Morning must reads for Friday, May 12, 2017

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 132nd day of the year. There are 233 days remaining in 2017. Today is the 113th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Donald Trump changes his story about James Comey. Jeff Sessions wants tougher penalties for drug offenders. Mike Lee suggests Merrick Garland should be the next head of the FBI.

The clock:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 1,271 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Sen. Mike Lee floats former Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland as a possible replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey [Utah Policy].
  • Bob Bernick argues that the Utah GOP is making moves to marginalize Democrats in Salt Lake County even further [Utah Policy]. 
  • Get smart fast! Understand what happened during the last week in Utah politics with our week-in-review [Utah Policy].
  • Whiplash! President Donald Trump contradicts the official White House explanation for firing FBI Director James Comey, saying he was going to terminate Comey no matter what the Justice Department recommended [Politico].
  • President Donald Trump reportedly asked James Comey for his loyalty at a private dinner shortly after Trump took office. Comey only pledged “honesty” to the president, which likely led to his ouster [New York Times].
  • Our divided country. Trump’s most ardent supporters say the president is being held to an unfair standard by Democrats and the political left [New York Times].
  • This whole Comey affair means Trump has picked a fight with the FBI, which could easily escalate [Vanity Fair].
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions issues orders to federal prosecutors to charge defendants with the most serious charge they can prove, which reverses an Obama-era policy that was designed to avoid triggering mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related charges [Washington Post].
  • House and Senate Republicans plan to begin working on a budget in the next month that will balance within a decade, which means drastic cuts to domestic programs and entitlement reform [Axios].
  • President Donald Trump signed an executive order creating a commission to probe his unfounded allegations of voter fraud during the 2016 election [Politico]. 
  • The LDS Church announces they’re nixing Boy Scouts for older teenagers. Instead, they’ll create their own programs for boys age 14 through 17 [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The State Records Committee voted to keep Salt Lake City’s deliberations over picking sites for new homeless shelters away from public view [Tribune].
  • A judge will decide whether the Mountain Accord group is subject to Utah open meetings laws [Tribune].
  • Stephen Cope is not your traditional candidate for Mayor of Provo. The 27-year-old identifies as gender non-binary, plus Cope is likely the first LGBT candidate for that office [Tribune].

On this day in history:

  • 1932 – The body of the kidnapped son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was found in a wooded area of Hopewell, N.J.
  • 1937 – Britain’s King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
  • 1949 – The Soviet Union announced an end to the Berlin blockade.
  • 2002 – Former President Jimmy Carter began a visit to Cuba. He was the first president, in or out of office, to visit the island since communists took over in 1959.