Situational awareness – June 29, 2018

Good Friday morning from Salt Lake City.

Lee is rising as a possible Supreme Court nominee. Herbert talks with Trump about trade wars. A gunman opens fire at a newspaper in Maryland.


A tipster sends along this photo of Gov. Gary Herbert and Speaker Greg Hughes holding a late-evening meeting on the inland port at the governor’s mansion. Send your best captions to [email protected]. We’ll recognize the best entries in Monday’s newsletter.

Herbert Hughes


  • 130 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 213 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 858 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Lee for SCOTUS heating up?

President Donald Trump is reportedly asking close aides and advisors about possibly nominating Sen. Mike Lee for the Supreme Court –

What a week!

Romney and Curtis win easily. Hughes steps down from the inland port board. Plus, Donald Trump gets another Supreme Court pick, and it might be Sen. Mike Lee. We run down the week’s big news to help you understand what happened and why –

There’s also a podcast version if you prefer to get your news and analysis on the go –

Utah caught in Trump’s trade war

Gov. Gary Herbert says he visited with President Trump last week and informed him how tariffs are hurting Utah’s businesses –

The real winner on Tuesday

Bob Bernick says Utah voters won on Tuesday because opponents of SB54 lost at the ballot box –


  • Gov. Gary Herbert says he’s having productive talks with the Salt Lake City Council about the inland port [Deseret News].
  • Gov. Herbert says now that the Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes on online purchases, the state may no longer need to boost the gas tax to help boost school funding [Tribune].
  • If Donald Trump ends up picking Mike Lee for the Supreme Court, Gov. Gary Herbert will get to choose Lee’s replacement [Deseret News].


  • A gunman attacked a newspaper in Maryland on Thursday, killing five journalists. The assailant had previously lost a defamation of character lawsuit against the paper [Washington Post].
  • President Trump will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16 [New York Times].
  • The White House lobbied Justice Anthony Kennedy to retire this year, assuring him that his successor would cement his judicial legacy [New York Times].
  • The White House plans to announce their pick for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement by July 9 [CNN].
  • The fight over who will replace Kennedy on the Supreme Court could be the costliest in history [The Hill].
  • President Trump is reportedly threatening to pull the U.S. out of the World Trade Organization, which could upend trade on a global scale [Axios].
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into why several billionaires with deep ties to Russia attended exclusive, invitation-only festivities at President Trump’s inauguration [ABC News].
  • President Trump is consulting with advisors to pick a replacement for chief of staff John Kelly, who could depart the administration as early as this summer [Politico].
  • Friday may be the busiest day in the history of the TSA as Americans are traveling for the 4th of July holiday [CBS Boston].


  • 1853 – The Senate ratified the $10 million Gadsen Purchase from Mexico, adding more than 29,000 square miles to the territories of Arizona and New Mexico.
  • 1950 – President Harry Truman authorized a sea blockade of Korea during the Korean War.
  • 1956 – The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 is signed, officially creating the United States Interstate Highway System.
  • 1972 – The Supreme Court rules in the case Furman v. Georgia that arbitrary and inconsistent of the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.