Morning must reads for Friday, August 4, 2017

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 216th day of the year. There are 149 days remaining in 2017.

Sarah Palin endorses Tanner Ainge. Robert Mueller impanels a grand jury in the Russia probe. Congress leaves Washington without a single major legislative accomplishment.

The clock:

  • 11 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 95 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 171 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 216 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 459 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,187 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Conspiracy theories are flying because of some ballot snafus in Utah and Wasatch Counties. Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott break down the week that was in Utah politics with our video week-in-review [Utah Policy]. Here’s a podcast of our rundown if you prefer a portable version [Utah Policy].
  • Bob Bernick still thinks Sen. Orrin Hatch is going to announce his retirement and not run for another term in Washington. He explains why [Utah Policy].
  • Sen. Mike Lee calls the leak of transcripts of President Donald Trump‘s phone calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia is unacceptable and those who are responsible should be fired [Utah Policy].
  • This week’s Beg to Differ podcast features an interview with Speaker Greg Hughes about his efforts to crack down on the crime and lawlessness surrounding the homeless population in downtown Salt Lake City [Utah Policy].
  • Jim Bennett, the 3rd District candidate for the United Utah Party, says he’s trying to make up for lost time now that he’s on November’s ballot for the special congressional election [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Republican Tanner Ainge reels in an endorsement from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Rep. Mia Love says she supports the legalization of medical marijuana [Daily Herald].
  • Gov. Gary Herbert is pushing more rural job creation, saying he thinks more needs to be done [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Paul Ray wants Utah to impose tariffs on California if it were to secede from the United States to become their own country [Tribune]. 
  • The six candidates to replace former Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder all say they would support medical marijuana if voters approve a ballot initiative next year [Tribune].
  • The state school board would like to abandon the SAGE computer testing for 9th and 10th-grade students, but can’t because that move would violate state law [Tribune].
  • State education officials vote down a proposal to block access to information about letters of reprimand given to public school teachers [Deseret News].
  • The U.S. Senate approves John Huber as the U.S. Attorney for Utah. Huber is back on the job after being asked to resign by President Donald Trump earlier this year [Tribune].
  • Theatergoers who attend performances of “The Book of Mormon” at the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City cannot have an adult beverage at the show because the bawdy nature of the musical means no alcohol may be served [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • Tick…tick…tick…Special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, D.C. to investigate Russia’s role in the 2016 election. There’s no way to look at this other than the probe is growing in scope and intensity [Wall Street Journal].
  • Mueller’s grand jury has already issued subpoenas in connection with Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian nationals at Trump Tower last year [Reuters].
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is also reportedly focusing on financial connections between associates of Donald Trump and Russia [CNN].
  • At a rally in West Virginia, President Donald Trump railed against the Russia investigation, calling it “fake” and “demeaning” [Politico].
  • Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has revealed he served an advisory role with a controversial data analytics firm that worked for the successful pro-Brexit campaign to pull Britain out of the European Union [Associated Press].
  • The Republican-controlled Congress has left town for a month-long recess after failing to achieve a single significant legislative achievement during the first half of the year [Washington Post].
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan says it will be easier for the Republican controlled congress to pass tax reform than they did addressing health care once lawmakers return following their recess [Wisconsin State Journal].
  • The U.S. Senate moved to block President Donald Trump from making recess appointments while they’re away from Washington [The Hill].
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans a new crackdown on leaks of classified intelligence [Bloomberg].
  • Transcripts of phone calls between President Donald Trump and other foreign leaders have leaked. In the calls, Trump urged Mexico’s president to not publicly say they would not pay for his proposed border wall. Trump also called New Hampshire a “drug infested den” [Washington Post].
  • The Secret Service has pulled out of its command post inside Trump Tower over a contract dispute with President Donald Trump’s company [Washington Post].
  • Donald Trump in the White House has not been good news for American gun manufacturers. Gun sales have dropped 21% for one gun maker since Trump took office [CNN Money].
  • Republicans are in complete control of the governorship and the state legislature in 26 states [The Hill].
  • Toyota and Mazda announced they will build a $1.6 billion joint-venture automotive assembly plant in the U.S. that will create 4,000 jobs [USA Today].
  • Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has turned down an offer to appear on “Dancing with the Stars” [TMZ].

On this day in history:

  • 1790 – The Coast Guard had its beginnings as the Revenue Cutter Service.
  • 1914 – Britain declared war on Germany while the United States proclaimed its neutrality in World War I.
  • 1944 – Anne Frank, 15, was arrested along with her sister, parents and four other people after they had spent two years hiding from the Nazis in a building Amsterdam.
  • 1987 – The Federal Communications Commission voted to rescind the Fairness Doctrine, which required radio and TV stations to present balanced coverage of controversial issues.