Morning must reads for Thursday, April 20, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 110th day of the year. There are 255 days remaining in 2017.

Chaffetz shocks the political world. Congress is racing to avoid a government shutdown. Fox News fires Bill O’Reilly.

The clock:

  • 30 days until the Utah Republican State Convention (5/20/2017)
  • 58 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention at Weber State University (6/17/2017)
  • 201 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)
  • 277 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 322 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 565 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,293 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR – 

  • As you probably know by now, Rep. Jason Chaffetz shocked the political world by announcing he would not run for re-election to Congress in 2018 [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Why is Chaffetz leaving Washington? There is lots of speculation:
    • The easiest answer is he’s readying a run for Utah Governor in 2020 or even a U.S. Senate bid next year [Utah Policy].
    • There’s a crazy rumor circulating that Chaffetz might be headed to Fox News Channel in the wake of the Bill O’Reilly ouster [Utah Policy].
    • There’s one curious tidbit. Just two weeks before Chaffetz announced he would not be returning to Congress, his campaign arm purchased two domain names that suggest he may be eyeing a run for president in 2028 [Utah Policy].
  • Utah Republicans were obviously shocked by Chaffetz’s decision, while Democrats see an opportunity [Deseret News].
  • Now that Chaffetz is out, potential replacements are scrambling to position themselves to run for the suddenly vacant seat [Tribune].
  • Chaffetz’s decision not to run in 2018 effectively kneecaps Democrat Kathryn Allen, who was raising big money primarily because of Chaffetz’s gaffes. With him out of the race, attention will shift away from her [Utah Policy].
  • Utah’s Democrats may move further to the left as candidates to lead the party are aligning themselves with progressive hero Bernie Sanders [Deseret News].
  • A new report says Trump administration policies are unlikely to bring coal mining jobs back to Utah [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A new report says Salt Lake City and Logan are two of the most polluted cities in America [Deseret News].
  • The government will shut down in 8 days unless Congressional leaders can find a compromise on a spending bill. There are a few roadblocks on the path to avoid a shutdown [Politico].
  • The White House is signaling they may take a harder line on talks to prevent a government shutdown to secure some legislative victories [Politico].
  • Trump campaign adviser Carter Page‘s visit to Moscow during the summer of 2016 is one of the main reasons the FBI decided to start probing connections between the Trump campaign and Russia [New York Times].
  • A Russian government think tank controlled by Vladimir Putin was behind a plan to influence the 2016 U.S. election for Donald Trump [Reuters].
  • Tax reform, the next target for Republicans in Congress, is starting to slip away. Some prominent conservatives want President Donald Trump to go for a simple tax cut instead of a complete overhaul [The Hill].
  • Fox News parts ways with Bill O’Reilly after a string of sexual harassment claims [Politico].
    • Here’s a timeline of how Fox News came to the decision to fire their most popular host [Axios].
    • Fox News executives are fearful more women will come forward with accusations about the ousted television star [Vanity Fair].
  • The Trump White House is defending their misstatement that an American aircraft carrier was steaming toward North Korea last week when, in reality, it was thousands of miles away [Washington Post].

On this day in history:

  • 1902 – Scientists Marie and Pierre Curie isolated the radioactive element radium.
  • 1971 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of busing to achieve racial desegregation in schools.
  • 1980 – The first Cubans sailing to the United States as part of the massive Mariel boatlift reached Florida.
  • 1999 – Two students went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 students and one teacher before taking their own lives.
  • 2010 – An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, leased by BP, killed 11 workers and began spewing an estimated 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months.