Early Warning for 28 March 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Thursday, 28 March 2019.

 

Terror plot? Traffic on a portion of I-68 in West Virginia ground to halt during a traffic stop yesterday after police stopped a vehicle and may have disrupted a terror plot. According to the West Virginia State Police, a 42-year old male was arrested after police found a firearm and “explosive power” in the vehicle. Police also say that the man threatened “to kill the President of the United States and to blow up the Pentagon.” No further information has been published about the man who was arrested, which may mean that authorities are following up on leads, if this was indeed a disrupted terror plot.

 

Politics & Governance

President Trump is scheduled to attend a meeting with Secretary Pompeo and then travel to host a Make America Great Again rally in Grand Rapids, MI.

President Trump met with Google CEO Sundar Pichai yesterday to discuss their work with China and “political fairness” on the company’s platforms. Google has been criticized over their Chinese search engine which censors information, and for their work with the Chinese government and military. Meanwhile, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sued Facebook over its allegedly discriminatory practices in advertising. According to the lawsuit, Facebook allowed real estate companies to exclude certain races from viewing advertisements for existing inventory. Fair warning: These may be the opening shots in the Trump administration’s war on Big Tech.

The House Oversight Committee is requesting 10 years of Trump financial records, following discoveries made during testimony from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The Committee is likely looking into falsified financial statements and potential bank fraud, if Cohen’s testimony was accurate.


 

Economy/Finance

U.S. officials are in Beijing today to resume negotiations for the trade deal, and next week, Chinese officials will be in Washington to continue discussions. But Chinese premier Li Keqiang continued his warnings this week about a Chinese and global slowdown. “The global economy is losing momentum,” Li said during a financial forum. After a $2 trillion dollar tax cut and further quantitative easing, the Chinese economy may be stabilizing, but the global slowdown obviously worries Li with regards to its effect on China.

Get ready for a downgrade. Economists expect the Commerce Department to significantly downgrade Q4 2018 economic growth numbers to as low as 2.2 percent. That’s down from 2.6 percent. As of this morning, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecasts 1.5 percent growth for Q1 2019.


 

Strategic/Defense Situational Awareness

U.S. Army exercise in 2020 to focus on South China Sea scenario

Navy’s newest aircraft carrier to launch on 01 April — no, really

INDOPACOM: Only half of submarine requests are met

China could play a big role in ‘reconstruction’ of Venezuela


 

Notable Quotable

“[S]o many things we are going to do, incredible health care that the Democrats, frankly, wouldn’t even know how to do. We will become the party of health care, the party of really good health care.” – President Donald Trump

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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