Morning must reads for Friday, July 21, 2017

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 202nd day of the year. There are 163 days remaining in 2017.

Sen. Mike Lee is pushing back against conservatives who blame him for the GOP health care bill’s failure. Gary Ott’s family reaches a deal for him to retire from office in August. Donald Trump’s legal team is looking for ways to undercut the special counsel investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.

The clock:

  • 4 days until ballots for the August primary are mailed to voters (7/25/2017)
  • 25 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 109 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 185 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 230 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 473 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,201 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott help you understand what happened this week in Utah politics and why with our video week-in-review [Utah Policy]. Here’s a podcast version of the discussion [Utah Policy].
  • Bob Bernick argues the unprecedented number of ballot initiatives Utahns will vote on in 2018 is a good sign for the state [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Mike Lee is fighting back against those who say his abandonment of the Senate GOP health care bill essentially “saved Obamacare” [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Mike Lee says he would be able to support the GOP health care bill if it included his amendment allowing insurance companies to sell policies that don’t comply with federal guidelines as long as they sell plans that do [Utah Policy].
  • The family of Gary Ott has reached a deal with Salt Lake County to have him step down as Recorder on August 1st. Ott will receive a cash payout to help with his care as part of the deal [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The group pushing to create an independent redistricting commission officially launch their effort to bring the issue to voters on the 2018 ballot [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Sen. Mike Lee is pushing back against a renewed effort by the Trump Justice Department to seize cash and personal property from people suspected of committing crimes [Tribune].
  • Sen. Jim Dabakis says the state should reconsider Medicaid expansion following the failure of the GOP health care plan [Deseret News].
  • You’re not imagining things. The number of fires in Utah increased after aerial fireworks became legal in July [KSL].
  • Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams‘ informal survey finds about 66% of residents support banning fireworks [Fox 13].
  • Experts warn development at the Point of the Mountain area could get out of hand without careful planning [Deseret News, Tribune, Daily Herald].
  • The Ute tribe pulls out of Gov. Gary Herbert‘s Native American summit until the state treats them as a sovereign government [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • President Donald Trump‘s legal team is looking at ways to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Mueller has reportedly expanded his probe to include Trump’s financial involvement with Russia [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump has reportedly asked his advisers and legal team about his power to pardon associates, members of his family and even himself as Mueller’s investigation is expanding to include Trump’s business dealings [Washington Post].
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort is under investigation for possible money laundering involving Russia [Wall Street Journal].
  • Two members of Trump’s legal team, Marc Kasowitz, and Kasowitz’s spokesperson Mark Corallo have resigned [CBS News].
  • Conservatives are warning Republicans that their base could abandon the party in the 2018 midterm elections because of their failure to repeal Obamacare [Roll Call].
  • Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci is reportedly under consideration to head up the White House communications team [Politico].
  • A new poll shows 68% of Americans are worried about a possible war with North Korea [Fox News].
  • Tour operators say the Trump administration is set to ban U.S. citizens from traveling to North Korea [Reuters].

On this day in history:

  • 1861 – The first Battle of Bull Run was fought at Manassas, Va. during the Civil War, resulting in a Confederate victory.
  • 1925 – The Scopes “monkey trial” ended in Dayton, Tenn., with John T. Scopes convicted of violating state law for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution. (The conviction was later overturned.)
  • 1949 – The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.
  • 1961 – Capt. Virgin “Gus” Grissom became the second American to rocket into a sub-orbital pattern around the Earth, flying on the Liberty Bell 7.