Former VP Joe Biden launches PAC — rekindling 2020 speculation. Utah senators praise possibility of leaving Paris climate accord. Mitt Romney schedules annual Park City summit.
Happy Thursday. Is former Vice President Joe Biden considering a run for president in 2020? While he hasn’t said as much, Biden is set to launch a new political action committee that signals — or at least sets off speculation about — a potential race for the White House. The PAC, called American Possibilities, looks to support candidates who believe in "ordinary people doing extraordinary things." [WaPost]
-> Trump declared June to be Outdoor Recreation Month but didn’t mention national parks in his proclamation. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @moviecricket: "Now Trump is going to have to end every tweet with some nonsense word, so people don’t think he’s gone crajaje"
-> From @rumpfshaker: "New York’s hottest nightclub is #covfefe. It has everything: Russian entanglements, spray tans, creepy handshakes, surprise trade wars"
-> From @MirandaSings: "my covfefe itches."
-> From @virgiltexas: "trump deleted the tweet because he saw your bad jokes about it"
Happy Birthday: To Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center Executive Director John Inch Morgan.
In other news: Brigham Young University professor Chia-Chi Teng attempted to file electronically to run for Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s soon-to-be vacant congressional seat but was rejected because he didn’t submit his application in person. Now Teng is suing the state. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Faieza Javed, one of four Democrats running for the 3rd District seat, withdrew her candidacy Wednesday. [DNews]
-> Utah company Squatty Potty dropped Kathy Griffin from a new ad campaign after photos released Tuesday showed her with a severed head that resembles Trump. [ABC4]
-> New Utah GOP Chairman Rob Anderson aims to mend the division between Republicans who favor the traditional caucus-convention system and those who support a path to the ballot by collecting signatures. [Trib]
-> Larry Ellertson, the nominee for chairman of the Utah Transportation Commission, survived a confirmation hearing during which he faced complaints and allegations from the public. [Trib]
->The LDS Church agreed to repay tithing donated by members convicted in a $25 million fraud case. [Trib]
-> The Salt Lake City climbing community signed a lease with the LDS Church to use its land at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon. [Trib]
-> The BLM agreed to reevaluate thousands of miles of motorized routes in the settlement of a lawsuit brought by environmental groups. Several Utah counties oppose the decision because they say it challenges their claims to some of the roads under review. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Utah’s Diesel Brothers, who have a show on the Discovery Channel, denied claims in a lawsuit that alleges the group violated the Clean Air Act by modifying pollution-control systems on diesel vehicles. [Trib]
-> The EPA filed a lawsuit against a Park City mining conglomerate because the agency believes they have not followed through with financial commitments to clean up hazardous tailings. [Trib]
-> Former Park City Mayor Dana Williams left office in 2014 but hopes to return to politics in another run for the position. [Trib]
-> Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas all recently voted to get rid of their 3.2 percent alcohol beer requirement, leaving Utah and Minnesota as the only states with the rule. Robert Gehrke argues that Utah should reconsider its position. [Trib]
-> Gehrke contends that the GOP’s fee for delegates to attend its nominating convention threatens the democratic legitimacy of the system. [Trib]
-> Former FBI Director James Comey will testify before Congress as early as next week regarding conversations with Trump about the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [Politico]
-> The United States may reinstate Russia’s access to two diplomatic compounds after the foreign country was kicked out in December as punishment for its alleged involvement in the presidential election. [WaPost]
-> The Trump administration is considering reinstating limits on travel and commerce relations with Cuba. [NYTimes]
Where are they?
- Gov. Gary Herbert holds a cabinet meeting, rolls out a new program, meets with an adjutant general and attends a Utah Sports Commission meeting. Later, he greets the Japanese consul general, participates in the opening of a new crime lab and heads to a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new pickleball court in Kaysville.
- Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox meets with the governor’s cabinet and launches a new program. He then speaks with his staff and attends a gala at Brigham Young University.
- State Auditor John Dougall hosts an annual summer career day for possible recruits to the state auditor’s office.
-- Courtney Tanner and Emily Anderson