Advanced Early Warning: Federal law enforcement officers moved in to clear the entrance to an ICE facility in Portland, Ore., this morning. Encamped protesters with “Occupy ICE PDX” had sealed off the entrance to the facility nine days ago and it remained until this morning. Officers with the Federal Protective Service took no action against protesters.
ALSO: With the retirement of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court, senators on both sides of the aisle are gearing up for a fight over President Trump’s nominee, who is likely to be in the constitutionalist mold of his first pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has announced that the chamber will hold a vote on the prospective nominee in the fall, presumably before the November election.
Democrats are imploring McConnel to hold off until after the elections but it’s not clear he’s willing to do that.
At 10:30 a.m., the president will attend a fundraiser in Milwaukee, Wis., then a second at 11:05 a.m. He departs the city at 11:30 a.m. to attend a FoxConn groundbreaking event in Mount Pleasant, Wis. After touring the site and facilities, POTUS departs Wisconsin at 2:05 p.m. and arrives back in Washington, D.C., at 5:05 p.m.
At 1:00 p.m., Secretary Pompeo meets with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer at the State Department. Later he meets with Colombian President-elect Ivan Duque Marquez.
Deputy Secretary John Sullivan is still traveling.
Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis is traveling in Asia. 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.
Army Lt. Gen. Aundre Piggee, deputy chief of staff, G-4, U.S. Army, and Marine Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commanding general, Marine Corps Logistics Command, provide testimony on Army and Marine Corps depot policy issues and infrastructure concerns at 8:30 a.m. to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness.
Aircraft carrier activities:
The Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) remains on patrol in the Mediterranean Sea while the Ronald Reagan (CVN-76 is on a port call to the Philippines.
All other carriers are in port.
No conflicts requiring a Carrier Strike Group appear imminent.
The House has a light committee schedule, with hearings and meetings in the morning.
The Senate has a light committee schedule, with hearings and meetings in the morning.
Significant congressional reporting:
- Democrats will battle to the end but don’t appear to have a procedural means of stopping a nominee.
- An uphill push for immigration progress in the House failed on Wednesday and has a faint pulse in the Senate. And meanwhile, Congress is poised to escape Washington for the July 4 recess.
- The House today will vote on a resolution critical of the Justice Department for withholding documents related to investigations tied to the 2016 election. (It’s a show vote.)
- Anti-Trump FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok testified before a House committee on Wednesday, but little outside of what was already known was reported. One takeaway: Strzok’s FBI lawyers instructed him several times to avoid answering a number of questions, claiming ‘national security.’
- A bipartisan pair of senators introduced a bill to apply “stringent” oversight to diplomacy with North Korea aimed at denuclearization. It is yet another example of mostly unsuccessful efforts in the last year to place checks on Trump’s executive improvisations.
- A summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin has been set — July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.
(1) The U.S. economy slowed more than previously estimated in the first quarter amid the weakest performance in consumer spending in nearly five years, but growth appears to have since regained momentum on the back of a robust labor market and tax cuts. GDP increased 2 percent in the first quarter (Jan. – March), lower than the 2.2 percent anticipated. The economy grew at a 2.9 percent rate in the fourth quarter. GDP growth is currently on pace to reach 3 percent, the Trump administration’s floor for annual growth.
(2) The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of non-union workers in a case that some believe could have a significant impact on the influence of public-sector labor unions. Known as Janus vs. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the court determined it is unconstitutional to require government workers to pay a “fair share” fee to unions for the coverage and protection afforded to them under collective bargaining if they choose not to be members. As a result, public unions stand to lose out on fees from some individuals who may choose not to join but still want the benefits, also known as “free riders,” which could cost the groups a lot of money.
There is no tropical cyclone activity expected for the U.S. or its possesses over the next 48 hours.
Yesterday’s Significant Reporting
“In recent days we have heard shameless attacks on our courageous law enforcement officers. Extremist Democrat politicians have called for the complete elimination of ICE. Leftwing Activists are trying to block ICE officers from doing their jobs and publicly posting their…home addresses – putting these selfless public servants in harm’s way. These radical protesters want ANARCHY – but the only response they will find from our government is LAW AND ORDER!” — series of tweets from President Trump regarding recent threats against ICE agents, Republican lawmakers, and members of his administration.