Situational awareness – July 31, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. 

Utah GOP could freeze out members of Congress. Inland Port authority gets down to business. The Trump administration is considering going around Congress to give a $100 billion tax cut to wealthy Americans.


  • 70 days until the last day to register to vote by mail (10/9/2018)
  • 77 days until mail-in ballots are sent to voters (10/16/2018)
  • 84 days until in-person early voting begins (10/23/2018)
  • 91 days until the last day to register to vote in person or by mail (10/30/2018)
  • 94 days until in-person early voting ends (11/2/2018)
  • 98 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 181 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 226 days until the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (3/14/2019)
  • 826 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Utah’s unique politics

In our latest podcast, we talk with BYU political scientist Adam Brown about his new book on Utah’s political scene –

Another Utah GOP Central Committee power grab?

A proposed change to the Utah GOP’s constitution could cut Utah’s members of Congress out of the party’s Executive Committee decisions –

“Dreamers” and the courts

Former State Senator Steve Urquhart says the fate of “Dreamers” could be one of the first cases heard by Brett Kavanaugh if he’s confirmed to the Supreme Court –


  • The Inland Port Authority gets down to business and selects Salt Lake Chamber CEO Derek Miller as board chair [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Some think an obscure sentence in the Utah Constitution could nix the state’s authority over the Inland Port [Deseret News].
  • Rep. Francis Gibson, who sits on the Inland Port Authority, said he would like environmental groups to speak with a unified voice at future meetings on the facility [Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch says he told President Trump not to call journalists the “enemy of the people” [Deseret News].
  • The Trump administration plans to put more than a half-million Utah acres up for auction for energy development later this year [Tribune].
  • The Unified Police Department vows more transparency by disclosing the names of their police officers, but they won’t stop employees from working private security jobs [Tribune].


  • Rudy Giuliani moved the goalposts significantly in the Russia investigation, claiming during multiple interviews on Monday that even if President Trump did collude with Russia during the 2016 election, collusion is not a crime. Giuliani also suggested Trump would have had to pay for Russia to interfere in the election on his behalf –
  • The Trump administration is considering bypassing Congress and granting a $100 billion tax cut mainly to wealthy Americans by reducing capital gains taxes –
  • President Trump says he would agree to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with “no preconditions.” Iran said talks with the United States would be impossible because of the administration’s hostile stance toward the country –
  • North Korea has started work on two new liquid-fueled ICBMs even though the country is engaged in arms talks with the U.S. –
  • A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to locate the parents of hundreds of migrant children separated from their parents who the feds say are “ineligible” for reunification –
  • The trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for tax evasion gets underway Tuesday. Prosecutors say Manafort earned more than $60 million from Ukrainian consulting work and hid a significant amount of that from the IRS –

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a “religious liberty task force” –
  • Veteran journalist Bob Woodward plans to release a book about the first year of the Trump presidency on 9/11. The book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” will reveal the “harrowing life” inside the White House –

  • The Pentagon is already taking steps to create the Space Force branch of the military, even though it hasn’t been approved by Congress yet –
  • The personnel chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is under investigation for allegedly hiring women as possible sexual partners for male employees –

  • Boring but important. The yield curve for U.S. Treasuries is starting to flatten out. Nearly every time this happened in the past, the U.S. economy tanked shortly afterward –

  • A Democratic congressional candidate in Virginia is claiming her Republican opponent is a “devotee of Bigfoot erotica” –


  • 1498 – On his third voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus became the first European to discover the island of Trinidad.
  • 1777 – The Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of the Marquis de Lafayette “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.”

  • 1790 – The first U.S. patent is issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.
  • 1792 – Director David Rittenhouse laid the cornerstone in Philadelphia for the U.S. Mint, the first building of the federal government.
  • 1932 – the Nazi Party wins more than 38% of the vote in German elections.
  • 1964 – Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon.
  • 1974 – Watergate figure John Ehrlichman was sentenced to prison for his role in the break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. He was in prison for 18 months. Ellsberg was the Pentagon consultant who leaked the “Pentagon Papers.”
  • 1991 – Congress voted to overturn a 43-year-old law and voted to allow women to fly military warplanes in combat.
  • 2012 – Michael Phelps breaks the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the most medals won at the Olympics.
  • 2017 – Anthony Scaramucci resigned after 10 days as President Donald Trump’s communications director.