Morning must reads for Friday, May 19, 2017

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 139th day of the year. There are 226 days remaining in 2017. Today is the 120th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Utahns mostly disapprove of President Trump’s firing of James Comey. Rep. Jason Chaffetz announces he’s leaving Congress in June. Trump lashes out at the Russia investigation.

The clock:

  • The Utah Republican State Convention is tomorrow (5/20/2017)

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

  • 88 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)

  • 172 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)

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

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

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

  • 1,264 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • NEW POLL: 46% of Utahns say they disapprove of President Trump’s move to fire FBI Director James Comey. 37% say they approve of the firing [Utah Policy].
  • Keep up with all of the news from a tumultuous week in politics with our week-in-review rundown [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he will resign from Congress on June 30 [Utah Policy, Deseret News, KUTV, Fox 13, Tribune].
  • Chaffetz’s resignation sets up a fight between Gov. Gary Herbert and legislative Republicans over the rules governing the special election to replace him. Lawmakers have threatened to sue the governor over the issue, but Herbert looks like he won’t back down [KUTV].
  • More than a half dozen candidates have already made moves to jump into the race to replace Chaffetz [KUTV].
  • House Republicans want Chaffetz to give up the gavel of the Oversight Committee before he steps down from Congress. That may be difficult as Chaffetz looks to be taking a central role in the investigation into Russia and the 2016 election [Politico].
  • Former FBI Director James Comey says he was unsettled by many interactions with President Donald Trump in the days after he took office. An acquaintance of Comey, Benjamin Wittes, says Comey tried to keep a distance between himself and the White House, but Trump would not respect those boundaries [New York Times]. Wittes published his own account of what Comey told him [Lawfare].
  • President Donald Trump angrily lashes out at the Russia investigation, calling the probe a “witch hunt” against him [Washington Post].
  • What?!! President Donald Trump has remained in contact with former national security adviser Michael Flynn even after he was fired from the post. Trump also reportedly wants Flynn to rejoin his administration if he is cleared by the FBI investigation into his dealings with Russia and Turkey [Daily Beast].
  • Former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman has emerged as the top candidate to replace Comey as the head of the FBI [Wall Street Journal].
  • President Donald Trump sets off on his first foreign trip on Friday. Here’s what to watch for on his maiden voyage abroad as president [Politico].
  • Vice President Mike Pence is nowhere to be found these days. The distance his team is putting between Pence and the Trump White House is remarkable [CNN].
  • President Donald Trump‘s budget proposal seeks big cuts in social safety net programs to balance the budget in 10 years [Wall Street Journal]. The plan may also include money to give mothers and fathers six weeks of paid family leave after the birth or adoption of a child [Washington Post].
  • The House fight over repealing Obamacare may not be over. The House may have to redo the bill if it doesn’t comply with certain budget rules [Bloomberg].
  • The FBI once warned California Rep. Dana Rohrbacher that Russian spies were trying to recruit him. Rohrbacher is one of Russia’s biggest defenders in Congress [New York Times].
  • House leaders in Congress are reeling that a recording of a secret meeting was shared with the media, and they fear more may be out there. Leaders say the most likely source of the leak is former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin who was an aide to leadership at the time [Axios].
  • Rep. Kim Coleman is proposing legislation to require Utah colleges to give immunity to sexual assault victims for any conduct code violations related to alcohol and drugs, but some victim-advocacy groups say the proposal won’t do much to protect victims [Associated Press].
  • Salt Lake County leaders have determined which populations will be housed at the new homeless resource centers around the valley [Fox 13, KUTV].

On this day in history:

  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England’s King Henry VIII, was beheaded after being convicted of adultery.
  • 1588 – The Spanish Armada, assembled to invade England, set sail from Lisbon.
  • 1962 – Actress Marilyn Monroe performed a sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday” for President John F. Kennedy during a fundraiser at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
  • 1992 – The 27th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits Congress from giving itself midterm pay raises, went into effect.