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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 & 2020 ELECTION PROBES
The Jan. 6 committee will present a minute-by-minute look this Thursday at former President Trump’s activities as the Capitol was attacked. Its focus in the Thursday hearing will be on a 187-minute period that culminated in a 4:17 p.m. video by Trump in which he asked rioters, whom he called “very special,” to leave the Capitol. The hearing will include witnesses who the public hasn’t heard from yet, committee member Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) said yesterday. Eliza Collins and Alexa Corse report for the Wall Street Journal.
The Jan. 6 committee has issued a subpoena to the Secret Service, requesting text messages and other records from the day of the attack and the preceding day that were reportedly erased. In a Friday-night letter to Secret Service Director James Murray, the committee imposed a July 19 deadline for the agency to produce text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. The committee’s letter came after an internal government watchdog sent a letter to members of Congress accusing the Secret Service of erasing texts from those two days. Jan Wolfe reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The Justice Department is adding prosecutors and resources to its investigation into the actions of Trump’s allies to overturn the 2020 election. A Justice Department team focusing on elements of the investigation beyond the Jan. 6 attack, has in recent weeks been given more personnel, office space and an expanded mandate, according to people familiar with the matter. The expansion comes in the wake of Jan. 6 committee hearings which have revealed new details of Trump’s actions leading up to and on Jan.6. These details could put the former president in legal jeopardy for charges such as fraud, inciting a riot or obstructing the election certification, legal experts have said. Sadie Gurman, Aruna Viswanatha and Alexa Corse report for the Wall Street Journal
Jury selection is scheduled to begin today in the trial of Steve Bannon. The one-time adviser to former President Donald Trump faces criminal contempt of Congress charges after defying for months a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee that sought his records and testimony. Gary Fields reports for AP.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Three people have been killed at a mall in Greenwood, IN, in a shooting that ended when an armed man fatally shot the gunman, authorities have said. Two additional people were hospitalized in the shooting, which began when a man with a rifle and several magazines of ammunition entered the mall’s food court and started firing, Chief Jim Ison of the Greenwood Police Department said. The authorities did not indicate a motive for the shooting and did not identify the gunman. Vimal Patel and Melina Delkic report for the New York Times.
The first comprehensive report on the enforcement response to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas found ‘systemic failures’ in how both the school police chief, and state and federal officers responded. The 77-page report, released yesterday by a special Texas House committee, represented a broad indictment of police inaction at Robb Elementary School. Nearly 400 officers responded to the school that day. Yet the decision to finally confront the gunman was made by a small group of officers, including specially trained Border Patrol agents and a deputy sheriff from a neighboring county, the report found, concluding that others at the scene could have taken charge and done so far earlier. J. David Goodman and Edgar Sandoval report for the New York Times.
U.S. RELATIONS – THE MIDDLE EAST
President Biden made his controversial trip to Saudi Arabia on Friday, during which he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and other high-level officials. In remarks after his meetings, Biden said the officials accomplished “significant business,” such as the Saudis opening civilian airspace to all civilian carriers and working toward extending the current ceasefire between Yemen’s government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel group. Biden also said that he raised the 2018 murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi “at the top of the meeting” with Salman, “making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now.” Jordan Williams reports for The Hill.
Biden on Saturday differed with Saudi Arabia in their account of discussions about the murder of Khashoggi. Answering reporters as he arrived at the White House from his first Middle East trip as president, Biden disputed the Saudi foreign minister’s account that he did not hear Biden blame Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of the Washington Post columnist. Asked whether the minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, was telling the truth in recounting the exchange between Biden and the crown prince, the president said “No.” Reuters reports.
Iraqi President Barham Salih has defended Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, citing the Saudi royal family’s progress in modernizing the nation. “The Saudi government at the moment is engaged in a significant program of modernization that needs to be watched closely and needs to be appreciated for its implications for the wider neighborhood,” Salih said in an interview yesterday. Salih also commended the crown prince for taking on “extremist elements” in his kingdom. David Cohen reports for POLITICO.
OTHER U.S. RELATIONS
The U.S. has further sanctions it could adopt against North Korea, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said, adding that any nuclear test by Pyongyang would be seen as very provocative. Concern is growing that North Korea could be preparing to test a nuclear weapon for the first time since 2017 following a record number of missile tests this year, including that of its largest intercontinental ballistic missile. Further possible sanctions will probably be discussed during Yellen’s meeting tomorrow with senior South Korean officials in Seoul. Andrea Shalal reports for Reuters.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – FIGHTING
Russian missiles hit industrial facilities in the strategic southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv yesterday as Moscow continues efforts to expand its gains in the country’s east. Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said that the Russian missiles struck an industrial and infrastructure facility, a key shipbuilding center in the estuary of the Southern Bug river. There was no immediate information about casualties. AP reports.
Ukrainian officials say a steady flow of Russian military equipment continues to move westward from Mariupol toward other parts of southern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces are on the offensive. We continue to record the movement of military equipment through Mariupol,” Petro Andriushenko, an adviser to the mayor of occupied Mariupol, said yesterday. The assertion is supported by a recently geolocated video of Russian armor moving through parts of southern Ukraine. Tim Lister, Julia Kesaieva and Julia Presniakova report for CNN.
Russia has “almost certainly” used private military company Wagner for recent fighting in eastern Ukraine, including in the capture of Popasna and Lysychansk, the U.K. Ministry of Defense has said. Wagner are lowering recruitment standards and providing very limited training, according to the ministry’s latest intelligence update. This will likely impact the future operational effectiveness of the group and will reduce its values as a prop to the regular Russian forces, the update adds.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – GLOBAL RESPONSE
Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to travel to Tehran tomorrow, where he will meet Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. The visit, which is only his second trip outside Russia since the country invaded Ukraine, is intended to signal that the costly war hasn’t diminished Moscow’s place on the world stage. The three leaders are set to discuss Syria, where Russia and Iran back the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey supports opposing rebel groups. Evan Gershkovich, Benoit Faucon and Jared Malsin report for the Wall Street Journal.
The European Commission set out plans to ban imports of Russian gold on Friday – a month after the Group of Seven economic powers announced they would do so. However, the annexe to the draft sanctions package, obtained by POLITICO, shows that the bloc would only ban gold in powder, unwrought or semi-manufacture formers, gold coins, and waste or scrap gold. The draft does not list gold in the form of jewelry like gold chains or gold rings – leaving loopholes that could keep money flowing into Kremlin coffers. Leonie Kijewski and Sarah Anne Aarup report for POLITICO.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suspended his country’s prosecutor general and the leader of its domestic intelligence agency. The removal of the prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, and Ivan Bakanov, the leader of the Security Service of Ukraine were announced in brief decrees. In a televised speech Zelenskyy said he was responding to a large number of treason investigations opened into employees of law enforcement agencies, including the prosecutor general’s office and the domestic security agency. A total of 651 cases of high treason had been opened against law enforcement personnel, Zelenskyy said – with more than 60 employees of the prosecutor’s office and the Security Service of Ukraine remaining in occupied territory and working against the state. The New York Times and CNN reports.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has named the temporary heads of the country’s intelligence agency and prosecutor’s office. The first deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Maliuk Vasyl, will “temporarily” lead the Security Service of Ukraine, according to a presidential decree published today. Another presidential decree said Ukraine’s deputy prosecutor general, Oleksii Symonenko, will lead the prosecutor’s office in the interim. Julia Presniskova reports for CNN.
A U.S. Air Force veteran living in Ukraine has been detained by pro-Russian separatists, his brother has said. Troops supporting Russia took custody of Suedi Murekezi, 35, in the southern city of Kherson in early June and falsely accused him of participating in pro-Ukrainian protests. He is at least the third American to be captured in Ukraine since the war began. Marisa Iati and Annabelle Timsit report for the Washington Post.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Sri Lanka’s acting president yesterday declared a state of emergency giving him broad authority amid growing protests demanding his resignation. Ranil Wickremesinghe became acting president on Friday after his predecessor, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, fled abroad on Wednesday. Wickremesinghe’s move comes two days before the country’s lawmakers are set to elect a new president. Bharatha Mallawarachi reports for AP.
A Ukrainian cargo plane carrying 11.5 tons of Serbian-made weapons destined for Bangladesh crashed in northern Greece late Saturday. Eight Ukrainian crew members were killed in the crash, setting off an investigation into whether the hazardous material being transported posed a threat to the local population, state and local officials said. The plane, an Antonov An-12BK, was owned by the Ukrainian cargo carrier, Meridian, but the episode did not appear to be connected to the war in Ukraine, according to Serbian and Ukrainian officials. Niki Kitsantonis and Cora Engelbrecht report for the New York Times.
COVID-19 has infected over 89.54 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 562.475million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.37 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.