Situational awareness – August 2, 2018

Good Thursday morning from Salt Lake City.

Breaking down Utah’s big political news. Trump calls on Sessions to end the Mueller investigation. Republicans block funding to beef up election security.


  • 68 days until the last day to register to vote by mail (10/9/2018)
  • 75 days until mail-in ballots are sent to voters (10/16/2018)
  • 82 days until in-person early voting begins (10/23/2018)
  • 89 days until the last day to register to vote in person or by mail (10/30/2018)
  • 92 days until in-person early voting ends (11/2/2018)
  • 96 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 179 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 224 days until the final day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (3/14/2019)
  • 824 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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What a week!

Utah officials are worried they won’t be able to implement the medical marijuana program if voters approve it in November. The Utah GOP Central Committee continues their buffoonish behavior. Plus, Donald Trump has clearly never been in a grocery store. Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott give you perspective on the big Utah political news of the week –

You can also download (and subscribe) to the podcast version of our analysis here –

Studying Utah’s pollution problem

USTAR is working to better understand Utah’s air quality issues –

Cumulative voting

A California city will employ a unique voting method for one local election in 2020, which would allow voters to cast multiple ballots for a single candidate if they choose –


  • Sen. Orrin Hatch and Attorney General Jeff Sessions call for a fix to a law that released two men early from prison. Those men later allegedly murdered two Utah teenagers [Deseret News / Tribune].
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Chris Stewart’s bill to create a national three-digit suicide prevention hotline is headed to President Trump’s desk for his signature [Deseret News].
  • Rep. John Curtis says it’s time to remove partisanship from the debate over net neutrality [Deseret News].
  • Three men are suing the FBI, claiming agents threatened them during the investigation into ex-Utah A.G.s Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow [Tribune].
  • The first phase of the new Salt Lake International Airport has reached the halfway mark [Tribune].
  • Salt Lake City is giving Pioneer Park a makeover with new lights and multi-use fields [Tribune].
  • Myron Walker, the husband of former Gov. Olene Walker, died Monday [Tribune].


  • President Trump says Attorney General Jeff Sessions should shut down special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He also says the tax evasion trial of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is a “hoax” –
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller has offered to limit the number of obstruction-related questions President Donald Trump would be asked by investigators, but only if Trump sits down for an in-person interview –

  • President Trump wants to sit down with Robert Mueller’s investigators, but his lawyers keep telling him it’s a bad idea –

  • There is a growing concern that America has not done enough to protect the 2018 midterm elections from attack by foreign countries, mainly Russia –

  • Republicans in Congress block a Democratic-sponsored measure to provide $250 million to beef up election security –
  • The U.S. Treasury is planning to increase borrowing to finance massive government deficits –

  • A federal appeals court rules the Trump administration’s plan to withhold federal funds from “sanctuary cities” that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities is unconstitutional –
  • The White House is considering another massive reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled in the United States –
  • A record number of Democratic congressional challengers have raised more money than their Republican opponents this year –
  • Pope Francis declares the death penalty is inadmissible in all cases “because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” –

  • An unhinged conspiracy theory among supporters of President Trump is starting to trickle into the mainstream. Here’s an explainer about “QAnon” –

  • The Trump administration unveiled new rules to encourage more Americans to buy inexpensive, stripped down health plans for short-term use –

  • The TSA is considering eliminating security screening at more than 150 small and medium-sized airports –

  • 2017 was one of the hottest years in recorded history –


  • 1610 – During Henry Hudson’s search for the Northwest Passage, he sails into what is now known as Hudson Bay.
  • 1776 – The Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, was signed by members of the Continental Congress.
  • 1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes president upon ttrhe death of President Warren G. Harding. Harding died from a stroke in a San Francisco hotel.
  • 1934 – Adolf Hitler becomes Fuhrer of Germany following the death of Paul von Hindenburg.
  • 1974 – John Dean, counsel to President Richard Nixon, was sentenced to prison for his part in the Watergate coverup. Dean’s sentence was reduced, and he was released after four months.
  • 1990 – Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.


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