Early Warning for 4 July 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for 4 July 2018. (All times Eastern.)

Advanced Early Warning: A federal judge on Tuesday tossed a lawsuit claiming that the Trump campaign and former adviser Roger Stone colluded with WikiLeaks and the Russian government to publish hacked Democratic National Committee emails during the presidential election. U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle said in a ruling that the allegations of conspiracy were insubstantial to proceed in a court. She said that her ruling is based on the technicalities of the lawsuit and doesn’t take a position on whether the Trump campaign and its officials actually conspired.

ALSO: Another protest against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency turned violent, this time in Philadelphia. Dozens of protesters scuffled with Philly police and Homeland Security officers as they attempted to clear a path to an ICE parking area. Protesters had been blocking the garage for days. Top Democrats including potential presidential candidates have been calling for the agency to be abolished.


White House

President Trump will host a picnic for military families on the South Lawn at the White House beginning at 5:10 p.m.


State Department

Secretary Pompeo hosts an Independence Day Reception for members of the diplomatic corps at the State Dept., which is otherwise closed in observance of the holiday.


Defense 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 Carl Vinson (CVN-70) is on port call to Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam Airfield following its participation in RIMPAC 2018.

The Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) is on patrol in the Atlantic.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is transiting the Philippine Sea on patrol.

All other carriers are in homeport.

No conflicts requiring a Carrier Strike Group appear imminent.


Congress

House:

The House is in recess.

Senate:

The Senate is in recess.

Significant political/congressional reporting:

  • President Trump on Tuesday spoke to another three possible Supreme Court nominees, bringing the total number to seven. White House spokesman Raj Shah disclosed the conversations in a brief statement but did not provide any further details, such as the names of those who spoke with Trump. The president is expected to announce his selection July 9 as he moves aggressively to replace retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. 
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee has upheld a conclusion from the intelligence community that Russia developed a “clear preference” for then-candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 election and sought to help him win the White House. The assessment, announced in an unclassified summary released Tuesday, represents a direct repudiation of the committee’s counterpart in the House — and of Trump himself, who has consistently rejected assertions that Moscow sought to bolster his candidacy through its election interference. The House Intelligence Committee in March released a report finding, in part, that the small group of intelligence officials who made the assessment in January 2017 did not meet the appropriate evidentiary standard to make that judgment with such certainty. 
  • An abortion rights group leading the fight on the left against President Trump‘s next Supreme Court nominee announced its first ad buy Tuesday targeting Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is expected to be a key vote in the confirmation battle.
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) believes the Justice Department is spying on him, though during an interview earlier this week he did not offer any evidence to substantiate his claim. The DOJ declined to comment when asked about the veracity of Gohmert’s assertion. Gohmert has been an outspoken critic of the Justice Department and the FBI over its surveillance of the 2016 Trump campaign and handling of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

Economy/Financial

(1) European officials are considering holding talks on a tariff-cutting deal between the world’s largest car exporters to prevent an all-out trade war with the U.S., according to the Financial Times who cited diplomats briefed on the matter. “Under such a deal, participants would reduce tariffs to agreed levels for a specified set of products — a concept in international trade known as a ‘plurilateral agreement’ that lets countries strike deals on tariffs without including the entire membership of the WTO,” the Financial Times reported, via CNBC. Last month, President Trump threatened to slap European automobile exporters with a 20 percent tariff. American cars and trucks exported to Europe face import duties of 10-25 percent.

(2) The major U.S. stock indexes finished Tuesday’s session with losses – with the Dow and S&P 500 erasing earlier gains in the afternoon while the Nasdaq flipped from positive to negative shortly after trading commenced and its losses accelerated in the afternoon.


Weather

(1) Disorganized showers and thunderstorms located within a few hundred miles to the south of Bermuda are associated with a trough of low pressure. Environmental conditions appear conducive for some development of this system, and a tropical depression could form before the end of the week while the system moves west-northwestward and then northward between Bermuda and the east coast of the United States. The system is then forecast to interact with a frontal system on Sunday, which would limit any additional development. * Formation chance through 48 hours…medium…40 percent. * Formation chance through 5 days…medium…60 percent.

(2) A small area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave is producing a concentrated area of showers several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Some additional development of this system is possible during the next few days while the low moves westward at 10 to 15 mph over the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Upper-level winds are expected to become less conducive for development by this weekend when the system approaches the Lesser Antilles. * Formation chance through 48 hours…low…30 percent. * Formation chance through 5 days…low…30 percent.


Yesterday’s Signficant Reporting

The heat wave sent U.S. power demand surging to highest in years

This Is How Much U.S. Households Lose As Gas Prices Rise

China can ‘win big battles’, economic team says as trade row with United States heats up


Notable Quotable

“I won’t let the Democrats steal my party from me. I want to regain the center.” — Liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz after being shunned at Martha’s Vineyard by fellow liberals following months of criticism over the party’s rising Leftist extremism.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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