Agencies exasperated at Trump’s slow pace in filling senior-level jobs. Interior Secretary set to review Bears Ears National Monument. Chaffetz says Michael Flynn may have acted illegally in accepting foreign funds.
Happy Wednesday. President Donald Trump has moved slowly in filling Cabinet positions and top posts in his administration — creating tension, frustration and exasperation for the agencies stuck waiting for key staff. The Senate has confirmed 26 of Trump’s picks for senior-level jobs. But nearly 530 other posts for ambassadors, deputy secretaries and general counsels remain vacant (for those, the president has advanced just 37 nominees). Chief of Staff Reince Priebus says the delay is due to the "long process" to vet candidates, but Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price are growing impatient. [WaPost]
Topping the news: After a 45-day review, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will recommend possible action on Bears Ears National Monument, among other designations. [Trib] [DNews] [CNNviaABC4] [APviaKUTV]
-> Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stands by Bears Ears, where she said the Obama administration did everything it could to respect both the cultural resources of the area and the wishes of San Juan County officials. [Trib]
-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz said classified documents related to Michael Flynn show the former national security adviser sidestepped federal disclosure rules and likely violated the law when he accepted Russian money. [Trib] [DNews] [APviaKUTV]
Tweets of the day: From @MikeMcPickles: "Canada announces we will build a wall, a great wall, made with beautiful Canadian lumber, and we will make the Americans pay for it. Watch!"
-> From @LivingBlueinRed: "Eventually, but at a later date we will make Wisconsin a border state. It will be a great border state in our coming dairy war with Canada."
Happy Birthday: To John Valentine, chair of the Utah State Tax Commission.
In other news: A week after University of Utah officials abruptly dismissed the director and CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, the university announced its decision to reinstate her and said she will now report directly to the school’s president. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [Fox13] [KUTV]
-> Democrat and first-time candidate Darlene McDonald has filed to run against Republican Rep. Mia Love in the conservative 4th Congressional District, which could set up a general election between two black women in Utah for the first time. [Trib]
-> When GOP lawmakers found out the Utah County Republican Party was considering banning them from serving on its state central committee, 18 of them filed to run for those posts. A steering committee then dismissed the possible rule prohibiting them from serving. [Trib]
-> A national restaurant association issued a full ad in an Idaho newspaper about a newly-approved decrease in Utah’s blood-alcohol content limit in hopes that educating people in states that could be impacted by the law will join opposition to the change. [Trib] [ABC4] [Fox13]
-> Utah now requires that businesses serving alcohol erect a sign that notifies patrons whether the establishment is licensed as a bar or as a restaurant in order to help diners differentiate between the two. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13]
-> Rather than respond to an ongoing Federal Election Commission lawsuit, imprisoned St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson says he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. [Trib] [DNews]
-> The West Valley City Police Department’s new CodeRed notification system will alert subscribed residents through texts, emails and voicemails about missing children, fires, floods and other emergency situations. [Trib] [ABC4]
-> Residents of Cedar Fort in Utah County are concerned that a construction project at the town’s cemetery may disrupt several grave sites — though the town mayor says no caskets or grave vaults would be impacted. [KUTV]
-> Three Utah schools earned "gold medals" from the U.S. News and World Report based on data from statewide tests and college preparation rates, and a Lindon charter school was named the best high school in Utah. [Trib]
-> The British Columbia trial of a religious leader in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints reportedly told police he didn’t know the age of one of his 24 wives — some of whom are from Utah — when he married her. [CranbrookTownsmanviaTrib]
-> Robert Gehrke creates a scathing resume for Rep. Jason Chaffetz, which includes the congressman’s real experience leg wrestling Stephen Colbert and his fake experience earning a double major with an emphasis on "Political Opportunism." [Trib]
-> Trump promised an audience at the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Days of Remembrance commemoration that he would work to protect Jewish people in the United States and abroad. "We will confront anti-Semitism, we will stamp out prejudice, we will condemn hatred, we will bear witness and we will act," he said. [NYTimes] [TheHill] [NPR] [CNN]
Where are they?
- Rep. Mia Love participates in a Financial Services Committee meeting and speaks with the mayor of Herriman, members of the Utah Bar Association and representatives of the Outdoor Industry Association. She later sits down with Laurie Holt, a Utah mother whose son is in a Venezuelan jail, and votes.
- Gov. Gary Herbert makes his quarterly visit to Washington.
- Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox attends a discussion about rural jobs and listens to a TED Talk about the Other Side Academy in Salt Lake City.
-- Courtney Tanner and Taylor Stevens