‘The Rundown’: Why is Mike Lee blocking a Biden nominee who will oversee the January 6 prosecutions?

Lee won’t say, but it could be related to a letter Lee sent to the Biden administration asking whether 1/6 rioters are treated more harshly than Black lives matter protesters.

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(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Sen. Mike Lee takes on one of the questions asked by Apple CEO Tim Cook during a fireside chat at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.

Why is Mike Lee blocking a Biden nominee who will oversee the January 6 prosecutions?

Multiple reports say Utah Sen. Mike Lee has put a hold on the nomination of Matthew Graves to become the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C.

If confirmed, Graves’ office would oversee the prosecution of those charged in the attempted insurrection on January 6. That office would also handle any legal action against Steve Bannon, who the House committee investigating the January 6 attack voted to hold in contempt for ignoring their subpoena.

Lee’s office has not responded to a request for comment.

But Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson may give us a clue into Lee’s motives. Johnson’s office tells Insider he’s holding up the confirmation until the Biden administration responds to a letter asking whether those arrested in the January 6 riot are treated more harshly than people arrested during the Black lives matter protests last summer.

Lee was one of four other Republicans who joined Johnson in signing the letter.

Here’s what you need to know for Thursday morning

🚨 West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin has told associates he is considering leaving the Democratic Party if President Joe Biden doesn’t agree to his demands to cut the price tag on a massive social spending proposal. Manchin has denied the report. [Mother Jones]

💻 Former President Donald Trump announced he is launching a new social media platform called Truth Social. [NYT]

  • Trump’s site, which bills itself as a beacon of free speech, will ban users from criticizing the platform. [Deadline]

⚖️ Dave Robinson, the former communications director for the Salt Lake County GOP, threatens to file a $30 million lawsuit. He claims Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson publicly rebuking him for alleged harassment claims “opened the flood gates” for other public officials to pile on. [Tribune]

🗳 Rep. Steve Christiansen tried to use his elected office to get the private information for thousands of Utah voters, including those who asked to keep that information from being released publicly. Christiansen has been a major proponent of calling for an audit of Utah’s 2020 election results. [Tribune]

🏛 Sen. Lincoln Fillmore is proposing legislation to require classroom materials for K-12 social science classes to be posted online for parents to review in advance. [Tribune]

⚖️ Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill says prosecutors will no longer offer plea deals to defendants accused of gun-related crimes. [Tribune]

🏛 Months after helping pass reforms for the “troubled teen” industry in Utah, celebrity Paris Hilton is taking that effort to Congress. [Tribune]

💉 The FDA authorized COVID-19 booster shots and said it was okay to “mix and match” vaccines from different manufacturers. [CNN]

💉 Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson says the county will offer a financial incentive to employees who get COVID vaccinations. [Tribune]

🏛 Democrats in Congress are considering their next move after Republicans again block voting rights legislation. [NYT]

🚛 California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to help relieve some of the backlogs at crowded ports. He ordered state agencies to find state, federal and private land for short-term shipping container storage. [CNN]

🌎 Leaked documents show several countries have lobbied the U.N. to downplay the need to move away from fossil fuels. [BBC]

Thursday morning’s Utah news roundup


  • Republican lawmakers flush bill requiring low-flow plumbing fixtures. [Tribune]

  • Power Generation on the Colorado is drying up. [Tribune]

  • Cila, a tiger at Utah’s Hogle Zoo, dies at 18. [Tribune]

  • Radio host Gaby Ramos, killed in Taylorsville shooting, remembered at vigil. [Tribune]


  • Another 11 Utahns die from COVID-19 as the state reports 1,410 new coronavirus cases. [Tribune]

  • Utah prepares for COVID-19 vaccine rollout for kids ages five through eleven. [FOX13]

  • GOP lawmakers may seek ‘personal’ exemption to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. [KUTV]


  • Utah police say they prevented a school shooting and have arrested a 15-year-old girl. [Tribune]

  • Canyons School District brings back six ‘remote learning Fridays’. [FOX13]

  • Public school with ties to polygamous Kingston group looks to expand. [FOX13]

  • How $15 million gift will help University of Utah double high-demand computer science grads. [Deseret News]

Local Government

  • Midvale mayoral candidates seek the best formula for a vibrant, walkable city. [Tribune]

  • Summit County proposes its largest operating budget ever. [Park Record]

  • Google Fiber is coming to Springville after City Council approval. [Daily Herald]


  • Data from Utah patients helps find a genetic link to vertigo, researchers report. [Tribune]

  • What role Utah researcher played in pioneering surgery to attach pig kidney in human. [Deseret News]


  • Mary Barker: The recognition of privilege used to be a core conservative value. [Tribune]

  • Sarah Stock: Regional Haze Rule is important for our community and must be enforced to do the most good. [Tribune]

— The Tribune’s Connor Sanders contributed to this report.