Early Warning for 13 June 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Wednesday, 13 June 2018. (All times Eastern.)

 

Advanced Early Warning: Tensions are increasing between the Trump administration and Congress over the former’s continued refusal to hand over subpoenaed documents relating to ongoing investigations into Obama-era abuses. Fox News reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to “subpoena” phone, email, and other records of Republicans and their staffers on the House Intelligence Committee (not Democrats, apparently) after the panel threatened to hold him in contempt for stonewalling. The DoJ and FBI are denying this. So is Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It’s not clear yet what the White House response will be if anything.

ALSO: Reports bubbling to the surface note that China removed ground-to-air missile batteries from Woody Island in the Paracels chain of the South China Sea less than two weeks before President Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this week. The removal of missile systems was noted by Israeli intelligence, via satellite. It’s not clear why the Chinese removed them. Speculation is that Beijing did so either as a gesture of goodwill to the U.S. and allies in the region regarding the summit or because the Trump administration recently agreed to a face-saving deal with Chinese telecom company ZTE, extracting fines and agreeing to monitor — which saved scores of Chinese jobs.


White House

POTUS Trump arrived back at the White House from Singapore at 5:50 a.m. He has nothing on his calendar for today.


State Department

Secretary Mike Pompeo remained behind in Singapore and will visit leaders in South Korea and China 13-14 June.

Deputy Secretary John Sullivan meets with President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado at the State Department at 5:00 p.m.


Defense Department

Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. have no public or media events on their schedules.

Air Force Maj. Gen. John Rauch Jr., commander, Air Force Safety Center, Rear Adm. Mark Leavitt, commander, Naval Safety Center, and Army Brig. Gen. David Frances, commanding general, U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center, and director, Army Safety, provide testimony on aviation safety at 10:00 a.m. to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

Army Col. Scott Jackson, director, commander, 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade, Resolute Support, will brief the media by video at 11:00 a.m. in the Pentagon Briefing Room to provide an update on operations.

Aircraft carrier movement/activities:

Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) moved out of the Adriatic Sea and is now in the Mediterranean Sea.

Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is operating in the Western Pacific and is now operating off the coast of Guam.

George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) is sailing off the coast of Virginia.

The Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) has returned to port in Norfolk, Va.

A conflict requiring a Carrier Strike Group does not appear imminent.


Congress

House:

Senate:

9:30 a.m.: Convene and resume consideration of H.R.5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.

Senate hearings:

  • 9:30 AM —  SR-328A
Business meeting to consider an original bill entitled, “2018 Farm Bill”.
  • 10:00 AM —  SD-366
Hearings to examine S.3001, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain land and facilities of the Central Valley Project, H.R.132, to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain land and appurtenances of the Arbuckle Project, Oklahoma, to the Arbuckle Master Conservancy District, and H.R.1967, to amend the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 to authorize pumped storage hydropower development utilizing multiple Bureau of Reclamation reservoirs.
  • 10:00 AM —  SD-406
Hearings to examine innovation and America’s infrastructure, focusing on the effects of emerging autonomous technologies on America’s roads and bridges.
  • 10:00 AM —  SD-419
Hearings to examine the nominations of Kimberly Breier, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary (Western Hemisphere Affairs), Kenneth S. George, of Texas, to be Ambassador to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, and Joseph N. Mondello, of New York, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, all of the Department of State.
  • 10:00 AM —  SD-342
[This committee has multiple business items on its agenda. Click the link to learn more.]
  • 10:00 AM —  SD-226
Hearings to examine confronting sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct in the Federal judiciary.
Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans
  • 10:00 AM —  SD-215
Hearings to examine employer perspectives on multiemployer pension plans.
  • 2:30 PM —  SD-628
Business meeting to consider H.R.1491, to reaffirm the action of the Secretary of the Interior to take land into trust for the benefit of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians; to be immediately followed by an oversight hearing to examine the Government Accountability Office high-risk list, focusing on turning around vulnerable Indian programs.
  • 2:30 PM —  SR-253
An oversight hearing to examine the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
  • 2:30 PM —  SD-406
An oversight hearing to examine the Army Corps’ regulation of surplus water and the role of states’ rights.
  • 2:30 PM —  SR-418
Hearings to examine the nomination of John Lowry III, of Illinois, to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training.

 


Economy

(1) Weekly mortgage applications fell 1.5 percent last week as interest rates edged upward, following a brief rise in applications interest rates suddenly dropped a few weeks ago. Year-to-year, applications are down 15.4 percent from 2017, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted report. Refinance volume also fell another 2 percent and is off nearly 34 percent from a year ago, when interest rates were lower.

(2) POTUS Trump is planning to reimpose tariffs on China by Friday or early next week after he rejected Beijing’s offer of agreeing to $80 billion in guaranteed U.S. agriculture purchases as a means of offsetting the trade imbalance. Trump’s China trade advisor, Peter Navarro, said on Tuesday that the president is planning to impose tariffs on a “subset” of Chinese imports that the administration included in an original list of roughly $50 billion in targeted products in April.


Weather

There are no major storms threatening CONUS United States or any U.S. territories.


Yesterday’s Significant Reporting

Mueller is Trying to Hide Evidence from Defendants in Russian Trolls Case

Gay Americans are arming themselves to stay alive

DNC Votes to Require Dem 2020 Primary Candidates Be Registered Party Members (think of this as an effort to keep Bernie Sanders out)


Notable Quotable

“We just came off a devastating presidential loss in 2016. It would seem to me the actual impetus would be to expand the Democratic party. I just for the life of me don’t see any motivation for this beyond personal spite.” — Mark Longabaugh, who was a senior adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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