Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Wednesday, 06 March 2019.
Early Warning: Asked about war in the region, the Philippine defense chief said that the U.S. was the more likely of the two countries to be involved in a war with China. “The United States, with the increased and frequent passage of its naval vessels in the West Philippine Sea, is more likely to be involved in a shooting war [with China]. In such a case and on the basis of the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Philippines will be automatically involved. It is not the lack of reassurance that worries me. It is being involved in a war that we do not seek and do not want.” (AC: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the Philippines last week to discuss regional security issues. Pompeo expressed U.S. assurance that it would come to the Philippines’ defense should it be attacked by Chinese forces over territorial disputes. The most recent statements from Philippines officials are not a warning of imminent war, but U.S. activity in the region carries the risk of conflict as the Chinese grow more determined to prevent the U.S. from interfering in regional matters.)
House subpoenas: Democratic House committees sent out 81 letters requesting documents associated with the Trump campaign or administration. So far, the White House has refused to comply with the demands of 30 investigations. “[The White House] shouldn’t roll over [on House subpoenas]. This entire exercise is to paralyze the administration and grind it to a halt,” says Scott Jennings, a former George W. Bush staffer. Meanwhile, White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued that the House “has failed to point to any authority establishing a legitimate legislative purpose for [its] unprecedented and extraordinarily intrusive demands.” Prepare for this to drag on, especially because some Democrats want it to remain an issue going into 2020.
CBP: Customs and Border Patrol reported yesterday that a decade-high 76,000 illegal immigrants came over the southern border last month. President Trump is using the numbers to justify the border wall, and the case is pretty simple: border walls built in strategic sections of the border will funnel illegal immigrants to areas where CBP can better interdict their travel.
NK: Several reports from yesterday claim that hours after the Trump-Kim summit fell apart, North Korea began rebuilding a rocket launch site. The main talking point after the abrupt end of the summit was that Trump kept the leverage by walking away. But rebuilding a launch site is how Kim regains some of that leverage and keeps the Trump administration engaged.
The President is scheduled to meet a former American hostage in Yemen, then participate in a Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting.
Secretary Pompeo: Nothing significant to report.
Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan has no publicly scheduled events.
Significant House Activity:
- Our Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure And The Need for Immediate Action (Ways and Means)
- GAO’s 2019 High Risk Report (Oversight and Reform)
Significant Senate Activity:
- Oversight hearing to examine CBP’s response to human smuggling (Judiciary)
* Only events pertinent to national security are listed. Significant reporting will appear in this week’s Strategic and National Intelligence reports.
These are the last publicly reported locations of deployed carrier groups. Those not listed were last reported in port.
The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as in the Strait of Singapore.
The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.
Russian missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov is transiting the English Channel, according to the Russian defense ministry. The command and control ship is joined by a logistics support ship, a rescue tug boat, and a sea tanker as it’s scheduled to make a long-distance voyage over the next few months. According to Russian state media, “The voyage aims to demonstrate the Russian Navy’s flag and provide for naval presence in operational areas of the long-distance oceanic zone.”
Far Left Daily
“This decision [to reject big donors’ outsized influence] will ensure I’m outraised in this race.” – Fundraising email from Sen. Elizabeth Warren who raised $300,000 her first 24 of announcing her run. Bernie Sanders raised $6 million in 24 hours.
“Operationally it’s going to be a really big challenge for them. It’s hard to put together a budget based on an unknown intake. It’s not just her losing a class of donors, she’s also pushing them to other operations and other campaigns. That in the long-term will be an issue.”- Former Obama campaign deputy finance director, on the Warren campaign’s fundraising challenges
“There have been some articles about this, a little bit of tension on the Democratic side: Are we going to veer to the far left or are we going to stay in the center? I don’t know where the Democratic Party will go, but I tell you what, I will stay in the center. People are going to have to take it or leave it.” – Freshman Congressman Ben McAdams (D-UT), when asked about the Far Left pull of freshman Democrats
“First, Democrats are more ideologically diverse than Republicans. Second, Democratic Party leaders are more divided on strategy than Republicans. [It’s a problem] especially if Democrats want to maintain their control of the legislative agenda and keep peace in the family.” – Matthew Green, political scientist at Catholic University
“The reality is that the Democratic Party is a diverse entity, racially, ethnically and ideologically. It is burdened — some would say blessed — with the problems of varied, often conflicting, interests. The struggle to come to terms with these tensions is constant and inescapable.” – New York Times Opinion writer Thomas B. Edsall
The Federal Reserve Beige Book, which shows a region by region breakdown of the U.S. economy, is expected to be published today. I’ll have that link in today’s National Intelligence Daily.
U.S. private payrolls missed estimates today. This and other data leads Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi to believe that job growth has hit its peak. “Job gains are still strong, but they have likely seen their high watermark for this expansion.” If accurate, that means an economic slowdown is in for 2019.
What I’m Looking at this Morning
“Mr. President — President Xi of China, we have a great relationship. I say, ‘How is it possible that you got away with this for so long?’ And he said, ‘Because nobody ever asked us to change.’ It’s true.” And they said to me, ‘We expected that somebody would call and say, “You cannot do that.” Nobody called so we left it.’ And I don’t blame them. We should have been doing the same thing to them. But we didn’t.” – President Trump at CPAC over the weekend, speaking about China’s exploitation of the U.S. economy