Five things to watch for in today’s Comey hearing. Utah Policy poll shows Utahns split on why they think Trump fired Comey. McAdams calls for Ott to resign.
Happy Thursday. It’s the most anticipated hearing in Washington in a long time: Former FBI Director James Comey will testify this morning about his conversations with President Donald Trump wherein the longtime lawman says Trump asked for loyalty and for him to "lift the cloud" of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and Trump associates. While we’ve already seen Comey’s written testimony, his answers to questions could be illuminating -- or he could clam up. Here are five things to watch for today: [Politico]
Topping the news: A new Utah Policy poll shows that Utahns are almost equally divided on the reason they believe President Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, while in national polls the majority of the country believes the cause was Comey’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. [Trib]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch said he supports Trump’s selection for FBI director, former Assistant Attorney General Christopher Wray. [Trib]
-> The EPA will extend the deadline for Utah to meet the 2015 standard for ozone pollution by one year so that the state has more time to develop an air quality plan. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @mattklewis: "’Comey & Trump’ would make a great buddy cop duo. (A ‘by the book’ investigator is assigned a rookie partner who plays by his own rules...)"
-> From @mikegehrke: "If I were a senator questioning Comey tomorrow I would start by asking all the other senators, the press and staff to leave the room..."
-> From @Rob_Flaherty: "tune in to animal planet tomorrow for the puppy senate intelligence committee hearing about russian interference in the 2016 election"
-> From @CharlesPPierce: "My rule for gracious living: do not bring up hookers in a conversation with the FBI director unless he asks first."
Happy Birthday: To Utah State University journalism professor Matthew LaPlante and our friend Derek Jensen.
In other news: The number of candidates competing to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz has dropped to 20. [DNews]
-> Negotiations between Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the city’s police union are at a deadlock after the mayor’s proposed budget gives officers a 1 percent raise rather than the requested 4.5 percent. [Trib] [KUER]
-> Before the deadline on Wednesday to file to run for the Salt Lake County Council, a dozen more candidates threw their hats into the ring. [DNews]
-> After University of Utah President David Pershing’s decision to resign earlier this year, Utah Higher Education Commissioner Dave Buhler said that the process to replace him will take eight to 12 months. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Rules restricting black men in the LDS Church from receiving the priesthood were lifted nearly 40 years ago, but many members of color still experience racism within the religion. [Trib]
-> Black members of the LDS Church made suggestions to improve race relations among the laity. [Trib]
-> The Utah Division of Water Resources launched a new water conservation program called "Hall of Fame or Shame," where neighbors can report good or bad watering habits. [FOX13]
-> Utah transportation officials aren’t waiting for infrastructure grants promised by President Trump — they’re already making plans to overhaul the state’s roads. [KUER]
-> With the help of Bike Utah, UTA will begin training its drivers how to be safe around cyclists on the road. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on reports that Eric Trump funneled some money from his charity — which was meant to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — to the Trump Foundation. [Trib]
-> Robert Gehrke argues that the Our Schools Now ballot initiative to increase education funding would be more effective if it threw out the proposal to raise sales tax, implemented a progressive income tax and distributed money based on district income rather than per pupil. [Trib]
Nationally: Congress released former FBI Director James Comey’s written testimony ahead of his appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee in which he said President Trump asked him to "lift the cloud" cast over his administration by the investigation into their ties with Russia. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [Politico]
Where are they?
- Rep. Mia Love takes part in a Financial Services Committee legislative meeting, sits down with GOP leaders to strategize, votes at the Capitol and returns to Utah.
- Gov. Gary Herbert goes to a Jr. Achievement Breakfast, holds a Governor’s Office of Economic Development meeting, then films with the Department of Workforce Services. Later, he visits Girls State and takes a tour of Holcim, Inc. Cement Plant.
- State Auditor John Dougall has breakfast with a lawmaker, speaks with a couple of county commissioners, then gives a radio interview. He also sits down with a school board member, meets with a school business administrator and talks to various rural county officials.
- SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams attends United Way of Salt Lake’s scholarship award breakfast and speaks at the Salt Lake County Economic Development’s Metro Solutions event.
-- Thomas Burr and Emily Anderson