Situational awareness – March 29, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City. Welcome to Utah’s must-read daily political news roundup. 

Build the wall? Utahns say not if they have to pay for it. Lawmakers mulling a veto override session. Trump’s lawyer floated pardons for Flynn and Manafort.

It’s opening day 2018, the earliest opening day in MLB history. Here’s a little help in making your predictions for the season.

Tick Tock

  • 17 days until the signature-gathering deadline for statewide ballot initiatives (4/15/2018)
  • 23 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 30 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 39 days until the final day a veto override session may begin (5/7/2018)
  • 89 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 222 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 305 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 951 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here’s what’s driving the day

Utahns don’t want to pay for Trump’s border wall

Most Utahns say they oppose building a wall on the border with Mexico if taxpayer money is used to pay for it [Utah Policy].

Veto override?

Lawmakers have a little more than a month to decide if they’re going to override any of Gov. Herbert’s vetoes. At least two bills that were vetoed passed with a supermajority [Utah Policy].

Political bracket challenge rolls on

It’s the “Elite Eight” in our 2018 Utah political bracket matchups. Hit the link to vote on who moves to the “Final Four” next week [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

  • The Utah Transit Authority board is considering whether they can put off the name change lawmakers tucked into a bill overhauling the agency [Deseret News, Tribune, Fox 13].
  • Reps. Stewart and Bishop say they’re opposed to using Pentagon funding to pay for President Trump’s border wall [Deseret News]. 
  • U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney says he favors a “merit-based” system for immigration [Tribune].
  • Sen. Todd Weiler applauds the decision by Wal Mart to remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout aisles [Tribune].

National headlines

  • President Trump’s lawyer reportedly raised the possibility of pardons for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort last summer as the special counsel was building a case against them in the Russia investigation [New York Times].
  • Rick Gates, a top Trump campaign official, had repeated contact in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign with a person the FBI believes had ties to Russian intelligence. Mr. Gates told associates the man was a “former Russian Intelligence officer” [New York Times].
  • A federal judge allows a lawsuit alleging President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the constitution by holding on to his business interests to move forward [BuzzFeed].
  • The DOJ is launching a probe into alleged FISA abuse in the surveillance of former Trump associate Carter Page [The Hill].
  • President Trump ousts David Shulkin as head of the VA, replacing him with White House physician Adm. Ronny Jackson [The Hill].
  • A quarter of Trump’s original core cabinet is gone. The Trump administration has averaged a high-profile firing or departure every nine days. The longest the administration has gone without a departure is 39 days [Washington Post].
  • For the second time this term, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case against gerrymandering, considering a legal challenge against Democratic-drawn districts in Maryland [New York Times].
  • NATO is preparing more troops to confront a rising threat from Russia [Wall Street Journal].
  • North and South Korea will meet for a summit on April 27 [Wall Street Journal].
  • President Donald Trump is reportedly “obsessed” with Trump reportedly wants to go after the online giant using antitrust laws [Axios].
  • Facebook is limiting how much information third-party aggregators can have access to in order to target ads on the social network [Recode].
  • An investigation finds not all of the data Cambridge Analytica accessed was deleted. A British TV station found data for more than 130,000 in Colorado is still in circulation [Channel 4].
  • Facebook is making their privacy tools much easier for users to find [Politico].

On this day in history

  • 1886 – John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta.
  • 1951 – Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage.
  • 1961 – The Twenty-third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to vote in presidential elections.
  • 1973 – The last U.S. combat soldiers leave South Vietnam.
  • 1999 – The Dow Jones industrial average closed at more than 10,000 for the first time at the height of the dot-com bubble.