Morning must reads for Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 143rd day of the year. There are 222 days remaining in 2017. Today is the 124th day of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Utahns want an independent investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election. Ryan Zinke reportedly will recommend rolling back Bears Ears. Michael Flynn allegedly lied about his contacts to Russia when applying for a security clearance.

The clock:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 1,260 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • NEW POLL: 59% of Utahns say they want an independent investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. 12% say Congress should lead the probe while 23% said there’s no need for an investigation [Utah Policy].
  • House Speaker Greg Hughes says he does not expect the legislature to file a lawsuit against Gov. Gary Herbert over the rules for a special election to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz, but he does expect significant pushback during the 2018 session [Utah Policy].
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reportedly told Utah officials he will recommend that President Trump rescind the Bears Ears National Monument [Utah Policy].
  • LaVarr Webb offers a personal perspective on the immigration question [Utah Policy].
  • The death toll from a suicide bombing following a concert in Manchester, England has risen to 22 with 59 injuries [BBC]. President Trump called the perpetrators of the attack “losers” and emphasized his commitment to push back against terrorism [CNN].
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz postpones a Wednesday hearing after speaking privately with fired FBI Director James Comey [Politico].
  • Former national security adviser Mike Flynn reportedly lied about his ties to companies in Russia when he applied for a renewal of his top-secret security clearance last year [New York Times]. Flynn is also refusing to cooperate with a congressional subpoena, invoking his constitutional right against self-incrimination [Wall Street Journal].
  • President Trump asked two top-ranking intelligence officials to help him push back against allegations of possible coordination between his campaign and Russia [Washington Post].
  • President Trump is reportedly close to choosing outside counsel to handle the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump‘s “taxpayer first” budget includes $4.5 trillion in spending cuts, including big reductions in Medicaid, food stamps, and student loans [Washington Post, Axios, Wall Street Journal]. The budget plan also includes selling off half of the nation’s strategic oil reserve to pay down the debt [Bloomberg].
  • The Supreme Court ruled two North Carolina congressional districts were drawn unconstitutionally when lawmakers “packed” an inordinate number of minority voters into the two districts [Politico].
  • Drain the swamp? The White House moves to block an ethics inquiry into former lobbyists who have been given waivers to work at the White House [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump‘s job approval rating has dropped to 45% in a new survey. His average job approval in all polls is a paltry 39.6% [The Hill].
  • A group of disaffected Republicans and Democrats launch a new centrist political party in Utah [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Tanner Ainge, the son of former NBA star and current NBA executive Danny Ainge, jumps into the race to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz in Utah’s 3rd District [Tribune].
  • Here’s a look at how President Donald Trump‘s proposed changes to NAFTA could affect Utah [Deseret News].
  • The arrest rates for undocumented immigrants without a criminal history has jumped significantly in four western states, including Utah [Tribune].
  • Salt Lake City Library officials vote to eliminate overdue fines, but they’re also asking for a big property tax hike [Deseret News].

On this day in history:

  • 1788 – South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
  • 1934 – Bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were shot to death in a police ambush in Bienville Parish, La.
  • 1949 – The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was established.
  • 2013 – The Boy Scouts of America ended a century-old ban on openly gay scouts but still prohibited gay adult scout leaders.