Morning must reads for Thursday, May 11, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 131st day of the year. There are 234 days remaining in 2017. Today is the 112th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Nearly 1/4 of Utahns say they’ve never heard of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox. Chaffetz wants the Justice Department to investigate James Comey’s firing. Comey was reportedly accellerating his probe into Russian election hacking when he was fired.

The clock:

  • 9 days until the Utah Republican State Convention (5/20/2017)

  • 37 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention at Weber State University (6/17/2017)

  • 180 days until the 2017 municipal elections (11/7/2017)

  • 256 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)

  • 301 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)

  • 544 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)

  • 1,272 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • NEW POLL: Democrats and independent voters give Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox higher favorability ratings than members of his own party. However, more than 1/4 of Utah voters have no idea who he is [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz wants the Justice Department to investigate the circumstance surrounding the firing of FBI Director James Comey [Utah Policy].
  • A new report gives Utah a failing grade when it comes to electing women to political office [Utah Policy].
  • Why did President Donald Trump fire FBI Director James Comey? Multiple reports say he was growing frustrated that Comey was continuing to investigate Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election instead of probing who was leaking classified information to the press [Politico, Washington Post, New York Times, CNN].
  • Drip, drip, drip. James Comey was reportedly accelerating his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which included daily briefings about the investigation. Comey also asked for more resources for the probe in the days before he was fired [Wall Street Journal].
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed documents from former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn as part of their probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election [USA Today].
  • The fallout from the Comey firing could put the brakes on Trump’s legislative agenda [Associated Press].
  • A new poll gives President Donald Trump near historic negative approval ratings. Only 36% of Americans approve of the president while 58% disapprove. Trump is also losing support among white voters with no college degree, white men and independent voters [Quinnipiac].
  • Donald Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July [CNN].
  • Graduating seniors at Bethune-Cookman University rain boos down on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos during their graduation ceremony [Politico].
  • Fox News has paid out $45 million so far to settle sexual harassment cases brought against the outlet [CNN].
  • Boring but important. Aetna says it will pull out of Affordable Care Act exchanges next year [Wall Street Journal].
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wraps up his tour of Utah public lands [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Members of Utah’s congressional delegation say there’s really no way to avoid politics in the fallout of President Donald Trump‘s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey [Deseret News].
  • Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski‘s administration is fighting to keep the records of deliberations on choosing a new homeless shelter secret [Tribune].
  • Officials are preparing to start moving homeless Utahns out of the downtown Road Home shelter in preparation for three new homeless shelters in Salt Lake County [Deseret News].
  • Envision Utah released their first report about what residents want from development around the Point of the Mountain [Utah Policy, Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The University of Utah plans to hire an auditor to examine the financial relationship between the school and the Huntsman Cancer Institute [Deseret News].
  • A new report says tourism in Utah is growing at a record pace [Deseret News].

On this day in history:

  • 1858 – Minnesota became the 32nd state.
  • 1894 – Workers at the Pullman Palace Car Co. in Illinois went on strike. (The job action spread and crippled railroad service nationwide before the federal government intervened to end the strike in July.)
  • 1910 – Glacier National Park in Montana was created by an act of Congress.
  • 2009 – Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was fired and replaced by Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal resigned a year later following a damning article in Rolling Stone.