Morning must reads for Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 221st day of the year. There are 144 days remaining in 2017.

Outside spending in the 3rd CD GOP primary continues to climb. North Korea has the technology to mount a miniaturized nuclear warhead on a missile. Donald Trump threatens “fire and fury” if North Korea were to endanger the United States.

The clock:

  • 6 days until the 2017 Utah primary election (8/15/2017)
  • 90 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 166 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 211 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 454 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,182 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • Spending by outside groups to influence the 3rd CD GOP primary election is now close to $800,000 [Utah Policy].
  • LaVarr Webb says the number of out-of-state right-wing groups trying to buy the GOP nomination in the 3rd CD demonstrates the same thing could happen with Utah’s Senate seat that’s up for election in 2018 [Utah Policy].
  • The ACLU of Utah is warning Utah’s members of Congress that they should not block their constituents on social media because that violates the First Amendment [Utah Policy].
  • Democratic Congressional challengers are raising a lot of money ahead of next year’s midterm elections, which could spell trouble for the GOP in 2018 [Utah Policy].
  • Danny Ainge is denying that his family is using a super PAC to illegally collude with their son, Tanner’s bid for Congress. Danny’s wife Michelle is the primary funder for the Conservative Utah super PAC, donating $250,000 to the group [Deseret News].
  • Some Salt Lake City residents are questioning the $163,000 price tag to provide Mayor Jackie Biskupski with a full-time security detail [Deseret News].
  • The LDS Church has excommunicated one of their top leaders, Elder James Hamula, who was a member of the Quorum of the Seventy [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The state will pay $4.5 million to the LDS Church for the Deseret Industries store in downtown Salt Lake City. The facility will be converted into a homeless shelter [Tribune].
  • Rep. Adam Gardiner wants to replace the statue of Philo Farnsworth in the U.S. Capitol with a statue of Martha Hughes Cannon, the first woman elected to a state senate seat [Tribune].
  • POLL: Most Utahns say they do not plan to travel to an adjoining state like Idaho or Wyoming to get a better view of this month’s solar eclipse [Utah Policy].
  • This month’s solar eclipse will take place on the first day of school for many school districts in Utah [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • U.S. intelligence agencies say North Korea now possesses the technology to mount a miniaturized nuclear weapon on a long-range missile [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump responded to the North Korea news by threatening “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against that country if it endangered the United States [New York Times]. In response to the president’s provocative words, North Korea threatened to launch an attack against Guam [Wall Street Journal].
  • Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was incredulous about the escalating war of words between Trump and North Korea. “You’ve got two bullies chiding each other with outrageous comments,” said the former Obama chief of staff [Politico].
  • Not helping. As if all the bluster about North Korea and nuclear weapons wasn’t enough, one of President Trump’s evangelical advisers said God has “given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un” [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump is given a twice daily briefing of positive news coverage of him and his administration. The 20-25 page packets reportedly include screen shots of favorable cable news coverage and pictures of Trump “looking powerful” on TV [Vice News].
  • How low can he go? President Donald Trump’s polling numbers keep dropping to new lows. Right now, just 40% of registered voters approve of the job Trump is doing in the White House, which is down from 52% just after his inauguration. That drop also shows Trump’s base of support is shrinking dramatically. Those who approve strongly of Trump’s job performance has fallen to 18% [Politico].
  • Despite a crackdown on immigration by the Trump administration, the number of deportations has fallen behind even the slowest years of the Obama administration [Politico].
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller‘s financial disclosure forms show he gave up a job as head of a law firm that earned him more than $3.5 million since 2016 to take his current post. Mueller also earned more than $240,000 on the paid speaking circuit since last year [Politico].
  • David Letterman is coming back to TV. The retired host will produce six one-hour specials for Netflix [Hollywood Reporter].
  • Disney is launching two new streaming services in 2019. One will focus on entertainment while the second will feature sports [Los Angeles Times].

On this day in history:

  • 1854 – Henry David Thoreau published “Walden,” which described his experiences living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts.
  • 1936 – Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics as the United States took first place in the 400-meter relay.
  • 1945 – The United States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki, Japan, instantly killing an estimated 39,000 people. The explosion came three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
  • 1969 – Actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found murdered in Los Angeles; cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his followers were later convicted of the crime.
  • 1974 – Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States following the resignation of Richard M. Nixon.