Early Warning for 9 July 2018 – Forward Observer Shop

Early Warning for 9 July 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for 9 July 2018. (All times Eastern.)

Advanced Early Warning: President Trump is expected to announce his next Supreme Court nominee this morning, which will most likely trigger massive pushback from the Democratic Party and, perhaps, even some in his own Republican Party. The president is promising a “conservative,” while others are saying no matter who he selects his influence on the nation’s highest court will be felt for decades. The thing to keep in mind here is that he may very well have another opportunity soon; Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the court’s reliable liberals, is 85. Retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy is younger, 81.

ALSO: British Prime Minister Teresa May is in political trouble over Brexit. Many in her Tory party do not like her “soft” Brexit trade plan including her now-former Brexit minister, David Davis, who quit late Sunday.  He has warned May’s plan will leave Britain in a “weak and inescapable” negotiating position regarding trade and other issues. with just eight months until Britain cuts ties with the EU. As of this morning, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has also resigned.

White House

After President Trump receives his intelligence briefing at 11:45 a.m., he has lunch with Vice President Pence at 12:30 p.m. He is scheduled to announce his next Supreme Court nominee at 9 p.m.

State Department

Secretary Pompeo is on travel to Pyongyang, Tokyo, Hanoi, Abu Dhabi, and Brussels from July 5-12. He will meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in Hanoi, Vietnam, at 8:00 a.m. local time. At 9:00 a.m. he meets with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

Deputy Secretary John Sullivan will attend meetings and briefings at the State Department.

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.

Mattis plans to visit Croatia and Norway next week after he attends NATO’s summit. He will depart the U.S. on 10 July to attend the 11-12 July summit. He will join President Trump and leaders of allied and partner nations at the NATO summit to reinforce U.S. priorities, including more equitable burden sharing, strengthening the alliance’s deterrence and defense capabilities and enhancing NATO’s role in fighting terrorism, according to a DoD news release.

Aircraft carrier activity:

The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) is on a 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.



The House reconvenes today and will consider new and existing legislation, including the Defense Appropriations Act of 2019 (Defense spending bill).

Members will also take up House Resolution 970, “Insisting that the Department of Justice fully comply with the requests, including subpoenas, of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the subpoena issued by the Committee on the Judiciary relating to potential violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by personnel of the Department of Justice and related matters.”

The House has a light committee schedule. At 11:00, the Committee on Homeland Security
Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications meets to discuss security challenges in the nation’s public schools.


The Senate reconvenes today as well with a light committee schedule.

Significant congressional/political reporting:

  • As noted above, the president will name his next Supreme Court nominee later tonight. He has reportedly narrowed the selection to four candidates. The final decision will be made by around noon. Analysts believe he’ll make a selection with his legacy very much on his mind.
  • Red-state Democrats: The 10 Senate Democrats up for reelection this year in states that Trump won in 2016 look to be in an impossible, no-win situation on confirmation votes. The White House will be giving them the hard sell. Conservative groups will be pressuring them with millions of dollars in ads in their home states. Liberals will be demanding they not buckle. They could lose their seats, or lose Democrats’ standing on key issues for decades to come. The Senate will likely vote to confirm any eventual nominee by September; the next Supreme Court term begins the first Monday in October.
  • Trump’s agenda during his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin remains somewhat open-ended, much to the consternation of German officials, who say there has been no coordination with NATO allies leading up to the Putin meeting. The worry is that Trump may be too accommodating to and trusting of Putin, who the State Dept. says is not worthy of either.
  • Former Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is appealing to far Left Democrats to get away from the “abolish ICE” narrative because “it’s not a serious policy proposal.” There is a rebellion of sorts taking place within the Democratic Party; it’s far-Left faction is pushing back against the party’s somewhat moderate establishment wing, and one of their ‘demands’ is that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency be disbanded, along with all U.S. borders.
  • A federal judge has denied a request by the Trump administration to extend a deadline to reunite families that have been separated after being apprehended crossing the border illegally.


(1) States are increasingly battling for skilled workers, as a worker shortage persists and new job opportunities outnumber candidates. A CNBC Global CFO Council survey finds 83 percent of chief financial officers say their company is having trouble finding qualified workers to fill skilled positions. So a growing number of states are going to the extreme by offering grants and sign-up bonuses to recruit workers and close the skills gap. When companies have to compete for workers, that’s usually going to have a positive impact on wages and worker benefits.

(2) As trade worries subside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped triple digits after the opening bell this morning, up at least 200 points as of this writing. J.P. Morgan Chase is the best-performing stock in the index. The S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent, as tech and financials climbed 0.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.6 percent.


(1) Tropical Storm Chris is situated off the coast of the Carolinas with winds of about 60 miles per hour, but it’s well off the coast. It may intensify over the next 12 hours. It’s current track should bring it close to the eastern-most Canadian coast by the end of the week.

(2) An area of showers and thunderstorms associated with the remnants of Beryl is producing locally heavy rainfall and strong gusty winds over the northeastern Caribbean Sea and the northern Leeward Islands. The disturbance is expected to move west-northwestward for the next day or so, passing over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico today, and over Hispaniola tonight. Unfavorable upper-level winds and interaction with land should prevent redevelopment during the next day or two, but environmental conditions could become somewhat conducive for regeneration of a tropical cyclone later this week when the system is forecast to turn northward over the Bahamas and the western Atlantic. Additional information on this system can be found in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.

There is little-to-no chance of cyclone formation.

Weekend Significant Reporting

Details emerge on Justice Department meeting with reporters on Manafort

Inside Pompeo’s Fraught North Korea Trip

Protesters confront Mitch McConnell over immigration on Bardstown Road

Notable Quotable

“The outright abolition of ICE would compromise public safety. ICE is a law-enforcement agency. It consists of essentially two components: enforcement and removal operations, or ERO, and homeland security investigations, or HSI, which is dedicated to the investigation of cross-border crimes such as smuggling dangerous drugs and contraband, the theft of intellectual property, child pornography and human trafficking.” — Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, writing in defense of ICE.

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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