Early Warning for 15 January 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Tuesday, 15 January 2019.


Statehood: In addition to calling for statehood for Puerto Rico, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is now calling for statehood for the District of Columbia. Last Friday, the Warren 2020 campaign sent out an email saying that D.C. residents deserve statehood because they federal pay taxes, serve in the military, live under our national laws, and are more populace than Wyoming or Vermont. [source] They also vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, and statehood would provide two reliably Democrat senate seats.


White House

The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing, have lunch with Congressional leaders (border wall negotiations), and then participate in a conference call on the border crisis.

Shutdown: 25 days. President Trump yesterday rejected a compromise proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to re-open government for three weeks. We remain at an impasse.

Up to bat: A federal judge in Washington is expected to rule soon in three lawsuits against the federal government that allege the government’s failure to pay workers violates the Fair Labor Standards Act. A single federal judge could re-write the rules of the partial government shutdown through the ruling.


State Department

Secretary Pompeo has no publicly scheduled events.

Foreign Matters: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro ordered the extradition of a communist militant and convicted murderer back to Italy. In a tweet, President Bolsonaro’s son, a member of Brazilian parliament, told Italy’s Matteo Salvini, “Brazil is no longer a land of bandits. The ‘little gift’ is on its way.” Bolsonaro is a right wing populist who has promised to fight back against radical Marxism in the country.


Defense Department

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has no publicly scheduled events.

Border Mission: In a statement released yesterday, the Defense Department confirmed that it would be supporting the DHS mission at the southwest border through 30 September 2019. Activities include “hardening ports of entry to mobile surveillance and detection, as well as concertina wire emplacement between ports of entry”. [source]

These are the last publicly reported locations of these ships. Conflict requiring an aircraft carrier/carrier strike group does not appear imminent.

The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported on a three month deployment to the Western Pacific.

The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as in the Persian Gulf.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as having returned to home port in Yokosuka, Japan.

The George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) was last reported as having returned to Norfolk.


Bold indicates significant changes to last reported location or other amplifying information.



King: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and GOP leadership stripped Rep. Steve King (R-IA) of his committee assignments on Monday evening. In a recent New York Times interview, King questioned why “white supremacy [and] white nationalism” were offensive. In a statement, King claimed that the quote was taken out of context and that he was asking why “Western civilization” was offensive. King denounced white nationalism in the statement. Additionally, two Democrats introduced resolutions to censure Rep. King. The House is expected to vote on censure today.

Significant House Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • The Judiciary Committee meets today to hold confirmation hearings on Robert Barr for Attorney General.

* Only events pertinent to national security are listed. Significant reporting will appear in this week’s Strategic and National Intelligence reports



Out today: Earnings reports for JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo. These numbers are largely seen as a barometer of corporate and economic health. JP Morgan reported a rise in profits but missed earnings expectations. Wells Fargo numbers weren’t published at the time of this report.

In a recent panel discussion, DoubleLine Capital’s Jeff Gundlach repeated calls that U.S. economic growth is artificial. “I’m not looking for a terrible economy [in 2019], but an artificially strong one, due to stimulus spending. We have floated incremental debt when we should be doing the opposite if the economy is so strong.” [source]


What I’m Looking at this Morning

U.S., Australia begin anti-submarine exercise off the coast of Guam [China]

U.S. Marines and sailors complete ‘first step’ in building long-term Latin America task force

One-third of Britain’s air force can’t fly

Debt denial is a threat to America


Notable Quotable

“For the last two years it’s been impossible not to have to talk about politics. Most Americans are sick of that. I think you can win in 2020 by promising that if you become president, people can go back to talking about football.” – Yascha Mounk, associate professor, Johns Hopkins

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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