswalk that leads to the Gateway area, which would effectively block homeless people from entering [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Democrat Marla Mott-Smith is prepping a challenge to Rep. Mia Love in 2018 [Daily Herald].
  • LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson has been hospitalized, but officials say he is expected to be released soon [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The U.S. Senate is hurtling toward using the “nuclear option” to confirm Neil Gorsuch by changing the rules to break a Democratic filibuster [Wall Street Journal].
  • An analysis of Neil Gorsuch‘s writing in a book and academic article shows the judge copied both the structure and language of other authors and failed to cite his sources. You’ll remember that Monica Crowley, Donald Trump‘s nominee to be the spokesperson for the National Security Council, withdrew because she plagiarized her dissertation [Politico].
  • It’s very likely that Donald Trump will finish the first third of his first year in office without a single legislative achievement [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday [New York Times]. Insiders say Trump intends to take a hard line during private discussions with Xi [Axios]. North Korea launches another ballistic missile ahead of that meeting [Associated Press]. 
  • More than half of State Department jobs remain vacant under President Donald Trump after his administration pushed out several top-level officials shortly after he took office [Huffington Post].
  • Former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice denies leaking the names of Trump campaign officials who were caught up in intelligence intercepts [Washington Post].
  • Congressional Republicans are trying to revive the effort to replace Obamacare, but aren’t finding much enthusiasm among their members [Washington Post]. Centrist Republicans in Congress are pushing back against the plan [The Hill].
  • Boring but important. The Trump White House is working to keep Chinese investors from buying Westinghouse Electric’s nuclear business because they’re worried it could expose nuclear secrets [Bloomberg].
  • Immigration arrests along the Mexican border have dropped to the lowest level in nearly two decades [Associated Press].
  • A new study says women in Utah earn, on average, 29-percent less than men [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Rocky Mountain Power unveils a new 20-year plan to increase production of wind and solar power [Deseret News, Tribune].

On this day in history:

  • 1614 – Pocahontas, daughter of the leader of the Powhatan tribe, married English colonist John Rolfe in Virginia.
  • 1792 – George Washington cast the first presidential veto, rejecting a congressional measure for apportioning representatives among the states.
  • 1887 – In Tuscumbia, Ala., teacher Anne Sullivan taught her blind and deaf pupil, Helen Keller, the meaning of the word “water” as spelled out in the manual alphabet.
  • 1951 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for conspiring to commit espionage for the Soviet Union.