Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Wednesday, 21 March 2018. (All times Eastern.)
Advanced Early Warning: CNBC is reporting this morning that after meeting with the president, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is “moving on to his next target: Iran”. Jon and I will have a report out today to cover what could happen next, including the possibility of a steep rise in oil prices.
ALSO: Outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) recently warned President Trump that impeachment proceedings would follow an attempt to fire special counsel Mueller. The president has been reportedly considering the firing of Mueller, however, the most recent news says he has no intentions of doing so. Still, if the president fires Mueller, it almost certainly will trigger impeachment attempts.
We are begging the president not to fire the special counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact, through impeachment. No one wants that outcome. Mr. President, please don't go there.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) March 20, 2018
In addition to receiving his daily intelligence briefing, the president is scheduled to hold a cabinet meeting, and then holds the Financial Services Forum spring meeting.
There is no schedule published for outgoing SECSTATE Rex Tillerson, who will continue to serve until 31 March. Deputy Secretary John Sullivan will attend the president’s cabinet meeting.
SECDEF James Mattis has no public events on his schedule. Other defense officials are scheduled to speak on topics including the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Strategy, directed energy weapons in the Pacific, and protecting the homeland, among others, at the fourth annual Directed Energy Summit. We’ll be providing coverage of this event and produce a report for subscribers.
Aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN-70) remains in the South China Sea, and the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is operating in the Persian Gulf. Other aircraft carriers are in their home ports, and conflict requiring a Carrier Strike Group does not appear imminent.
The House and Senate are in session this week and we’ll be covering a number of hearings. (1) House Armed Services Committee hearing on State/Non-State Actor Influence Operations. (2) House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on China’s Foreign Influence Operations. We’ll generate reporting for subscribers on these hearings, if necessary.
(1) Jerome Powell is set to give his first public speech today as Federal Reserve chairman, and is widely expected to announce an interest rate hike. (2) A Bank of America / Merrill Lynch survey finds that a record high 74 percent of investors see the global economy in a late stage of the business cycle. The bank is warning that a 10-year Treasury rate of 3.6 percent would trigger moves from stocks to bonds. The 10-year is currently at 2.9 percent, up from a year low of 2.1 percent in September.
Yesterday’s Significant Reporting
Former assistant FBI director says the ‘plot against Trump’ is a real thing
Democratic congressman suggests Second Amendment as means of opposing Trump
Russian defense minister reintroducing divisions, signaling shift to large-scale combat capability
“Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers [yesterday] when he congratulated … Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating ‘DO NOT CONGRATULATE.‘” Washington Post story on a major leak from the Trump administration