Situational awareness – April 13, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City, and happy Friday the 13th! I hope your triskaidekaphobia isn’t too bad today

The Weber County GOP wants to punish signature-gathering candidates. Rep. Lynn Hemingway drops his re-election bid. James Comey’s book leaks. Trump proposes re-joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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Tick Tock

  • 3 days until the signature-gathering deadline for statewide ballot initiatives (4/16/2018)
  • 8 days until the Utah GOP State Convention (4/21/2018)
  • 15 days until the Utah Democratic State Convention (4/28/2018)
  • 24 days until the final day a veto override session may begin (5/7/2018)
  • 74 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 208 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 291 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 938 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)

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Here are the news stories driving Friday

“North Korea style”

Some Republican candidates in Weber County are upset that the rules for the election at the county convention are tilted toward candidates who don’t gather signatures while severely punishing signature-gatherers [Utah Policy].

Hemingway heads for the exit

Democratic House member Lynn Hemingway drops his re-election bid due to his wife’s illness [Utah Policy].

Return of the mainstream?

Bob Bernick writes that mainstream Utah Republicans are trying to wrest control of the GOP away from some of its more extreme members [Utah Policy].

What a week!

Veto override session. Rob Bishop for Governor? Mia Love raises (and spends) a lot of money. Mitt Romney qualifies for the ballot. Donald Trump’s lawyer gets raided. Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick tiptoe through a minefield of news for our latest week-in-review [Utah Policy].

If you’d rather listen on the go, download the podcast here [Utah Policy].

Other Utah headlines

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says anyone who is advising President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller that they don’t have the nation’s best interests at heart [The Hill].
  • Entrance fees will go up by just $5 at Utah’s national parks. The Interior Department originally wanted to double fees but scrapped the plan after public pushback [Tribune].
  • Lisa DeRees drops out of the race for Grand County Clerk/Auditor [Moab Times-Independent].
  • Weber County sheriff candidate Kevin Burns is staying in the race despite the fact his job in the sheriff’s office ended after an investigation found a major breach in the way the agency handled evidence, which he was in charge of [Standard Examiner].
  • Three gun rights rallies are scheduled around Utah on Saturday [Associated Press].

National headlines

  • Fired FBI Director James Comey’s forthcoming memoir has leaked. One of the initial stories from the book focuses is President Trump’s was focused on disproving unconfirmed allegations in a dossier that President Trump was filmed by Russians interacting with prostitutes in a hotel room in Moscow [Washington Post].
  • It’s now doubtful that President Trump will sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation following the raid on his lawyer’s office [NBC News].
  • Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, has a reputation for recording conversations. Trump’s allies now worry those recordings are in the hands of federal investigators following the raid on his offices by the FBI [Washington Post].
  • A new national poll finds most Americans support special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign [Washington Post].
  • The Trump administration is working on a proposal to claw back as much as $60 billion from the massive $1.3 billion omnibus spending bill President Trump signed last month. It’s unlikely Congress will go for the measure [Politico].
  • President Trump is proposing rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade deal he pulled the U.S. out of shortly after becoming president [New York Times].
  • Republicans in Congress are scrambling to save seats in districts that Trump won handily in 2016 as GOP leaders fear a rising Democratic wave in November [Politico].
  • Boring but important: A federal judge ruled that the Justice Department cannot tie funding for local police departments to requirements that they assist federal immigration agents [New York Times].
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis says troops that are sent to the border with Mexico will have “no contact with migrants” [Washington Post].
  • President Trump has ordered an audit of the Postal Service following his claims that is paying cut rates for shipping [Politico].
  • President Trump is planning on pardoning Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, who was convicted of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice in the 2007 leak of the identity of Valerie Plame, a former covert CIA operative [ABC News].

On this day in history

  • 1742 – George Frideric Handel’s Messiah makes its world-premier in Dublin, Ireland.
  • 1861 – Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederate forces.
  • 1870 – The New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art is founded.
  • 1932 – Democrats accused the Hoover administration of wrecking the economy, plunging millions into misery and engulfing the government in debt due to extravagance.
  • 1943 – The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C. on the 200th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson’s birth.
  • 1976 – The U.S. Treasury reintroduces the two-dollar bill.