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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 AND 2020 ELECTION PROBES
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is set to meet on Sunday to discuss whether to make criminal referrals on any of its investigative targets. According to the panel’s chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) the committee is not just weighing up criminal referrals. Panel members are also likely to make referrals to the Ethics Committee regarding Republican lawmakers who refused to comply with select panel subpoenas – including incoming Republican Party Leader Kevin McCarthy. They will also make referrals for bar discipline against lawyers who aided Trump’s effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO.
The Jan. 6 committee is considering criminal referrals for at least four individuals as well as former President Trump. According to multiple sources, the panel is weighing criminal referrals for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, right-wing lawyer John Eastman, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Annie Grayer, Zachary Cohen and Pamela Brown report for CNN.
Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to Trump, appeared yesterday before a special grand jury investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn Georgia’s presidential election results. Flynn met with the jury for around an hour, and it is unclear whether he answered any of their questions. Holly Bailey reports for the Washington Post.
A federal appeals court yesterday ended a special master’s review of documents seized from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. This came after Trump’s lawyers chose not to contest its decision last week. The move ended the special master’s review and lifted an injunction that had blocked prosecutors from using the seized materials as evidence. Charlie Savage and Alan Feuer report for the New York Times.
The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to hold Trump’s office in contempt of court for failing to fully comply with a May subpoena to return all classified documents in his possession. The hearing is scheduled to take place today, according to people familiar with the matter. Spencer S. Hsu, Josh Dawsey, Jacqueline Alemany, Devlin Barrett and Rosaline S. Helderman report for the Washington Post.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
House lawmakers yesterday approved a bill to increase the U.S.’s total national security budget for fiscal year 2023 to $857.9 billion. This is roughly a 10% increase from last year’s budget. The bill also authorizes U.S. military leaders to purchase new weapons and increase pay for troops and lifts a requirement for members of the military to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Katy Stech Ferek reports for the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner has landed in the U.S. after being released by Russia as part of a prisoner swap. Griner was exchanged for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout. The Wall Street Journal reports.
The U.S. is set to levy new sanctions against Russia and China today. The measures will target Russia’s deployment of Iranian drones in Ukraine, alleged human rights abuses by both nations, and Beijing’s support of alleged illegal fishing in the Pacific, according to officials familiar with the matter. Vivian Salama and Ian Talley report for the Wall Street Journal.
The number of U.S. citizens wrongfully detained by foreign governments has risen sharply in recent decades, researchers have found. An average of 34 U.S. nationals were wrongfully held by foreign governments each year between 2012 and 2022, according to a report by the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation – a 580 percent increase from the prior decade when an average of five U.S. nationals were held each year. Michael Cooper reports for the New York Times.
Representatives from Russia and the U.S. will meet in Istanbul today, according to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency. The report said the two sides would discuss a set of “difficult questions” including visas, embassy staffing levels, and the work of each side’s institutions and agencies abroad. Reuters reports.
Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin has been found guilty of spreading “fake information” about the Russian army. Yashin was tried over a Youtube video in which he discussed evidence uncovered by Western journalists of Russian war crimes in Ukraine. In the video, he cast doubt on Moscow’s claim that such reports had been fabricated as a “provocation” against Russia. Reuters reports.
Japan, the U.K. and Italy said they would jointly develop a next-generation stealth jet fighter by 2035. It is hoped that the new jet will surpass the U.S.-made F-35 in some capabilities. The three U.S. allies described the project as complementary to U.S. military programs. However, if successful they could look to market it to other countries amid growing global demand for jet fighters. Chieko Tsuneoka and Doug Cameron report for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.K. has announced new sanctions against 30 people, including Russian and Iranian officials. The sanctions target those it deems responsible for acts of torture, sexual violence, and the repression of street protests. The move comes after France announced plans for new E.U. sanctions against Iran over human rights abuses in relation to its crackdown on protests, as well as its supply of drones to Russia. Andrew Macaskill and William James report for Reuters.
A U.N. investigation has found that at least 131 civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo died in a November attack by the M23 rebel group. The U.N. report said the massacre took place in two villages – Kishishe and Bambo – in the Rutshuru district of the eastern North Kivu province. Investigators said the attack appeared to be a reprisal for a current government offensive on the rebels. Matt Murphy reports for BBC News.
COVID-19 has infected over 99.365 million people and has now killed over 1.08 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 648.053 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.65 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
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.