ADMIT NOTE: Instead of a round-up of information, the Early Warning will now take a longer form with analysis and insight on current issues. I’ll shoot for getting each daily report out by 9am Central time going forward.
Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Wednesday, 28 February 2018.
President Trump announced that he’d be running for re-election in 2020, which is pretty unusual to announce before a president’s second year. My first thought is that Trump knows the Mueller investigation is going to be pushing up daisies, so why not get a head start on 2020? My second thought was a little more dour: Trump knows or suspects Mueller is going to get him on something, and he wants to politicize the issue as much as possible by making it appear that the charges are only to derail the America First agenda. Mueller and his staff have yet to interview the president, which will be a good signal that the investigation is wrapping up. We’re still awaiting news on when or if that will happen.
Lots of political pundits — on the Right and the Left — have predicted that the president will be leaving office early. If you want to believe a Vanity Fair article, Steve Bannon gave the president a 30 percent chance of finishing his first term. [source] But after a brutal first year of unforced errors and the #resistance piling it on thick, Trump’s poll numbers are actually now improving. According to Rasmussen, Trump now has higher numbers than did Obama did at this time during his first term. Yesterday, Rasmussen reported that 50 percent of likely voters approved of President Trump’s job performance, with 35 percent strong approving, signalling that Trump does, indeed, have a shot at a re-election campaign if he can finish out his first term. [source]
News also broke yesterday that advisor and son in-law Jared Kushner’s security clearance has been downgraded from interim Top Secret to S, which is a big deal. The clearance downgrade means that Kusher loses access to the high classified information that appears in the Presidential Daily Brief, and keeps him from reading most signals intelligence intercepts and other highly classified information. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that they haven’t released an official comment on Kushner’s clearance, however, he’s expected to continue to do his job. (AC: Kushner can’t do his job well without access to the most recent compartmentalized intelligence information.) Media outlets are reporting that at least four foreign nations are trying to manipulate Kushner via loans and business deals. [source]
“Wildfires, terror attacks, rising tensions with North Korea, racist rallies, political investigations in Washington, the non-stop barrage of presidential tweets, more and worse mass shootings from Las Vegas to Florida, a tsunami of sexual harassment accusations, the role of Russians in our elections, climate change, red state-blue state division and not one, not two, but three of the worst hurricanes on record — including one that nearly blew Puerto Rico out of the Caribbean Sea.
Put together, and it’s understandable why exhausted Americans are limping along and running out of gas.” [source]