Situational awareness – July 27, 2018

Good morning from Salt Lake City and TGIF!

Utah is getting $4 million from the feds to boost election security. Michael Cohen claims President Trump had advance knowledge about the infamous Trump tower meeting with a Russian lawyer. Mueller is reportedly scrutinizing President Trump’s tweets in obstruction of justice probe.


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


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Utah spending big on election security

Utah is getting more than $4 million from the feds to improve election security, which includes purchasing new voting machines and security upgrades on the state’s voter registration system –

What a week!

Romney’s campaign cash. Love or Bishop for speaker? Utahns aren’t sure lawmakers should be able to call themselves into special session. Plus, Donald Trump’s rage tweeting and Michael Cohen’s tapes. Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott run down the week in Utah politics –

You can download the podcast version of our week in review here –

Special session changes

Bob Bernick argues voters should approve a constitutional change to allow lawmakers to call themselves into special session –


  • South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood was denied a pay raise leading one female city council member to wonder if the vote was motivated by sexism [Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch warns high school students to avoid “own the libs” behavior on social media [Deseret News].
  • Home prices along the Wasatch Front are surging, but sales are down because of limited housing supply [Tribune].


  • Potential bombshell! Michael Cohen claims that Donald Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt about Hillary Clinton. Trump has previously denied any previous knowledge about the meeting, so somebody is lying –
  • A Trump administration official tells members of Congress to expect a blockbuster GDP figure on Friday. Data points to economic expansion over 4% –

  • The Trump administration reunited most of the families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border before a court-ordered deadline, but hundreds of children remain in custody –

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly digging into President Trump’s Twitter feed as part of a wide-ranging inquiry into possible obstruction of justice –
  • Federal investigators have asked to interview Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, as part of their probe into President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen –
  • The Russian hackers behind the attack on the 2016 presidential election have targeted Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill ahead of her 2018 re-election bid. There’s no evidence that the cyber attacks have been successful so far –

  • A recent staff shakeup has left the White House with nobody in charge of U.S cyber policy amid growing warnings about another Russian cyber attack on the 2018 midterms –

  • A group of House Republicans is backing off their effort to impeach Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who is overseeing the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election –

  • Ultraconservative member of Congress Jim Jordan launches a bid for House Speaker next year despite being caught up in a sexual-assault-related scandal from his time as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University –

  • North Korea returns remains of what are believed to be U.S. servicemen killed during the Korean War –
  • The attorney for porn actress Stormy Daniels says he is now representing three additional women who claim they had relationships with President Donald Trump and were paid hush money ahead of the 2016 presidential election –
  • Facebook lost nearly $119 billion in market value on Thursday, the largest drop in stock market history –
  • Twitter’s monthly users fell by 1 million during the second quarter as the service purged fake and suspicious accounts –

  • Climate change is turbocharging a hot and dangerous summer across the globe –


  • 1789 – The first U.S. federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, is established. It will later be renamed Department of State.
  • 1890 – Vincent van Gogh shoots himself and dies two days later.
  • 1940 – The animated short A Wild Hare is released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny.
  • 1953 – A truce officially ended the Korean War, which had begun June 25, 1950.
  • 1974 – The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment (for obstruction of justice) against President Richard Nixon.
  • 1995 – The Korean War Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
  • 1996 – A pipe bomb explodes at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympics.