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Thomas Burr

Washington D.C. bureau reporter, Government

202-662-8732, tburr@sltrib.com


  • (Scott Sommerdorf  |  Tribune file photo)    Gov. Gary Herbert doesn’t see the need for a special session of the Legislature to fill in the gaps of state law to fill a midterm vacancy in a U.S. House seat. He worries that a number of lawmakers looking at running for Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s seat would be tempted to use the opportunity to game the system. Herbert worries calling session would allow lawmakers to game special election
    Washington • Gov. Gary Herbert says he is wary of calling the Utah Legislature into special session to flesh out state law on electing a U.S. House me...
    Updated Apr 28 2017 10:45 am   |     |   Share

  • President Donald Trump holds up a signed Antiquities Executive Order during a ceremony at the Interior Department in Washington, Wednesday, April, 26, 2017. The president is asking for a review of the designation of tens of millions of acres of land as ’national monuments.’ (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Trump orders review of national monuments, says Bears Ears ‘should never have happened’
    Washington • Beneath a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt, President Donald Trump said Wednesday his order to review national monument designations over the ...
    Updated Apr 26 2017 11:12 pm   |     |   Share

  • Interior Secretary-designate, Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, prior to testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Zinke, 55, a former Navy SEAL now in his second term in Congress, was an early supporter of President-elect Donald Trump and, like his prospective boss, has expressed skepticism about the urgency of climate change. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Zinke will recommend Bears Ears fate within 45 days
    Washington • Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke says he will recommend possible action to change the Bears Ears National Monument within 45 days...
    Updated Apr 25 2017 11:09 pm   |     |   Share

  • Darlene McDonald • Possible Democrat challenger to Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah. Dem challenging Mia Love could lead to a first — two black women facing off in a Utah general election
    Washington • A Canyon Rim political newcomer has filed to seek the Democratic nomination to take on Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, arguing that the incumbent ...
    Updated Apr 26 2017 11:41 am   |     |   Share

  • FILE - In this Sept. 18, 1996, file photo, Vice President Al Gore applauds after President Bill Clinton signs a bill designating about 1.7 million acres of land in southern Utah’s red-rock cliff as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, at the Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona. As Utah waits to see if President Barack Obama will designate a new national monument in the state, the 20th anniversary of the Grand Staircase Escalante-National Monument rekindled memories of an event that ignited simmering western frustrations about federal ownership of public land. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File) Trump to order review of Bears Ears, Grand Staircase
    Washington • President Donald Trump this week will order a review of national monument designations — including southern Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand S...
    Updated Apr 25 2017 11:12 am   |     |   Share

  • FILE - In this May 17, 2016 file photo, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Congressional investigators say the government spends about three-fourths of its technology budget maintaining aging computer systems. That includes platforms more than 50 years old in such vital areas as nuclear weapons and Social Security. One still uses floppy disks. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) Chaffetz wants to know: What will happen with money Trump's businesses earn from foreign governments?
    Washington • The top two members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — including Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah — are asking Presi...
    Updated Apr 22 2017 11:05 am   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  Tribune file photo)   Rep. Jason Chaffetz has announced he will not seek re-election. ‘I might depart early,’ Chaffetz says
    Washington • Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he may step down early from his House seat, leaving a vacancy that would be filled by a special election that is...
    Updated Apr 22 2017 05:26 pm   |     |   Share

  • Courtesy  |  Kathryn Allen  Kathryn Allen. Chaffetz’s planned departure touches off mad scramble among would-be candidates
    Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s announcement Wednesday that he wouldn’t seek re-election set off a mad scramble among potential candidates in Utah to fill an un...
    Updated Apr 28 2017 10:45 am   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, meets with members of Utah’s Islamic Community in Salt Lake City, Wednesday February 8, 2017. Chaffetz won’t seek re-election, leaves option for 2020 gubernatorial run
    Washington • The House speaker tried to talk him out of it. The White House chief of staff said he was “shocked!” But Rep. Jason Chaffetz, in a move t...
    Updated Apr 28 2017 10:45 am   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    Evan McMullin speaks at his Election Eve Rally with and Mindy Finn, at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Monday, November 7, 2016. McMullin owes nearly $670,000 for his failed presidential bid
    Washington • Evan McMullin ran a long-shot — and ultimately failed — campaign last year to deny Donald Trump enough Electoral College votes to keep hi...
    Updated Apr 18 2017 11:20 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |   Tribune file photo)   Bears Ears formation rises above White Canyon along US Highway 95 near Natural Bridges National Monument in San Juan County.  The formation is at the heart of the newly designated  Bears Ears National Monument. House Dems: Documents show feds consulted with Utah leaders on Bears Ears before designation
    Washington • House Democrats say, based on thousands of pages of documents, that the Interior Department had worked and communicated with Utah elected...
    Updated Apr 13 2017 11:11 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Misty K. Snow speaks during the ’SLC Now What? Get Involved Rally’ at Salt Lake City and County Building Saturday November 12, 2016. Misty K. Snow launches her second campaign, this time challenging Rep. Chris Stewart
    Misty K. Snow, the headline-grabbing Democrat who challenged Sen. Mike Lee last year, has announced her next campaign. She’ll run in Utah’s 2nd Congre...
    Updated Apr 13 2017 11:34 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune)    U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, listens as Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, thanks him for speaking in the Utah Senate, Wednesday, February 22, 2017. Utah’s Hatch holds $3.5M campaign cash as he weighs re-election bid
    Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch says he intends to run again in 2018, and he’ll have a bulging campaign account ready to seek an eighth term. Hatch has ...
    Updated Apr 11 2017 11:48 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  | Tribune file photo)    Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is has a new book out about the forgotten Founders of the United States. Sen. Lee publishes new book about the country’s unsung heroes
    Washington • Sen. Mike Lee has penned a new book looking at the unsung heroes who helped found the United States and made sizable contributions to the...
    Updated Apr 11 2017 11:18 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Utah Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah addresses his supporters at the American Preparatory campus in Draper, Saturday, March 19, 2016. Republican presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Carly Fiorina and Glenn Beck were also in attendance. Mike Lee wants Trump to seek congressional approval for humanitarian military action
    Washington • After the U.S. airstrike on a Syrian base, Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul want Congress to take up legislation they introduced earlier this...
    Updated Apr 11 2017 09:30 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |   Tribune file photo)    Sen. Orrin Hatch answers a few questions from the media before giving the keynote address, at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition luncheon, at the Grand America, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Hatch says he’ll run again unless unexpected happens
    Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch says he intends to run for re-election — but he added that a formal decision won’t come until later this year, and he of...
    Updated Apr 15 2017 05:03 pm   |     |   Share

  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. is pursued by reporters as he leaves Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 6, 2017, after a meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. Nunes will temporarily step side from the panel’s investigation of Russian meddling in the election because of the complaints. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Utah’s Stewart disagrees with Nunes stepping down from Russia probe, calls ethics complaint ‘absurd’
    Washington • After taking heat for sharing surveillance information with President Donald Trump, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes ste...
    Updated Apr 06 2017 11:05 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Mitt Romney signed balls for fans as the Utah Jazz host the Sacramento Kings at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Wednesday December 21, 2016. Mitt Romney to headline Yellowstone fundraiser in D.C.
    Washington • Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney will headline a fundraiser in Washington next month to benefit Yellowstone National Park. The M...
    Updated Apr 04 2017 11:03 pm   |     |   Share

  • Senate Judiciary Committee members, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, confer on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 3, 2017, as the committee met to advance the nomination of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Hatch, Lee join other GOP senators to advance Gorsuch nomination to high court
    Washington • Along party lines, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, to the full...
    Updated Apr 03 2017 11:18 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  Tribune file photo)   Bears Ears Buttes are located near Comb Ridge, a few miles from Bluff. The area is part of the newly designated Bears Ears National Monument. Trump has the power to revoke Bears Ears monument declaration, report says
    Washington • If a president can declare a national monument, his successor can revoke it, a conservative think tank says in a new report that could pr...
    Updated Apr 13 2017 08:48 pm   |     |   Share

  • FILE - In this July 1, 2013, file photo, smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in Colstrip, Mont. President Trump’s latest move to support coal mining is unlikely to turn around the industry’s prospects immediately. Experts say the biggest problem faced by the mining industry today isn’t a coal shortage of coal or even the prospect of climate change regulations, but an abundance of cheap natural gas. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File) President Trump reverses clean power initiative, coal moratorium
    Washington • President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed executive orders reversing the Obama administration’s efforts to curtail carbon emissions as wel...
    Updated Mar 28 2017 11:20 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  Tribune file photo)   Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson takes the oath of office for her second six-year term in the Salt Lake County Council chamber,  Monday Jan. 5, 2015. Jenny Wilson vs. Orrin Hatch in 2018? Salt Lake County councilwoman considering U.S. Senate bid
    Washington • Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson said Monday she is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, arguing that Utahns need a D...
    Updated Mar 28 2017 04:54 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Thomas Burr  | The Salt Lake Tribune)    White House staff secretary Rob Porter, left, meets with Jon Huntsman Sr. at the White House on Thursday. Huntsman held the same job as Porter in the Nixon administration and dropped by to offer advice. Porter’s job is described as being the ’air traffic controller’ of the White House. Taking on a ‘key nerve center’ of the White House
    Washington • There are plenty of challenging jobs in the White House but only a few as critical and tough as serving as staff secretary, who essential...
    Updated Mar 27 2017 11:22 am   |     |   Share

  • President-elect Donald Trump smiles as he arrives to speak at an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) Majority of Utahns now view Trump favorably, poll shows
    Washington • President Donald Trump’s approval rating is increasing in Utah — a majority of registered voters now view him positively — even as his nu...
    Updated Mar 27 2017 11:24 am   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Congressman Chris Stewart speaks before members of the Utah Senate Thursday Feb. 9.  Stewart postponed Utah town hall because of planned health care vote — later aborted
    Washington • Rep. Chris Stewart postponed his planned town hall for tonight when House leaders said they would continue votes on the repeal and replac...
    Updated Mar 24 2017 10:44 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Attorney Sarah Brinton and environmental law professor Brigham Daniels at BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School in Provo, Thursday March 23, 2017. The two were instrumental in an online petition pressing Rep. Jason Chaffetz to conduct oversight into possible conflicts of interest involving President Donald Trump. Signatories include 25 BYU and University of Utah law professors. Utah law professors, constituents urge Chaffetz to investigate Trump — and poll shows voters agree
    Washington • Months before President Donald Trump was elected, Rep. Jason Chaffetz vowed to provide rigorous oversight if the then-GOP nominee followe...
    Updated Mar 24 2017 08:23 am   |     |   Share

  • Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch talks about playing basketball with former Supreme Court Justice Byron White as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2017, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Hatch emerges as Gorsuch cheerleader for the Supreme Court
    Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch, taking on his 14th confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, has emerged as a top cheerleader for nominee Neil Gorsuc...
    Updated Mar 21 2017 10:55 pm   |     |   Share

  • FBI Director James Comey, left, and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 20, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) FBI confirms Russia, Trump probe; Utah’s Stewart notes that doesn’t mean wrongdoing
    Washington • FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that there is an ongoing investigation into Russia’s hacking of the U.S. election and President...
    Updated Mar 21 2017 11:39 am   |     |   Share

  • Here's how President Trump's proposed budget hikes and spending cuts might affect Utah
    Washington • President Donald Trump unveiled a budget Thursday that would boost funding for the military, homeland security and veterans but cut deepl...
    Updated Mar 16 2017 11:45 pm   |     |   Share

  • |  Courtesy of Interior Department  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke with newly named acting BLM Director Michael Nedd.|  Courtesy of Interior Department  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke with newly named acting BLM Director Michael Nedd. Interior names energy and mineral chief new acting BLM director
    Washington • Michael Nedd, who had run the Bureau of Land Management’s office over energy and mineral programs, will take over as the acting director ...
    Updated Mar 15 2017 08:28 pm   |     |   Share