Early Warning for 30 January 2019

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Wednesday, 30 January 2019.


White House

The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing today.

16: The number of days that the Trump administration and the Congress have to reach a border wall funding agreement before a potential shutdown or national emergency declaration. Democrats say they’re not going to negotiate on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, regarding a border wall deal. If true, that limits the Trump administration’s bargaining chips, and will push President Trump towards another shutdown or the national emergency option.

World Bank: President Trump is looking at naming U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Malpass as the next World Bank president, according to Bloomberg. Malpass was described as a “Trump loyalist”. The move would give the Trump administration some extra clout in projecting their foreign policy objectives.


State Department

Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to meet with the Australian foreign minister.


Defense Department

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is scheduled to hold an off-camera press conference.

National Security Director Gen. Paul Nakasone is scheduled to provide Senate testimony on worldwide threats.

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

* The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is off the coast of Virginia for pre-deployment training. The Lincoln will rejoin the Indo-Pacific Command once it re-bases to San Diego, CA.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as in the Indian Ocean.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.



Significant House Activity:

  • The House Administration Committee is reportedly looking at banning representatives from sleeping in their offices. As many as 80-100 representatives slept in their offices during the last session, instead of renting an apartment. Both the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus have called for an end to the practice.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

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



Forecasts for Q1 GDP are dropping this week as major financial firms take account of the cost of the government shutdown. JPMorgan revised an initial 2 percent down to 1.75 percent. Morgan Stanley also sees 1.7 percent growth, which is down from an estimated 2.5 percent. Barclays has a somewhat rosier forecast: 2.5 percent, down from 3 percent.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release a policy statement this afternoon. After that, Fed chair Jerome Powell will hold a press conference and give some insights into how the Fed sees the U.S. economy shaping up in 2019. This is actually a pivotal press conference because the Fed has been accused of tightening financial conditions too sharply. And there is, by the way, the historical precedent of the Fed hiking interest rates into a recession, so many will be keen to see whether or not the Fed pursues maintaining or lowering interest rates this year — something referred to as “maximum flexibility”.

Far Left Daily

“I’ve talked to six dozen Democrats, and the overwhelming sentiment is that [Howard Schultz] will be pushed out by this incredible wave of disgust and disdain rolling his way… The flaw in Schultz’s logic is that we’re living in this massively abnormal moment. When you’re on the head of a pin, even 500 votes in the wrong place can be existential… The bottom line is: Nobody thinks this is sustainable.” – Unnamed Democratic political operative who believes that liberal backlash against Howard Schultz will prevent him from running, reported by Axios

“[Schultz] can’t win, and he could seriously damage our ability to beat Donald Trump. He should either run as a Democrat, or spend his time and money doing something that won’t ruin the world.” – Jim Messina, Obama 2012 campaign manager, reported by Axios

“A majority of Democrats, 57 percent, said they would be more likely to support a candidate who backs Medicare for all, in which all Americans get their health insurance from the government, the poll shows.” – Steve Shepard, reporting for Politico [source]


What I’m Looking at this Morning

Thousands more troops headed to the border

Senator: China building up like “preparing for World War III”

Gingrich: Dems, Never Trumpers will keep Trump in White House in 2020


Notable Quotable

“The challenges we face in Texas are very real.” – Texas GOP Chairman Jim Dickey, warning that Texas may not be a shoo-in for Trump in 2020

“Because of what happened organically on the Democrat side, Republicans in Texas have a large organizational gap that exists. In 2018, we simply did not have the kind of people and activists at the scale the Democrats enjoyed. This is a significant advantage the Democrats have going into this cycle.” – Chris Homan, GOP strategist

“If Texas turns back to a Democratic state, which it used to be, then we’ll never elect another Republican [president] in my lifetime.”- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) [source]

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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