White House mood turns sour. Chaffetz schedules Comey hearing. Special counsel appointed.
Happy Thursday. The mood at the White House is souring. Some White House staffers have turned to impeachment gallows humor. Other mid-level aides have started reaching out to consultants, shopping their resumes. And at least one senior staffer has begun privately talking to friends about what a post-White House job would look like. [WaPost]
Topping the news: House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz wants former FBI Director James Comey to testify next week about a memo in which he reportedly wrote that President Donald Trump asked him to stop investigation former national security advisor Michael Flynn. [Trib]
-> Utah members of Congress are supportive of the Justice Department’s decision to select former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. [KUER]
-> The Utah House GOP Caucus threatened to sue Gov. Gary Herbert if he doesn’t call lawmakers into a special session to decide how to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz. House Speaker Greg Hughes said he expects the congressman will resign by the end of June. [Trib] [DNews]
Tweets of the day: From @JonahNRO: "Rosenstein was like, ‘Anyone? Anyone?.... Mueller? Mueller?’"
-> From @joshtpm: "President Trump, You Just Won The Special Prosecutor! What Are You Doing Next? Trump: I’m goin’ to Saudi!"
-> From @katherinemiller: "Ignore the haters, Coast Guard!"
-> From @mountain_goats: "’The Coast Guard, Mr. President. Oldest continuing U.S. seagoing service U.S. Plea--’ ‘I will tell them that the media is mean to me.’"
Happy Birthday: To state Rep. Christine Watkins.
In other news: When SB155 takes effect, Utah will have the toughest drunken driving laws in the country. Lawmakers are looking to tweak the law before then, and one of the potential reasons is a little-noticed provision that places harsher restrictions on immigrants. [Trib] [DNews] [FOX13]
-> After abandoning a tax reform plan during the 2017 legislative session, state lawmakers are looking for ways to raise Utah’s revenue — including a higher sales tax on food. [Trib]
-> Some state lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would enact "ranked-choice voting," but many county clerks oppose the idea. [Trib]
-> Educators are concerned about juvenile justice system reforms set to take effect in August. Under HB239, students can no longer be referred to law enforcement for school-based infractions. [DNews]
-> A researcher from Utah State University’s Bingham Entrepreneurship and Energy Research Center told lawmakers Wednesday that high ozone levels in the Uinta Basin will likely result in an intervention from the Environmental Protection Agency. [DNews]
-> Utah Department of Corrections officials told lawmakers Wednesday that its sex offender treatment program is undergoing significant changes in response to negative feedback it received from a recent performance audit. [Trib]
-> Counties are asking for more funding from the state to reduce the burden put on county jails after lawmakers recently reduced drug offense penalties. [DNews]
-> The trial for Abdullahi "Abdi" Mohamed, a teen shot by police in the Rio Grande neighborhood last year, is scheduled for June. Mohamed is charged with first-degree felony aggravated robbery and second-degree felony drug possession with intent to distribute. [Trib] [FOX13]
-> Salt Lake City’s plans to clean up the Rio Grande neighborhood include surveillance cameras and parking for police cars. [FOX13]
-> SLC Mayor Jackie Biskupski proposed putting Rose Park Golf Course under the city’s parks department. [KUER]
-> Salt Lake City and County worked together to produce a county-wide map of bikeways for National Bike Month. [DNews]
-> A passenger stopped a Utah Transit Authority bus from rolling into a busy intersection after it traveled 60 feet downhill. UTA officials said the driver failed to apply the manual brake. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Teachers in Alpine, Davis and Murray school districts will receive raises next year. [Trib]
-> A longtime member of the Granite School District Board of Education is resigning to serve a church mission. The school district is accepting applications for her replacement. [DNews]
-> The Salt Lake County Judicial Nominating Commission will meet June 12 to identify candidates for a vacancy in Alta Justice Court. [DNews]
-> According to the Utah Division of Water Resources, Utahns who have already started watering their lawns are wasting resources and money. [Trib]
-> Kanarraville leaders are considering severely restricting access to Kanarra Creek Canyon, a popular hiking destination, due to a trail’s proximity to the town’s drinking water source. [Trib]
-> Provo leaders are considering a $68 million proposal to rebuild the aging city center building. [KUTV]
Nationally: The Justice Department has selected former FBI director Robert Mueller to oversee a probe into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [Politico]
-> Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the country will give Congress recordings of Russian officials’ Oval Office conversation with President Trump — in which Trump allegedly divulged highly classified information — if he receives White House approval. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [Politico]
Where are they?
- Rep. Mia Love speaks with Utahns in the construction industry, participates in Financial Services’ Monetary Policy and Trade hearing, meets with veterans to discuss the impacts of tax code reform and votes on legislation at the Capitol.
- Gov. Gary Herbert heads to the Governor’s Monthly News Conference at KUED, talks with KSL for Let Me Speak to the Governor radio show, meets with State School Board members, then travels to Palo Alto, Calif., for an economic development visit.
- Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox attends the Rural Health Administrators Summit, meets with State School Board members, then participates in the UServe Utah Commission meeting. Later, he greets the president of Tournament of Roses, takes part in the Shelter the Homeless Board meeting and goes to Mountainland Technology College’s graduation.
- State Auditor John Dougall meets with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, sits down with the director of the Public Employees Health Plan, then speaks with some lawmakers.
- SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams participates in the Wasatch Front Regional Council meeting, takes part in the Shelter the Homeless Board meeting, then attends a dedication event for Strong Volkswagen.
-- Thomas Burr and Emily Anderson