BREAKING NEWS : Motorcycle driver critically hurt after Fort Wayne crash Full Story

Trump calls out 'deception' in Khashoggi probe

CNN's National Security analyst Sam Vinograd breaks down the latest on journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 7:31 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2018 7:52 PM

Every week, I offer a glimpse of the kind of intelligence assessments that are likely to come across the desk of the President of the United States. Modeled on the President's Daily Briefing, or PDB, which the director of national intelligence prepares for the President almost daily, my Presidential Weekly Briefing focuses on the topics and issues President Trump needs to know to make informed decisions.

Here's this week's briefing:

Immigration: Caravaning to disaster

While we monitor the progress of the latest caravan of migrants from Honduras, we assess that cutting off US foreign assistance to Northern Triangle countries could actually increase illegal immigration. For example, 30% of Hondurans currently live in poverty, and violent crime and gang violence are rampant.

Withdrawing US dollars that are being used to promote economic development and the rule of law could shatter any hopes of sustainably bringing Hondurans out of poverty or mitigating violence. This could motivate more Hondurans to make the dangerous journey north in search of a safer, more secure environment.

The Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are likely confused by the administration's bifurcated policy toward addressing illegal immigration. They're also probably convinced -- as are other countries around the world -- that you view foreign assistance as leverage to gain support for what you want, rather than as aid for initiatives critical to long-term security and sustainability or to ease human suffering.

In a recent speech, Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged that to address illegal immigration, we need to confront problems "at their source in the Northern Triangle." His statement was likely interpreted as an ongoing US commitment to programs that ameliorate the domestic conditions that drive illegal immigrants to head north toward the US.

Your peers in these countries -- and people around the world -- probably view your subsequent threats to cut off foreign assistance to these countries or close our southern border if they don't stop the caravan as a sharp contrast to the Vice President's remarks. But they also probably think it's the latest example of you using American assistance dollars to bully countries into doing what you want.

If you try to shut down the border -- which could violate international law -- or try to send US troops there despite an absence of unilateral authority to do so, these moves would probably be interpreted as a disregard for domestic and international rules -- or law and order -- when they don't suit your needs. These perceptions could be seen as contradicting your political focus on bringing back law and order.

In light of your claim that the caravan is full of hardened criminals, we want you to be aware that the caravan includes many children.

North Korea: Last rites for maximum pressure campaign

Kim Jong Un likely assesses that your maximum pressure campaign is on its last legs. The news that you're prioritizing Kim's happiness -- and canceling what he views as a provocative military exercise with South Korea -- probably signals to Kim that you're willing to forego anything to keep diplomatic engagement going. Kim may be becoming more capable of launching an attack while we lose our force-readiness capabilities to defend South Korea.

With no end for negotiations in sight, Kim may think he could get you to indefinitely suspend major military activities that are critical to security on the Korean peninsula. He now has South Korean President Moon Jae-in more in his pocket, with intra-Korean relations more integrated than any time before the Korean War and Moon seemingly unwilling to do anything that derails further integration.

While Kim thinks our military pressure is waning, he hasn't suspended his own provocative measures. Aside from stopping missile tests and offering access to a nuclear site at some ill-defined juncture, we have no indication that he has stopped amassing weapons of mass destruction or abusing human rights. So, Kim ostensibly thinks he can continue to play agent provocateur while the US becomes less capable of countering him.

What's more, Kim's economic outlook appears rosier. Moon signed an intra-Korean railroad deal -- which would have real financial benefits for North Korea -- despite potentially violating US sanctions. This likely signals to Kim that Moon's not worried about US sanctions as a punishment -- or that the benefits of working with Kim outweigh the costs of upsetting you. He expects others to follow Moon's lead.

Moon has become Kim's personal invitation courier. On Kim's behalf, he delivered an invitation to Pope Francis to visit North Korea. Despite Kim Jong Un's ongoing human rights abuses -- including the persecution of Christians -- the Pope's reported willingness to consider an invitation probably makes Kim feel like he can get away with almost anything while potentially getting blessed by the Pope.

China: The Emperor needs new clothes

Six-and-a-half percent growth would be welcome in many countries. But China's public acknowledgment of this rate over the last quarter is not positive economic news for Beijing. And it is entirely possible that growth rates are even lower than what's officially reported. We know that its primary stock market -- the Shanghai Composite Index -- is down 25% this year, and it could lose more ground if more bad news comes out of Beijing.

Your ongoing trade war may be contributing to lower growth. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He tried to downplay any sustained economic downturn in China and dismissed the idea that your trade moves were contributing to China's economic slowdown, calling the impacts of the trade war "psychological."

We assess that psychological impacts matter, especially when it comes to investors who may already be concerned about the health of the Chinese economy and other market access issues. While the Chinese would typically respond to sluggish economic news with a stimulus package, doing so would increase its already expansive debt burden, which comes with its own set of risks. President Xi Jinping may need to look at some new policy responses.

He may be looking toward your potential meeting with him in November, aware that he needs to consider some new tools to stabilize his economy -- including minimizing any controllable downside risks like more US tariffs.

While he may not be amenable to all of your demands at once, coming to a ceasefire arrangement may be more attractive now than it was before last quarter's growth rate was released, particularly because Chinese authorities know that China's relative economic slowdown stands in contrast with US economic growth and "remarkably positive" economic outlook.

Russia: One fine day

During National Security Advisor John Bolton's trip to Moscow this weekend, Bolton probably found Russian officials in a good mood because their boss is having one fine day.

Despite the Department of Justice's criminal complaint against Elena Khusyaynova, a Russian national, for 2018 election interference, Putin is probably still going to quote what you said a few months ago: That he is "fine" -- at least from his perspective.

While our intelligence and law enforcement community continues to collect information on, and take action against, Russian ongoing election interference, Putin probably doesn't think he's faced with any insufferable cost. The newest action against Khusyaynova is more symbolic than impactful to Putin. Plus he knows you (and Pence) are now focusing your election interference ire on China while you discuss a second summit with him.

For Putin, this is a winning scenario. A bifurcated US government approach -- on the one hand your team is addressing threats from Russia and on the other, you are extending yourself to Putin -- paints a confusing picture for many, including voters going to the polls in just over two weeks. And we know how much Putin likes to sow confusion.

If you do withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, expect Putin to consider it a win. Because of your track record of withdrawing from agreements like the Paris Climate Accord and Iran nuclear deal, Putin will probably view a unilateral withdrawal as something he can leverage to showcase the unreliability of the United States. This applies to China as well, with which we do not have any agreement to constrain missile development.

While our allies know the reality -- that Putin has consistently violated the treaty -- Putin will probably continue escalatory arms race rhetoric including bragging about his newest hypersonic missile because he knows you like to praise your superiority in all theaters. And a public superlatives contest, from his perspective, would help him look tough domestically while making you look like you're insecurely trying to prove your own strength.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31715

Reported Deaths: 1984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9189533
Lake3299167
Cass15826
Allen127766
St. Joseph117034
Hendricks112367
Hamilton109992
Johnson1082104
Elkhart100827
Madison58258
Porter48721
Bartholomew48033
Clark45838
LaPorte40821
Tippecanoe3733
Jackson3611
Howard35618
Delaware35434
Hancock31927
Shelby31421
Floyd31338
Boone28235
Morgan26124
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery22717
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2151
Noble18520
Grant18520
Harrison18521
Dubois1822
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe16010
Henry1597
Vigo1477
Lawrence14322
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll922
Kosciusko861
Daviess8216
Steuben792
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Fayette654
Marshall641
LaGrange602
Jasper561
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Randolph403
Pulaski390
Clay391
Whitley392
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb291
Perry270
Huntington262
Benton250
Knox240
Crawford230
Wells230
Tipton221
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer161
Gibson142
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32477

Reported Deaths: 1987
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5310237
Cuyahoga3963217
Marion261921
Hamilton2458128
Lucas2126229
Pickaway204335
Mahoning1341169
Summit1236159
Butler80225
Stark68589
Lorain64858
Columbiana60950
Montgomery60515
Trumbull52942
Belmont39012
Miami34830
Warren33619
Tuscarawas3182
Portage31458
Medina30219
Delaware30013
Ashtabula28132
Wood27645
Lake26811
Geauga25729
Wayne25050
Fairfield2403
Clark2236
Licking20710
Allen19131
Mercer1903
Clermont1885
Richland1863
Erie1575
Darke15316
Madison1347
Washington11718
Crawford1043
Morrow1041
Greene935
Ottawa917
Putnam8714
Monroe7111
Sandusky6810
Ross662
Hocking654
Auglaize643
Jefferson622
Huron551
Williams521
Hancock481
Muskingum450
Union450
Clinton430
Hardin410
Shelby412
Logan370
Fayette370
Wyandot362
Fulton360
Defiance322
Guernsey310
Preble301
Carroll282
Lawrence280
Holmes271
Champaign261
Brown251
Coshocton240
Knox231
Vinton191
Seneca192
Ashland180
Highland181
Perry181
Scioto150
Henry150
Athens141
Paulding130
Jackson110
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Pike60
Meigs60
Morgan50
Noble50
Van Wert50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 72°
Angola
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Pop-Up Storms Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events