Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Tuesday, 13 March 2018. (All times Eastern.)
BREAKING: The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) concluded its investigation into possible collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, finding no evidence of collusion. Dissenting Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA) attacked the Republican findings, saying that more investigation is required. (Analyst Comment: Some 14 months of investigation have passed without producing evidence of collusion. If HPSCI Democrats have good leads on possible evidence, one would think that 14 months is enough time for discovery, especially considering the security and intelligence resources available. To recap, there have been 14 months of rumors and still zero evidence produced thus far. Special counsel Mueller, however, is still conducting his own investigation. President Trump is not out of hot water yet, and we don’t yet know if Mueller is going to recommend charges against the president, or for what. Has anyone else noticed the media begin to shift their narrative from “collusion investigation” to “obstruction investigation”? I’ll have additional information on the Mueller investigation in this Friday’s National Intelligence Bulletin.)
ALSO BREAKING: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is out. Details are in the State Department section.
Advanced Early Warning: British authorities have given Russian president Vladimir Putin until midnight (Greenwich Mean Time) to respond to accusations that Russian officials are behind the attempted murder of a former KGB spy living in the United Kingdom. The former KGB spy turned double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter are in critical condition after being poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent. Russia has a storied history of assassinating former spies who have defected to the West, particularly to the UK. Media reports indicate that British officials are preparing a response, which could include actions by other Western nations. [source]
In addition to receiving his daily intelligence briefing, the president is scheduled to fly to San Diego, California today to view border wall prototypes before attending a fundraiser at a private residence. Protests are likely in San Diego today.
SECSTATE Rex Tillerson was reported to have ‘fallen ill’ over the weekend after he was informed that President Trump had accepted North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s invitation to meet. We reported that on Monday, and the latest State Department schedule had Tillerson in meetings all day. CNBC is reporting that Tillerson is now out at the State Department, and will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. [source] Additional analysis will appear for subscribers in both the Strategic Intelligence Summary on Thursday, and the National Intelligence Bulletin on Friday.
SECDEF James Mattis made an unscheduled visit to Kabul, Afghanistan today. Numerous Defense officials are on Capitol Hill today to provide testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported to be in port in Da Nang, Vietnam, and the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) in port at Jebel Ali, UAE. Conflict requiring a Carrier Strike Group does not appear imminent.
The Senate is back in session today and holding hearings on a number of topics we’ll be watching. U.S. Central Command and Africa Command officials will be appearing in front of the Senate Armed Service Committee (SASC) shortly, which is followed by the SASC Subcommittee on Cybersecurity’s hearing on Cyber Posture of the Services. This afternoon, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on State Fragility, Growth and Development. We’ll produce reports for Strategic Intelligence subscribers, if warranted.
(1) After the resignation of ‘Globalist’ Gary Cohn as the president’s economic advisor, former Reagan official and CNBC financial commentator Larry Kudlow is being floated as a replacement. (2) I’ll be writing a report for National Intelligence subscribers this afternoon about why future U.S. growth will likely be dimmer than expected.
Due Out for Subscribers
— Report on SASC: U.S. Central Command and Africa Command (Strategic)
— Report on SASC: Cyber Posture of the Services (Strategic)
— Report on SFRC: State Fragility, Growth and Development (Strategic)
— Significant indicators of dim economic growth for the U.S. (National)
Yesterday’s Major Reporting
Footage of fast-moving unidentified flying object captured by F/A-18 released by Pentagon
Missile Defense Agency chief spells out threats and priorities
‘Highly toxic’ Chinese space station may crash into lower Michigan
Pentagon considering combatant command for space warfare
“I’ve become extremely concerned about Russia … We spent most of last year investing a lot into attempts to work together, to solve problems, to address differences. And quite frankly, after a year, we didn’t get very far. Instead what we’ve seen is a pivot on their part to be more aggressive.” – Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson