Today's Situational Awareness

Good morning from Salt Lake City and TGIF!

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Here are the stories you need to pay attention to this morning:

  • Trump's impeachment trial gets underway.
  • Rob Bishop teams up with Thomas Wright.
  • Mike Bloomberg set to campaign in Utah.


MLK Day 01

We will not publish our morning newsletter on Monday, Jan. 20 because of the MLK Day holiday. Expect us to return to our normal publishing schedule on Tuesday, Jan. 21.


This week's question comes from Ken Sizemore:

Name the seven Utah interlocal entities established in the early 1970s to provide a common forum to identify, discuss, study and resolve area wide problems.

Send your answers to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The third reader to submit the correct answer gets to ask next week's question as well as one of our laptop stickers.

Good luck!


Days to the first day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 11 (1/27/2020)

Days to the 2020 Iowa Caucuses: 18 (2/3/2020)

Days to the New Hampshire primaries: 26 (2/11/2020) 

Days to the Utah presidential primaries: 47 (3/3/2020)

Days to the final day of the 2020 Utah Legislature: 56 (3/12/2020)

Days to the 2020 Utah primary elections: 166 (6/30/2020)

Days to the 2020 election: 292 (11/3/2020)

National Briefing

President Trump is officially on trial

The Senate began the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Thursday. The first day of the official proceedings were marked by conflict over whether to call witnesses and new evidence about President Trump's dealings in Ukraine [Washington Post].

The Senate is cracking down on reporters covering the impeachment trial, hindering their ability to do their job covering the proceedings [CNN].

Ukraine scandal

Lev Parnas, the indicted former associate of Rudy Giuliani, alleged President Trump was fully aware of efforts to push the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden. Parnas also says Trump tried to fire Ambassador Maria Yovanovitch multiple times [Politico].

Parnas accused former Energy Secretary Rick Perry of telling Ukraine's president he had to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and the energy company that hired Biden's son as a board member when he attended the new president's inauguration last May [Bloomberg].

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office says the Trump administration broke the law when it withheld aid to Ukraine [New York Times].


Iran's supreme leader called President Trump a "clown" who will "push a poisonous dagger" into the backs of the Iranian people [AP].

Several U.S. service members were injured during last week's Iranian missile attack on an Iraqi air base despite initial claims that no casualties had taken place [CNN].

Trade deal

The Senate passed the revamped North American trade agreement to re-write the rules of trade with Mexico and Canada [NBC News].

Tax cuts

The Trump tax cuts delivered a $32 billion windfall to the top six U.S. banks as they cut jobs, cut back on new borrowing and delivered bigger payouts to shareholders [Bloomberg].


A Georgia election server contains evidence it was possibly hacked before the 2016 presidential election according to an election security expert [Politico].


A new poll shows black Americans are deeply pessimistic about opportunities available to them in the United States. The survey also finds that more than 8 in 10 black Americans believe President Trump is a racist and he has made racism a bigger problem in the country [Washington Post].

Mystery virus

A mysterious SARS-like virus has spread from China to Japan [Bloomberg].

Today at Utah Policy

'Secret' bills abound on Utah's Capitol Hill ahead of 2020 session

by Bob Bernick, Contributing Editor
So, officially who is the most secretive Utah state legislator? At least as bill…

Gov. Herbert stops HIV awareness program featuring bawdy Utah-themed condoms

by Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Gov. Gary Herbert ordered the Utah Department of Health to rework an HIV awareness…

Feedback: Sen. Mike Lee's office responds to Webb column

by Conn Carroll, Communications Director, Sen. Mike Lee
Dear Mr. Webb, I caught your “beef” with Sen. Leebeef” with Sen. Lee and just wanted to…

Utah has more employment opportunities than employees

by Salt Lake Chamber
A new analysis by the United States Chamber of Commerce highlights America’s tight labor…

Podcast: Interview with Rep. Rob Bishop

by Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Rep. Rob Bishop announced on Monday he would not run for Utah Governor in 2020, instead…

Gibson steps down as Utah Ag Commissioner to run for Congress

by Bryan Schott, Managing Editor
Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food Kerry Gibson stepped down from that post on…

Lighter Side

Canada Here They Come
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they’ll no longer be senior members of the royal family and they might move to Canada. I give them a lot of credit — tons of celebrities always threaten to move to Canada; they’re actually doing it.” — JIMMY FALLON

Wise Words


"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." Frederick Douglass