Orrin Hatch deploys sarcasm in his fight to see Judge Brett Kavanaugh confirmed. Critics decry the lack of public input in the inland port legislation, while top political leaders simply want to move on and leave controversy behind.
Happy Friday! Sen. Orrin Hatch is employing a new weapon in his battle to see Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh confirmed: sarcasm. In an op-ed piece, he mocks news stories about Kavanaugh’s credit card debt to buy baseball tickets and opponents' rush to fill in the blanks on their picket signs — asserting that there is no legitimate criticism of the judge. Democrats have, he argues, jumped the shark. (No mention in the piece of Merrick Garland). [Daily Beast]
Topping the news: The lack of public input and debate that has marked the development of Utah’s inland port legislation from the beginning continued during Wednesday’s special session. The bill had just one public hearing in which residents showing up to express their views had one minute to speak. [Trib]
-> But top political leaders and inland port boosters say now that the bill has passed they want to leave controversy behind. [DNews]
-> An ongoing federal probe into Utah Transit Authority apparently includes a possible conflict of interest for House Speaker Greg Hughes, who was once chairman of UTA’s board. This marks the third conflict controversy for Hughes in little more than a year. [Trib]
-> The Utah Jazz are the latest to drop Papa John’s Pizza as a sponsor after the company’s CEO, John Schnatter, was reported to have used the n-word during a conference call. The University of Utah may soon follow. [Trib]
Tweets of the day: From @maxwellstrachan: “the worst invention of the 21st century is the phrase ‘Took To Twitter’”
-> From @StephenAtHome: “Trump was briefed about Putin’s election meddling two weeks before the election? That’s surprising, because I’m guessing he knew way before that.”
Happy Birthday: On Sunday to state Rep. Eric Hutchings and former West Valley City Councilman Corey Rushton.
Behind the Headlines: Tribune reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack, government and politics editor Dan Harrie and columnist Robert Gehrke join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the week’s top stories, including President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and changes to Utah’s inland port law.
Every Friday at 9 a.m., stream “Behind the Headlines” online at kcpw.org or tune in to KCPW 88.3 or Utah Public Radio for the live broadcast.
-> Representatives from the Lummi Nation stopped in Salt Lake City on their way to the Bears Ears Meadow summer gathering to display a 9-foot tall bear totem symbolizing support for restoration of the Bears Ears National Monument. [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley suggests that the inland port legislation was a sort of pirate raid on Salt Lake City Hall. [Trib]
-> Robert Gehrke says Bird’s dockless electric scooters, while they may be the future of transportation in big cities, need to first undergo regulation. [Trib]
Nationally: According to the White House, President Donald Trump is planning to invite Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Washington this fall for another meeting between the two leaders. [NYTimes] [CNN] [WaPost]
-> Morale is allegedly at a low in Trump’s White House as staffers consider accelerating their departures following Trump’s highly criticized performance in Helsinki, Finland. [Politico]
-> A new talking point is emerging among President Donald Trump’s most vocal online supporters: that Russia hacking the 2016 presidential election was a positive thing. [TheAtlantic]
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-- Dan Harrie and Connor Richards