Situational awareness – May 22, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City.

Hatch not heading to Australia. Kennedy apologizes to a controversial pastor on behalf of all Utahns. The DOJ agrees to look into wrongdoing by the FBI in the Russia investigation.


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  • 7 days until the last day to register to vote by mail for the 2018 primary election (5/29/2018)
  • 8 days until the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 14 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 21 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 28 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 31 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 35 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 168 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 251 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 896 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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A land down under

Sen. Orrin Hatch was reportedly under consideration to be the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, but his office says he’s looking forward to “all you can eat buffets and long walks through Costco” in his retirement [Utah Policy].

Raking in the big bucks

A study by the Utah Taxpayers Association shows that 29 of Utah’s largest cities have employees who are paid more than Gov. Gary Herbert [Utah Policy].

Medical marijuana fight

The Sutherland Institute’s Rick Larsen urges both sides in the fight over the medical marijuana ballot proposal to slow down and reassess their positions before the situation gets nastier than it already is [Utah Policy].


  • Backers of the medical marijuana ballot initiative filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit seeking to block their proposal from the November ballot [Deseret News].
  • U.S. Senate candidate Mike Kennedy says he apologized on behalf of all Utahns to a pastor Mitt Romney called a “religious bigot.” Texas Pastor Robert Jeffress has made controversial statements in the past about Mormons and other religions [Deseret News].
  • One Utah city closed their public meetings a whopping 93% of the time according to a new analysis [Tribune].
  • Utah officials who are developing a school safety plan say they feel added pressure following last week’s fatal school shooting in Texas [Tribune].
  • Utah is projected to do $450 million in liquor sales this fiscal year [Fox 13].
  • Utah is still last in the nation in per-pupil spending according to new Census Bureau numbers [Fox 13].
  • Sen. Mike Lee is taking aim at law enforcement powers used by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service that he claims are beyond their authority [Deseret News].
  • Eagle Mountain officials are working to close a deal with a yet-unnamed tech company to build a data center there [Deseret News].
  • Utah officials say a man who got a job with the Utah Department of Technology Services with the intent of giving sensitive information to Russia did not access any sensitive data [Tribune].


  • President Trump and the Department of Justice reached an agreement allowing the inspector general to probe claims of wrongdoing in the Russia probe [The Hill].
  • A group of House Republicans will call for a second special counsel to investigate the ending of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, whether the Trump/Russia investigation was politically motivated and abuses of FISA warrants [Fox News].
  • Skepticism is beginning to grow that President Trump will actually hold his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un [CNN]. Vice President Mike Pence says Trump is willing to walk away from the meeting with North Korea if that country tries to push for concessions from the U.S. before the summit [Reuters].
  • President Trump meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday [The Hill].
  • Infighting inside the White House is reportedly hampering efforts to reach a trade deal with China [New York Post]. President Trump defended his administration’s approach to a trade impasse with China through a series of tweets on Monday [New York Times].
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to an “unprecedented” level of sanctions on Iran following the decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement with that country [The Hill].
  • The U.S. considered declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism because of their involvement in an attempt to kill a former Russian spy in England. Then the Trump administration dropped the idea just a few days later [ProPublica].
  • Primaries in four Southern states are on tap for Tuesday evening [Politico].
  • President Trump is ignoring White House security protocol when it comes to his personal cell phones [Politico].
  • White House aides are mimicking President Trump’s style, including grammatical errors and overuse of the exclamation point, to ghost-write some of his Twitter posts [Boston Globe].
  • Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama ink a deal with Netflix [Variety].
  • Swedish officials are preparing their people for possible war. Why?  The country is on heightened alert following alleged Russian violations of Swedish airspace and territorial waters [CNN].
  • Goldman Sachs says the fiscal outlook for the United States “is not good” because of an increasing federal deficit [CNBC].


  • 1804 – The Lewis and Clark Expedition officially begins as the Corps of Discovery departs from St. Charles, Missouri.
  • 1807 – A grand jury indicts former Vice President Aaron Burr on a charge of treason.
  • 1826 – HMS Beagle departs on its first voyage.
  • 1849 – Future President Abraham Lincoln is issued a patent for an invention to lift boats, making him the only U.S. President to ever hold a patent.
  • 1856 – Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina severely beats Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane in the hall of the U.S. Senate for a speech Sumner had made regarding Southerners and slavery.
  • 1872 – President Ulysses S. Grant signs the Amnesty Act into law, restoring full civil and political rights to all but about 500 Confederate sympathizers.
  • 1900 – The Associated Press is formed in New York City as a non-profit news cooperative.
  • 1906 – The Wright Brothers are granted U.S. patent number 821,393 for their “Flying-Machine.”
  • 1972 – Richard Nixon became the first U.S. president to visit Moscow.
  • 1992 – Johnny Carson ended his nearly 30-year career as host of The Tonight Show.
  • 2017 – A suicide bomber killed 22 people attending an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.