Bernie Sanders is busy strengthening his political team, a sign that the Vermont senator could be close to deciding on a 2020 presidential bid. Sanders has been in talks with a media production company that helped boost Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s also brought on board two digital directors who helped him during his 2016 bid for the White House. The activity indicates Sanders is poised to run another grassroots campaign powered by liberal activists and social media. David Duhalde, political director of the Sanders-founded Our Revolution, said this infrastructure gives Sanders an edge over his potential 2020 rivals. “Senator Sanders maintains an organic and very expansive social media following that really only he has,” Duhalde said. [Politico]

Happy Monday

Topping the news: Utah Rep. Jim Dunnigan has chosen to abandon a proposal to reduce the penalty for possessing child pornography. Instead, Dunnigan is pursuing a bill that would increase the penalty of making child pornography to a potential life sentence. [Trib] [KUTV]

-> Sen. Mike Lee is introducing a piece of legislation intended to prevent future government shutdowns by funding the government when Congress is unable to pass a budget. However, the legislation would also cut government spending by 1 percent after the first 120 days and then cut it again every 90 days until a budget is approved. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has appointed Shawn Newell — Industrial Supply Company vice president of business development and vice president of the Salt Lake branch of the NAACP — to represent District 10 on the Utah State Board of Education. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Utah Senate. [Trib] [DNews]

Tweets of the day: From @RobertGehrke: “Met a guy tonight who thought Nixon was really, really great. Why do I leave my house?"

-> From @KamalaHarris: “We have to get the government back up and running, and stop holding the American people hostage because of the President’s vanity project.”

-> From @GovHerbert: “Our hearts are with the Shinners family today as we join them in mourning the loss of Provo Police Officer Joseph William Shinners. God bless this dear family and all the men and women in uniform who keep our communities safe.”

-> From @tomtomorrow: “could we get a constitutional amendment that says the president is not allowed to tweet on weekends? I dunno about you but I need a break now and then.”

In other news: A Utah representative is sponsoring a bill intended to discourage Utahns from fraudulently claiming a need for a support animal. [Trib] [Fox13]

-> A funeral was held for the Provo police officer who was killed in Orem while apprehending a fugitive. [Trib] [Fox13] [ABC4] [KSL]

-> The family of a missing West Valley woman, Susan Cox Powell, won an appeal from the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, allowing them to sue the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services over the deaths of Susan’s children. [Trib] [Fox13] [KSL]

-> Columnist Robert Gehrke describes a turf battle between Salt Lake City and Millcreek City. The conflict could play out this year in the Utah Legislature, he writes. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley illustrates U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., seizing the GOP elephant by the tie. [Trib]

Nationally: The current government shutdown is now the longest in history as it stretches out to 24 days, lasting longer than the 21-day shutdown that occurred under President Bill Clinton in 1995. Inside the White House, tensions are flaring as negotiations over reopening the government have stalled. [NYTimes] [WaPost]

-> Due to pressure from advisers and congressional Republicans, President Donald Trump has retreated from declaring a national emergency in order to pay for the border wall. [NYTimes] [WaPost]

-> Current and former U.S. officials claim President Trump has attempted to conceal details about meetings he has had with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past two years. During an interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, President Trump disputed these accusations and said he did not attempt to hide information on his meetings with the Russian leader. [WaPost] [NYTimes] [Politico]

-> A poll conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post shows that a greater percentage of Americans blame President Trump and congressional Republicans for the government shutdown than blame Democrats. According to the same poll, 42 percent of Americans say they support a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico; only 34 percent indicated they were in favor in January 2018. [WaPost]

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-- Bethany Rodgers and Sahalie Donaldson