Situational awareness – July 18, 2018

Good Wednesday morning from Salt Lake City. Lawmakers head back to the hill today for a special legislative session.

State leaders nearly begged Biskupski to join inland port talks. Love/McAdams race tightens up. Trump attempts to walk back his statements supporting Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies.


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


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Biskupski’s inland port absence

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski refused pleas from Governor Herbert’s office to join the negotiations on the inland port bill according to text messages obtained by Biskupski also forbade city employees from participating in the talks, forcing the city council to turn elsewhere for expertise –

McAdams/Love race heats up

Real Clear Politics moves their rating of the CD4 race between Mia Love and Ben McAdams from “Lean GOP” to “toss-up” –

Count My Vote appeal

Two Utahns who claim their signatures were forged on the Count My Vote petition filed signature removal forms with the state, and the signatures on both forms appear to be identical –


  • Rep. Chris Stewart said on CNN that President Donald Trump is not a “Russian stooge” [Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch threatens to file legislation to rein in President Trump’s trade authority if he continues to pursue “misguided and reckless” tariffs [Deseret News].
  • Lawmakers plan to add a measure giving Utahns with children a break on their income taxes to Wednesday’s special session [Deseret News].
  • The Utah Transit Authority floats the idea of selling naming rights for TRAX stations as a way to raise money [Tribune].
  • Legislative auditors say state colleges have hundreds of missing keys to buildings and many of those facilities are open overnight [Deseret News].
  • The Senate confirmed Salt Lake City investor Randal Quarles to the Federal Reserve board [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Salt Lake County Republicans pick Scott Miller as their new chairman [Deseret News].
  • Traffic at the Salt Lake City airport grew by 1 million passengers last year, making it the nation’s 23rd busiest airport [Tribune].
  • The Midvale City Council is seeking to ban pet stores within the city limits [Fox 13].


  • President Trump retreats from his disastrous joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming he misspoke when he sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies over Russian interference in the 2016 election –

  • Republicans in Congress are scrambling to contain the damage from Trump’s meeting with Putin –

  • The press in Europe mocks Trump as “weak” and “Putin’s poodle” following his meeting with Putin in Helsinki –

  • Former President Barack Obama takes a thinly veiled shot at President Trump during a speech in South Africa –

  • President Trump and House Republicans are discussing another possible round of tax cuts –

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says he’s open to talks with his Russian counterpart –

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller asked a judge to grant immunity to five potential witnesses in the upcoming trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort – 

  • The NSA and Cyber Command will coordinate efforts to counter possible Russian interference in the 2018 election –

  • Democrats want President Trump’s interpreter to testify about his one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin –

  • Lawmakers are considering legislation to overhaul retirement plans, including a new type of savings account that can be tapped in case of an emergency –

  • The new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will cost more than $21 million, which is 100 times more than President Trump’s estimate –

  • President Trump confirms he plans to update the iconic paint scheme on Air Force One, ditching the robin’s egg blue for a more patriotic red, white, and blue theme –

  • European antitrust officials hammer Google with a record $5.1 billion fine for abusing its power in the smartphone market –

  • Japan and the European Union sign a trade deal to eliminate nearly all tariffs on trade between the two entities. The agreement covers almost 1/3 of the global economy –

  • The IRS rules that certain tax-exempt groups will no longer be required to disclose their donors. The change is a priority for some conservatives in Washington who have been pushing to prevent the agency from targeting groups for their political beliefs –

  • Chicago may become the next city to experiment with a universal basic income for residents –


  • 1914 – Congress forms the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, giving official status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time.
  • 1925 – Adolf Hitler publishes Mein Kampf.
  • 1969 – Senator Ted Kennedy crashes his car into a tidal basin at Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne.
  • 1976 – Nadia Comaneci becomes the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
  • 2013 – Detroit, with up to $20 billion in debt, files for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.