Morning must reads for Thursday, August 17, 2017

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Today is the 229th day of the year. There are 136 days remaining in 2017.

John Curtis’ lead over Chris Herrod is virtually insurmountable. Utah leaders break ground for the new prison. Steve Bannon says some jaw-dropping things in a conversation with a journalist.

The clock:

  • 82 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 158 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 203 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 446 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,174 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • We crunched the numbers and it will be nearly impossible for Chris Herrod to overtake John Curtis when all of the outstanding ballots are counted in Utah’s 3rd CD primary [Utah Policy].
  • The Salt Lake County GOP is focusing on possible ethics violations in their investigation of acting Salt Lake County Recorder Julie Dole [Utah Policy].
  • Who were the winners and losers from Tuesday’s 3rd CD GOP primary? [Utah Policy].
  • President Donald Trump congratulated John Curtis on his primary win via Twitter [Daily Herald].
  • Sen. Mike Lee had some harsh words about President Donald Trump‘s assertion that there is “blame on both sides” in the violence that happened at a neo-Nazi rally in Virginia over the weekend. Sen. Orrin Hatch was a bit more muted in his criticism of the president [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Mitt Romney is not in agreement with President Donald Trump‘s attempt to create a moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and those who oppose them [Deseret News].
  • The ACLU is criticizing the plan to crack down on lawlessness in Salt Lake City, saying Operation Rio Grande is employing ineffective tactics to quell the violence [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • State leaders break ground on the new prison on Salt Lake City’s west side [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • The salary arms race among Utah school districts to attract and retain teachers is mostly helping educators around the Wasatch Front, while teachers in more rural areas have yet to reap the benefits [KSL].
  • Utah leaders are waiting for the Trump administration to grant them a waiver so the limited Medicaid expansion the legislature approved can go into effect [Deseret News].
  • The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has filed a lawsuit alleging private meetings between Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and three county commissions violated state open meetings laws [Tribune].
  • The state wants Utah schools to test their water systems for lead after they found drinking water at 10 schools exceeded federal standards [Tribune].

National headlines:

  • This is the article everyone is talking about today. White House strategist Steve Bannon sits down for a conversation he clearly thought was not an interview and contradicted President Donald Trump on a number of issues. Bannon said there’s no military solution in North Korea, talked about igniting a trade war with China and how he’s trying to neutralize his rivals in other branches of government. The whole thing is worth your time [American Prospect].
  • Yikes! President Donald Trump‘s personal lawyer sent an email to journalists and government officials on Wednesday urging them to support the president’s rhetoric about the violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Virginia over the weekend. The email said, in part, “You cannot be against General Lee and for General Washington, there is literally no difference between the two men” [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump‘s two big business advisory groups disband in the wake of his response to the domestic terror attack by an accused white supremacist in Virginia on Saturday. Trump tried to take credit for disbanding the councils after a number of CEOs bailed out of the groups [Axios].
  • Congressional Republicans are furious with Trump’s response to the neo-Nazi violence, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell [USA Today].
  • New White House chief of staff John Kelly is reportedly frustrated with his inability to keep President Donald Trump from damaging his own administration with self-inflicted wounds. The story is remarkable because the reporters had 17 sources willing to speak to them [Washington Post]. 
  • President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters show no sign of turning on him after the latest controversies [Associated Press].
  • President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign-style rally in Phoenix next week, but the mayor of that city wants Trump to delay the event in the wake of his comments about last weekend’s violence in Virginia [Arizona Republic].
  • The Trump administration set to roll back an Obama-era rule that employee health-benefits cover contraception [Wall Street Journal].
  • South Korean officials say President Donald Trump has promised to consult with them before taking any military action against North Korea [Reuters].

On this day in history:

  • 1585 – The first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh lands in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina.
  • 1807 – Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat leaves New York city for Albany on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.
  • 1896 – A prospecting party discovered gold in Alaska, a finding that touched off the Klondike Gold Rush.
  • 1998 – President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an “improper physical relationship” with intern Monica Lewinsky.