Morning must reads for Thursday, July 20, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 201st day of the year. There are 164 days remaining in 2017.

Who are Utah’s most conservative and liberal legislators? Gary Ott’s aides tried to fake emails to make it look like they came from him. Donald Trump bashes Attorney General Jeff Sessions and threatens special counsel Robert Mueller.

The clock:

  • 5 days until ballots for the August primary are mailed to voters (7/25/2017)
  • 26 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 110 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 186 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 231 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 474 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,202 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • An analysis of voting during the 2017 session says Sen. Jim Dabakis and Rep. Angela Romero are the most liberal members of the Utah Legislature, while Sen. Wayne Harper and Rep. Dan McCay are the most conservative [Utah Policy].
  • Rep. Mia Love‘s fundraising machine keeps humming along. The two-term Republican pulled in more than $430,000 last quarter. However, she also spent more than $400,000 in the last quarter, mostly due to fundraising costs [Utah Policy].
  • President Donald Trump is reportedly putting pressure on Sen. Mike Lee over his opposition to the GOP health care bill [Utah Policy].
  • Shocking! Top aides in the office of troubled Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott took steps to make it look like he was the author of emails, not them, about the office according to documents obtained through an open records request. Julie Dole and Karmen Sanone have been accused of covering up Ott’s condition so that they can keep their high-paying jobs in the recorder’s office [Tribune, Deseret News].
  • Jon Huntsman‘s confirmation path to becoming ambassador to Russia could be a bruising one as he’ll likely face tough questions over the Trump administration’s attitude toward that country [Deseret News].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert highlights the newly completed 50-year plan to manage Utah’s water resources [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A Utah Transit Authority study says if Utah’s economy would get a boost if the government did more to promote transit and other transportation alternatives like biking and walking [Tribune].
  • South Jordan mayoral candidate Rich Cunningham floats a city-owned bus line that would be outside of the Utah Transit Authority [Tribune].
  • LaVarr Webb remembers the days when the grassroots of the Utah Republican Party was much more mainstream than it is today [Utah Policy].

National headlines:

  • President Donald Trump gives a long interview to the New York Times in which he:
    • Slams Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying he would not have given him the job if he knew Sessions would recuse himself in the Russia investigation.
    • Threatened special counsel Robert Mueller who is investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election saying he would take action against Mueller if he started probing his family finances.
    • Alleged FBI Director James Comey was trying to gain leverage over him through a dossier containing salacious allegations against Trump that came from a former British spy.
  • Arizona Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with a brain tumor following surgery to remove a blood clot from above his eye. The lawmaker has glioblastoma, a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer. It’s the same type of cancer that killed Ted Kennedy and Beau Biden [Arizona Republic].
  • President Donald Trump is growing more frustrated with the Senate’s inability to pass a measure to repeal and replace Obamacare. He’s even threatening consequences at the ballot box for some reluctant lawmakers [Washington Post].
  • Get yer popcorn! Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort will testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee next week [Politico]. Jared Kushner will speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, but that meeting will be behind closed doors [Washington Post].
  • National security and foreign policy advisers are becoming increasingly worried about President Donald Trump‘s overtures to Russia [Associated Press].
  • Here’s a fascinating look at how the Obama administration attempted to push back against Russian election interference, going so far as to “war game” a possible Russian cyber attack on election day [Time].
  • Republicans who are working on tax reform say it will be nearly impossible to get the corporate tax rate below 25% if the reform is going to be revenue neutral [Axios].
  • Boring but important #1. Records show Paul Manafort owed pro-Russia interests as much as $17 million before he joined the Trump campaign in 2016 [New York Times].
  • Boring but important #2. Deutsche Bank is being investigated by the feds because of millions of dollars in loans made to Donald Trump‘s businesses [New York Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1861 – The Congress of the Confederate States began holding sessions in Richmond, Va.
  • 1881 – Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull surrendered to federal troops.
  • 1944 – Adolf Hitler was only slightly wounded when a bomb planted by would-be assassins exploded at the German leader’s Rastenburg headquarters.
  • 1969 – Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
  • 1976 – America’s Viking 1 robot spacecraft landed on Mars.