Good Morning. Here’s your Early Warning for 2 July 2018. (All times Eastern.)
Advanced Early Warning: As expected, Mexicans have elected Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as their next president. AMLO, as he is known, won in a landslide. He becomes the country’s most Left-wing president in Mexico’s democratic history at a time of tense relations with the U.S. and the Trump administration. In campaign speeches, AMLO has struck a confrontational tone regarding President Trump, but campaigning and governing are two different things. Sam and Jon will be watching closely for developments when AMLO takes power this fall.
ALSO: Three weeks after Kim Jong-un’s historic summit with President Trump, there are multiple signs that North Korea is continuing and expanding work at the country’s nuclear facilities. Kim pledged complete denuclearization during the summit. In particular, U.S. intelligence officials say may have recently increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites. We will have more on this in this week’s Strategic Intelligence Summary.
President Trump will meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 11:30 a.m., followed by a meeting with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte at 2:30 p.m.
At 10:30 a.m., Secretary Pompeo meets with Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq Jan Kubis. He will meet POTUS Trump at 11:30 a.m., and then accompanies the president during his meetings with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Deputy Secretary John Sullivan has returned to Washington, D.C. Today he attends meetings and briefings at the State Department.
Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, 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.
Aircraft carrier activity:
The Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) has left the Mediterranean Sea and is now operating in the Atlantic due to increased Russian submarine activity, in support of NATO (see story link below in Yesterday’s Significant Reporting). Media reports noted that the Truman Strike Group embarked with an extensive escort fleet that will include up to six guided-missile destroyers and the German Navy guided missile frigate FGS Hessen (F 221). The U.S. destroyers are equipped with effective anti-submarine warfare packages that work well in the Atlantic but aren’t typically deployed there.
The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is on a port call in the Philippines.
All other carriers are in homeport.
No conflicts requiring a Carrier Strike Group appear imminent.
11:00 a.m.: The Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications will hold a hearing on addressing school security issues.
There are no scheduled committee hearings or events today.
Significant Congressional Reporting:
- The Hill: “Get ready for a long, hot summer filled with protests, extreme rhetoric, and unexpected intraparty skirmishes ahead of the 2018 midterm elections this fall.” Over the weekend, protests against the Trump administration’s border enforcement policies in hundreds of cities drew scores of demonstrators, with some erupting in violence. Also, the retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy is liable to lead to a bitter fight in the Senate from Democrats, though they have few tools to stop an eventual nominee.
- Regarding Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, three conservative groups — American Family Association, American Principles Project and Judicial Action Group — this morning will urge the president to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 46 (she is on the president’s list of candidates). The groups, in a letter, describe the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge as “tested” and “confirmable,” and say she has a “compelling story that preempts the liberal playbook.” According to reports, Trump will announce his pick on July 9 (next Monday).
- Abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has picked up momentum among Democrats. Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) have all publicly called for the agency to be disbanded. Last week, President Trump vowed it would “never happen.”
- Ahead of the 2018 midterms, some Democratic analysts are warning that “outrage” could become an impediment to victory.
- White House national security adviser John Bolton told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Washington has devised a one-year program that could dismantle North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.
(1) Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Monday that there’s no level on the downside in the stock market that would alter the way President Trump approaches trade. “There’s no bright line level of the stock market that’s going to change policy,” Ross said. “The president is trying to fix long-term problems that should have been fixed a long time ago.” He added: “There is obviously going to be some pulling and tugging as we try to deal with very serious problems. There will be some hiccups along the way.”
(2) Oil futures kicked off the second half of the year with some losses on Monday, amid concerns global oil producers could bump up production more than investors expect. The slide comes following tweeted statements over the weekend from the president that he had talked to the Saudi Arabian monarchy which agreed to bolster production more than previously stated. August light, sweet crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange CLQ8, -0.59% was recently down 22 cents to $73.90 a barrel. September Brent LCOU8, -1.51% fell around 43 cents, or 0.6%, to $78.80 a barrel.
There is no tropical storm activity or major weather events expected in the U.S. or its territories for the next 48 hours.
As we begin July, Meteorologist Heather Tesch reports that this is what we may expect to see:
- Heat and humidity will encompass much of the U.S. to start July.
- Some relief from the above-average temperatures may be found in the East later in the month.
- Monsoon moisture will develop in the Southwest.
- Some areas are expected to see drier-than-average conditions, which could lead to drought.
Yesterday’s Significant Reporting
“To be crystal clear, my wife, my daughter and my son, and this country have my first loyalty.” — Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, when asked how he would respond if prosecutors made him choose between protecting Trump or his family.