Advanced Early Warning: President Trump selected 53-year-old Brett Kavanaugh as his next Supreme Court nominee, and already Democrats and their far-Left base are gearing up for a fight that they likely will lose, given three political realities: A Republican majority in the Senate; some Democratic senators in states Trump won by large margins — and who are up for reelection in November — are likely to support the nominee; there is no longer a filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. That doesn’t mean Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings won’t be testy or confrontational.
ALSO: Confrontations involving Trump administration officials appear to be increasing. In recent days reports involving angry constituent encounters involving presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, Stephan Miller, and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon have been published. These come after angry encounters involving DHS Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Washington Post noted that figures in past administrations have sometimes been targeted, but added: “Yet what distinguishes the Trump era’s turbulence is the sheer number of his deputies — many of them largely anonymous before his inauguration — who have become the focus of planned and sometimes spontaneous public fury.”
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump departed the White House at 7:10 a.m. enroute to Brussels, Belgium, for a NATO summit. They will arrive around 9:00 p.m.
Vice President Pence is touring states in the Midwest in support of GOP candidates and incumbents ahead of the 2018 midterms. His tour will begin in Kansas City, Mo., in Wednesday.
Secretary of State
Secretary Pompeo is traveling. His official schedule has him visiting Pyongyang, Tokyo, Hanoi, Kabul, Abu Dhabi, and Brussels, where he will join President Trump for the NATO Summit. He made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on 9 July. Today he meets with UAE Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi, in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Deputy Secretary Sullivan is attending briefings and meetings at the State Department.
Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis is traveling. Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. have no public or media events on their schedules.
Secretary Mattis will link up with POTUS and Pompeo at the NATO Summit in Brussels. Following the summit, Mattis is scheduled to travel to Zagreb, Croatia, where he will meet with defense ministers of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter to reinforce U.S. support to southeast Europe. From there, he will travel to Oslo, Norway, where he will meet with Norwegian Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen and Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide. (ADMIN NOTE: We will have more in-depth analysis on this in our upcoming Strategic Intelligence Summary on Thursday.)
Aircraft carrier activity:
The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) left Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam Airfield in Hawaii and is now operating in the region.
The Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) is on patrol in the Atlantic.
The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is transiting the Philippine Sea on patrol.
All other carriers are in homeport.
No conflicts requiring a Carrier Strike Group appear imminent.
The House has a light committee schedule today but has several pieces of legislation to consider.
The Senate Veterans Affairs and Foreign Relations committees meet today, but otherwise, the chamber has a light committee schedule.
The chamber convenes at 10:00 a.m. and proceeds to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination of Mark Jeremy Bennett, of Hawaii, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
Significant congressional/political reporting:
- Democratic candidates for the House and Senate are breaking with the progressive Left faction of the party over calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, fearing they will lose support from moderate voters. That said, Leftist candidates in safe districts are ramping up their call to abolish ICE, which the moderate faction of the party says is not realistic.
- The Hill: “The effort to convince wavering Democrats that he’s not a right-wing ideologue began in his acceptance speech, where Kavanaugh tried to head off liberal concerns that he might, if confirmed, set the nation back decades on issues pertaining to gender equality and civil rights.”
- The Left’s concerns are that Kavanaugh, if confirmed, could join the court’s four other conservatives to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. Obviously, the high court cannot do that unless or until it accepts a review case, and that is a high bar. But Democrats are holding out that possibility as a means of opposing his confirmation and turning out voters this fall.
- Trump’s immigration enforcement policies at the U.S.-Mexico border dominated much political coverage by the media in June and that has continued into July. Meanwhile, the Trump administration told a federal judge on Monday that the government will not meet today’s court-ordered deadline for reuniting all of the children aged 4 and younger who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent weeks as a result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, now halted.
- In a tweet, the president once again voiced his displeasure with the cost of medications, saying if companies did not lower prices the government would act. It’s not clear what actions Trump would take.
(1) The U.S. trade deficit with China has hit a new record — $152,237,500,000 for the first five months of 2018, according to data released Friday by the Census Bureau.From January through May, the Census Bureau reports, the United States exported $52,902,300,000 in goods to China while importing $205,139,800,000 in good from China. The worsening deficit could prompt the president consider additional tariffs.
(2) The ‘coming labor shortage’ in the U.S. is expected to be great news for workers. As the shortage grows, economists expect wages to rise dramatically as companies compete for available workers or to lure quality workers away from other firms. “America’s labor shortage is approaching epidemic proportions, and it could be employers who end up paying,” CNBC reported this week. That was before yet another monthly jobs report showing solid growth in jobs and wages.
(1) Tropical Storm Chris continues to move northeast along a parallel axis with the U.S. East Coast, well out into the Atlantic. It is also expected to become a hurricane today. Its track will see it make landfall along Canada’s extreme eastern reaches, likely by the weekend.
(2) The remnants of Beryl are producing gusty winds and areas of heavy rain over portions of central and eastern Hispaniola, and the adjacent Atlantic and Caribbean waters. This system is expected to move west-northwestward across the rest of Hispaniola today and over the southeastern Bahamas this evening. Little development is expected during the next day or so due to land interaction and unfavorable upper-level winds. The disturbance is forecast to turn northward over the western Atlantic on Wednesday where upper-level winds could become a little more conducive for the regeneration of a tropical cyclone later this week. Regardless of development, locally heavy rains and gusty winds are likely over portions of Hispaniola and the Bahamas as the remnants of Beryl move through those areas.
Yesterday’s Significant Reporting
“It is patently ridiculous for the U.N. to spend its scarce resources — more of which come from the United States than from any other country — studying poverty in the wealthiest country in the world, a country where the vast majority is not in poverty, and where public and private-sector social safety nets are firmly in place to help those who are,” writes U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley in National Review.