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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
JAN. 6 ATTACK – PUBLIC HEARINGS
At today’s public hearing, the Jan. 6 committee will focus on the connection between right-wing militia groups and allies of former President Trump. “We’ll show how some of these right-wing extremist groups who came to D.C. and led the attack on the Capitol had ties to Trump associates, including Roger Stone and General Flynn,” a committee aide said yesterday on a conference call with reporters. Aides said the hearing will also reveal ties between some Trump associates and the QAnon movement. Scott Wong reports for NBC News.
The Jan. 6 committee will not hold a hearing this Thursday, as had previously been under consideration, according to a source familiar with the committee’s plans. A hearing is expected to be held next week a committee aide later said, adding that the hearing was being delayed to give members and investigators time to process the “new and important information” it has received “on a daily basis.” Ryan Nobles, Annie Grayer, Zachary Cohen and Jeremy Herb report for CNN.
JAN. 6 ATTACK & 2020 ELECTION PROBES
Cassidy Hutchinson’s public testimony last week has jolted the Justice Department into discussing former President Trump’s conduct in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Overt discussion of Trump and his behavior had previously been rare, except as a motive for the actions of others. However, in conversations at the department, the day after Hutchinson’s appearance officials reportedly talked about the pressure that the testimony created to scrutinize Trump’s potential criminal culpability and whether he intended to break the law. Katie Benner and Glenn Thrush report for the New York Times.
A judge has ordered Senator Lindsey Graham to testify in front of a special grand jury in Georgia investigating former President Trump’s alleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ordered that Graham will be required to testify on Aug. 2. The judge’s certification filed on Monday described Graham as a “necessary and material witness” to the grand jury probe. Reuters reports.
Former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, an ally of Trump, is expected to meet with the Jan. 6 committee on Friday, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Byrne played an active role in supporting efforts to question and push baseless claims about the 2020 election, including attending a meeting in mid-December at the White House to discuss strategies to overturn the election. There have been no ground rules or topics defined for the meeting, according to one of the sources. The meeting will be behind closed doors. Jamie Gangel reports for CNN.
In the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes tried to get the organization’s general counsel, Kellye SoRelle to put him in touch with the White House. In addition to her work with the Oath Keepers, SoRelle was also a volunteer for Lawyers for Trump during the 2020 election and was in contact with many of the people fighting to overturn the election, including people in Rudy Giuliani’s and Sidney Powell’s camps. However, SoRelle claims she never put Rhodes in touch with key figures, putting a firewall between her work with the Oath Keepers and her work to overturn the election results. Ryan J. Reilly reports for NBC News.
Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial will not be delayed, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols ruled yesterday. Bannon was indicted last year for refusing to answer questions from the Jan. 6 committee. Although he has now agreed to testify, the Justice Department maintains that this offer is nothing more than a “last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.” His trial is set to commence next Monday. Ryan J. Reilly reports for NBC News.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The Biden administration yesterday extended temporary protections to hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans living in the U.S.. However, Temporary Protected Status will only be extended for Venezuelans who were already in the U.S. during March of last year, when the initial designation was granted. This leaves out an estimated 250,000 Venezuelans who arrived in the U.S. after TPS was granted, meaning they are ineligible for work permits and deportation protections through the program. The decision, which ignores the calls of immigration advocates, comes after administration officials expressed concern that redesignating TPS to include more Venezuelans would incentivize more migration to the U.S. southern border and prompt more criticism from Republicans on the president’s handling of immigration policy. Sabrina Rodriguez reports for POLITICO.
In an event at the White House yesterday evening, President Biden unveiled an image that NASA and astronomers hailed as the deepest view yet into our universe’s past. The image, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope — the largest space telescope ever built — showed a distant patch of sky in which fledgling galaxies were burning their way into visibility just 600 million years after the Big Bang. “This is the oldest documented light in the history of the universe from 13 billion — let me say that again, 13 billion — years ago,” Biden said. Dennis Overbye, Kenneth Chang and Jim Tankersley report for the New York Times.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – FIGHTING
At least six people have been killed and 7 are missing following explosions overnight in the Russian-occupied town of Nova Kakhovka, according to authorities there. The head of the town’s civil-military administration, Vladimir Leontiev, claimed the attack was “launched from afar on the civilian population. This is no military target. It’s warehouses, stores, pharmacies, gas stations.” Another official in the Russian-backed administration, Ekaterina Gubareva, said Ukraine fired using American High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Tim Lister, Josh Pennington and Julia Kesaieva report for CNN.
At least 35 people have been found dead after a Russian missile strike on a residential complex in the Donetsk region town of Chasiv Yar, the emergency services said today. Over 320 tonnes of rubble had been cleared and 9 people rescued from under the ruins, the regional emergency services directorate wrote on Facebook. Reuters reports.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Iran is preparing to supply Russia with drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles to support its invasion of Ukraine, the White House said yesterday. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters the U.S. had information indicating Tehran was “preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs . . . on an expedited timeline”. The shipment would include drones that could be used as weapons, Sullivan added. “Our information further indicates that Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use these UAVs with initial training sessions slated to begin as soon as early July,” he said. Courtney Weaver reports for the Financial Times.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Tehran to hold talks with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 19, according to the Kremlin. “President Putin’s trip to Tehran is being prepared. There will be a meeting of the heads of guarantor states of the Astana process, a process to promote Syrian regulation,” Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters. The Chief of the Economic Commission of Iran’s Parliament, Mohammadreza Pour-Ebrahimi, told Iranian state news agency IRNA yesterday that Putin would visit Tehran next week to discuss the expansion of economic ties between Iran and Russia. Anna Chernova and Radina Gigova report for CNN.
Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday signed a decree offering a simplified path to Russian citizenship for all Ukrainians, in an effort to broaden Moscow’s appeal and solidify its presence in the country. Putin’s decision indicates that Russia might seek to establish permanent control of the Ukrainian territories currently occupied by Moscow’s forces, and that the Kremlin is also interested in extending its presence beyond them. Ivan Nechepurenko reports for the New York Times.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Islamic State planned to create a large stockpile of chemical and biological agents to be used in attacks against major cities in Europe, according to newly disclosed details on the Islamic State weapons program. Alarmed by this threat, U.S. officials launched a 2015 operation to kill Salid al-Sabawi, a key weapons expert in the group who had once helped President Saddam Hussein build his extensive arsenal of chemical weapons. Joby Warrick reports for the Washington Post.
SAS operatives in Afghanistan repeatedly killed detainees and unarmed men in suspicious circumstances, a BBC investigation has revealed. Newly obtained military reports suggest that one unit may have unlawfully killed 54 people in one six-month tour. General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the former head of UK Special Forces, was reportedly briefed about the alleged unlawful killings but did not pass on the evidence to the Royal Military Police, even after the RMP began a murder investigation into the SAS squadron. Hannah O’Grady and Joel Gunter report for BBC News.
COVID-19 has infected over 88.75 million people and has now killed over 1.02 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 556.586 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.35 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
A map and analysis of the vaccine rollout across the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.
A state-by-state guide to lockdown measures and reopenings is provided by the New York Times.