Morning must reads for Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the first day of August, the 213th day of the year. There are 152 days remaining in 2017.

Gary Herbert is the most popular elected official in Utah. An investigation shows Gary Ott was not in financial control of his office for the past three years. Donald Trump was personally responsible for his son’s untruthful response to reports he met with Russian nationals at Trump Tower.

The clock:

  • 14 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 98 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 174 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 219 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 462 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,190 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • NEW POLL: Gov. Gary Herbert is rocking a 64% approval rating, which makes him the most popular elected official among Utahns [Utah Policy].
  • Former GOP Chairman and current MSNBC political contributor Michael Steele says any change in the American political system must come from voters. If they want change, they’ll have to vote incumbents out of office. Listen to our exclusive interview [Utah Policy].
  • A report from State Auditor John Dougall‘s office concludes troubled Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott has not been in financial control of his office since 2014. The report also says the office may have violated nepotism laws with the hiring of Ott’s secretary Karmen Sanone, who also is either Ott’s girlfriend or fiancee [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says the GOP effort to tackle health care is over because Republicans can’t find a way forward [Tribune].
  • More than 3/4ths of Utahns want Sen. Orrin Hatch to retire after his current term in office [Tribune].
  • The group pushing for an income and sales tax hike to boost funding for public schools is revising how they’ll raise those taxes [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • A Utah Transit Authority trustee wants to look into a $10,000 donation to Sherrie Hall Everett‘s campaign for Mayor of Provo from SUNROC, which is a company with ties to one of the contractors on a bus project in that city [Deseret News].
  • More lawmakers are stepping forward with proposals to either cut back on or completely ban, fireworks [Fox 13].
  • The Granite School District is mulling a 12% property tax increase to raise teacher salaries. The district is struggling to fill 300 open positions for the upcoming school year [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • Bombshell! President Donald Trump reportedly personally dictated the response from his son, Donald Jr., about his meeting with several Russian nationals at Trump Tower during the presidential campaign. Advisors to the president wanted the response to be truthful in order to get ahead of the story, but Trump changed the response to say the meeting focused on the “adoption of Russian children,” which was later shown to be misleading [Washington Post].
  • Whiplash! Just 10 days after he was hired, new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was fired by incoming chief of staff John Kelly [New York Times].
  • After he was fired, Anthony Scaramucci was escorted off the White House grounds by security [CBS News].
  • Freefall! President Donald Trump’s approval rating has dropped below 40% in the Republican-friendly Rasmussen daily tracking poll [Rasmussen].
  • While he was still the Secretary of Homeland Security, new White House chief of staff John Kelly was angry over the way President Donald Trump handled the firing of former FBI Director James Comey [CNN].
  • President Trump has been threatening Senate Republicans on Twitter to revisit their failed effort to repeal Obamacare, but Senators are ignoring the president’s taunts [Politico].
  • A right-wing group is pushing for a congressional probe into Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz because she kept an IT staffer in her employ for months after he became the focus of a criminal investigation [Politico].
  • Hilarious! An “email prankster” duped several White House officials into thinking he was other officials, including Jared Kushner. The prankster tricked Anthony Scaramucci into thinking he was incoming Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman. He also tricked Huntsman by pretending to be Eric Trump [CNN].
  • U.S. military analysts say they’ve detected “highly unusual” submarine activity from North Korea [CNN].

 On this day in history:

  • 1790 – The first U.S. census was completed, showing a population of nearly 4 million people.
  • 1914 – Germany declared war on Russia at the onset of World War I.
  • 1966 – Charles Joseph Whitman shot and killed 14 people at the University of Texas before he was gunned down by police.
  • 1981 – The music video channel MTV made its debut.