Situational awareness – May 4, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City. It’s Star Wars Day. May the 4th be with you!

A potentially misleading robocall is targeting signers of the Count My Vote initiative. A coalition of organizations are trying to prevent the medical marijuana initiative from reaching November’s ballot. The feds were monitoring Michael Cohen’s phones.

Twitter is warning all 336 million of its users to change their passwords because of a bug that saved passwords on an unprotected internal log. The issue has been fixed, and the company says there is no evidence passwords have been misused. But, better safe than sorry.


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  • 25 days until the last day to register to vote by mail for the 2018 primary election (5/29/2018)
  • 26 days until the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 32 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 39 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 46 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 49 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 53 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 186 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 269 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 914 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Dirty political tricks?

The effort to stop Count My Vote from reaching the November ballot now includes a potentially misleading robocall to Utahns who signed the petition, inferring that their signature may have been forged [Utah Policy].

Count My Vote crosses the threshold

It appears that Count My Vote has enough signatures to make the November ballot, but the effort to get Utahns to remove their signatures is ramping up [Utah Policy].

What a week!

Count My Vote. GOP infighting. A new GOP vice-chair. Ben McAdams and Jenny Wilson avoid primary elections. Plus, Rudy Giuliani torpedoes President Donald Trump. Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick run down a tiring week in Utah politics [Utah Policy]

If you want to listen to our award-winning week-in-review on the go, you can download the podcast [Utah Policy].

Recision decision

Bob Bernick says Keep My Voice might be able to stop Count My Vote from making the ballot, but he doesn’t think they should [Utah Policy].

Cultural appropriation

LaVarr Webb wonders why more people aren’t outraged that Wal Mart is selling fake funeral potatoes [Utah Policy].


  • A group of Utah organizations is hiring paid canvassers to convince people to remove their names from the ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana [Fox 13Tribune (paywall)].
  • Democrat Ben McAdams says he won’t back Nancy Pelosi for speaker if Democrats take back the House in November, but Republican Mia Love continues to link McAdams to her [Tribune (paywall)].
  • Rep. Mike Schultz wants to block the “lucrative” severance package for fired UTA head Jerry Benson because he thinks it’s improper [Tribune (paywall)].
  • Utah officials are worried the state’s wildfire season could be the worst we’ve seen since 2012 [Deseret News, Tribune (paywall)].
  • The Utah Attorney General’s office is reviewing the validity of HB244, which would require Grand County to change its form of government [Moab Times-Independent].


  • NBC News reported on Thursday afternoon that the feds had tapped the phones of Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen. Turns out they were actually monitoring the incoming and outgoing phone calls to specific phone lines, but no recordings were made [CNN].
  • Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani warns special counsel Robert Mueller to steer clear of Ivanka Trump but says her husband, Jared Kushner, is “disposable” [Huffington Post].
  • An aide for embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt has been reportedly shopping an embarrassing story about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in order to take media attention off the scandals surrounding Pruitt [Atlantic].
  • President Trump orders the Pentagon to consider reducing the number of forces they have in South Korea [New York Times].
  • The White House is warning China about that country’s growing military presence in the South China Sea [CNN].
  • The House chaplain reversed his decision to step down from that post, saying he felt he was being wrongly forced out by Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan has backed down and agreed to let the chaplain keep his job [Washington Post].
  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly focusing on links between Trump confidant Roger Stone and a former top official for the Trump campaign [CNBC].
  • Emmet Flood, President Trump’s new lawyer, is a leading candidate to become the White House counsel [Associated Press].
  • Sinclair Broadcasting is reportedly getting ready to challenge Fox News with an evening block of news and opinion programming that would compete with Fox’s primetime lineup [Politico].
  • The South Carolina Senate has approved a bill that would outlaw virtually all abortions in that state [The State].


  • 1494 – On his second expedition to the New World, Columbus discovered Jamaica.
  • 1776 – Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.
  • 1886 – Haymarket affair: A bomb is thrown at policemen trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago, killing eight and wounding 60. The police open fire into the crowd.
  • 1904 – The United States begins construction of the Panama Canal.
  • 1942 – The Battle of the Coral Sea began. It was a turning point for the Allies in World War II, with Japan losing 39 ships and the United States one.
  • 1953 – Ernest Hemingway wins the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.
  • 1970 – The Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University, opens fire killing four unarmed students and wounding nine others.
  • 1989 – Iran-Contra Affair: Former White House aide Oliver North is convicted of three crimes and acquitted of nine other charges; the conventions are later overturned on appeal.