Daily Briefing 10-31-17

Good Tuesday morning and Happy Halloween from Salt Lake City. Today is the 304th day of the year. There are 61 days remaining in 2017.

The clock:

  • 7 days until the 2017 election (11/7/2017)
  • 83 days until the opening day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (1/22/2018)
  • 128 days until the final day of the 2018 Utah Legislature (3/8/2018)
  • 371 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 1,099 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

Today’s political TL; DR –

  • POLL: Utahns mostly say they don’t like the idea of changing the Utah Constitution to allow lawmakers to call themselves into a special session. Right now, only the governor has the power to do that [Utah Policy].
  • An international student at the University of Utah was killed Monday after an attempted carjacking went bad on Monday. The campus was on lockdown for most of the evening as police conducted a manhunt for the shooter who still remains at large [Deseret NewsTribune].
  • Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee say they stand behind special counsel Robert Mueller and support his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election [Tribune].
  • Salt Lake County election officials say voters are not returning mail-in ballots in the numbers they had hoped, which makes them worry there could be long lines on election day [Utah Policy].
  • LaVarr Webb says establishment Republicans must be wary of President Trump’s populist base if they oppose Trump’s administration [Utah Policy].
  • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is urging Utahns to donate to help Puerto Rico recover from the devastation from Hurricane Maria [Deseret NewsTribune].
  • Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski is joining with other mayors across the country asking the Supreme Court to rule against a Colorado baker who refused business to a same-sex couple who wanted a wedding cake because of his religious objections [Deseret News]. 
  • Rep. Mia Love tells a Utah County group that racial divisions in the U.S. are deeper than they were 8 years ago [Daily Herald].
  • Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee are rising to the defense of a federal judicial nominee who is getting questions because of her religious affiliation [Deseret News].
  • Backers of a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid will hold required public meetings on their proposal this week [Deseret News].
  • Insurers are telling Utahns not to give up on finding health insurance as open enrollment on the federal exchanges is set to begin [Deseret News].

National headlines:

  • Where could special counsel Robert Mueller be headed next following his indictments against former Trump campaign officials? [Politico].
  • Former White House strategist Steve Bannon is urging Trump to fight back against Mueller, pushing him to defund the investigation as a way to get rid of Mueller without actually firing him [Politico].
  • A 30-year-old low-level foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump pleaded guilty to lying to prosecutors about trying to set up meetings with Russian operatives who had alerted the campaign that they were in possession of hacked emails from Hillary Clinton. Those meetings never took place, however [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump fumed while he watched the coverage of Monday’s bombshell indictments in the Russia investigation [Washington Post].
  • Here’s a timeline of President Donald Trump‘s involvement in Russia, reaching back to 2013 [Politico].
  • Facebook says as many as 126 million people saw content from Russia-linked pages during the 2016 election [CNN Money].
  • Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who announced he would not seek the GOP nomination in 2018, is now mulling an independent Senate bid next year [U.S. News].

On this day in history:

  • 1517 – Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
  • 1864 – Nevada is admitted as the 36th state.
  • 1941 – After 14 years of work, Mount Rushmore is completed.
  • 1968 – Vietnam War October surprise: Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, President Lyndon B. Johnson announces he has ordered a complete cessation of “all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam” effective November 1.