Situational awareness – July 17, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

The White House is doing damage control after Trump’s disastrous meeting with Putin. Lawmakers make a deal on the inland port. Federal authorities arrest an accused Russian agent.


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


Thanks for reading Utah’s must-read daily political news roundup. If you would like to subscribe to our morning newsletter, you can SIGN UP HERE.

Got a confidential news tip? You can reach me via encrypted, secure email at [email protected].


Inland port deal

Gov. Gary Herbert calls a special session for Wednesday after state leaders and the Salt Lake City Council reach a deal on the inland port –

Some Utah politicos rip Trump after his press conference with Putin

Some members of Utah’s congressional delegation had some harsh words following President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while others were more reserved [Deseret News, Tribune].

Utahns favor gas tax hike for education

Our recent polling finds a slight majority of Utahns favor raising the gasoline tax in order to help boost education funding in the state –

Podcast: Trump’s tariffs and Utah

Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber, says the trade war is causing some Utah businesses to hold back on expansion plans –

Legal writing honor

An analysis of nearly 900 amicus briefs filed with the Supreme Court found one of Utah Solicitor General Tyler Green’s submissions had the best writing –


  • A key confidant of Jon Huntsman, Jr. says he should resign as Ambassador to Russia following President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin [Tribune].
  • A community group is urging the Salt Lake City Council to pass an ordinance to create a newly elected board to hold police more accountable [Tribune].
  • Newly public records detail how Utah pitched the National Security Agency to build a data center at Camp Williams [Tribune].
  • The state school board gives $1.4 million in loans to new charter schools [KSL].


  • The White House is doing damage control following President Trump’s disastrous summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin where Trump rejected his own intelligence agencies and sided with Putin’s denials that his intelligence apparatus interfered in the 2016 presidential election –

  • Republicans react with shock to Trump’s performance during his joint press conference with Putin on Monday –

  • Fox News’ Chris Wallace grills Russian President Vladimir Putin during a televised interview. During the conversation, Putin refused to look at a copy of the indictments of 12 Russians accused of interfering in the 2016 election –

  • Trump was given around 100 pages of briefing materials about how to handle Putin during their meeting, but the president ignored most of it according to White House sources –

  • Hours after Trump’s press conference with Putin, federal authorities arrested a woman who tried to broker a secret meeting between Trump and Putin during the 2016 campaign. Mariia Butina was charged with being a Russian agent –

  • House leaders quash an effort by conservatives to force Democrats to take a potentially politically damaging vote on a plan to abolish ICE –

  • Nearly 50 Democratic congressional challengers outraised their Republican opponents during the most recent fundraising period –

  • A new national poll finds the vast majority of American parents of school-aged children oppose arming teachers or placing armed guards in schools to prevent shootings –

  • The FCC expresses “serious concerns” about Sinclair Broadcasting’s $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. The proposed deal would give Sinclair, already the largest local TV station owner in the U.S., access to 3/4 of American households. The FCC is sending the proposal through a lengthy review process, likely dooming the deal –
  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos becomes the richest man in modern history with a net worth of over $150 billion –


  • 1867 – Harvard School of Dental Medicine is established in Boston. It is the first dental school in the U.S. that is affiliated with a university.
  • 1918 – Russian Czar Nicholas II and his family were killed by Bolsheviks who held them captive for two months.
  • 1938 – Douglas Corrigan takes off from Brooklyn to fly the “wrong way” to Ireland and becomes know as “Wrong Way” Corrigan.
  • 1955 – Disneyland is dedicated and opened by Walt Disney in Anaheim, California.
  • 1975 – An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with each other in orbit, marking the first such link-up between spacecraft from the two nations.
  • 1981 – 114 people were killed and 200 injured in the collapse of two suspended walkways at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kansas City, Mo.
  • 1984 – The national drinking age in the U.S. was changed from 18 to 21.
  • 1996 – TWA Flight 800, New York to Paris, crashed off the Long Island coast, killing all 230 people aboard.