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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
Republicans are attempting to pass a new House rule to block materials compiled by the committee which investigated the Jan. 6 attack from immediately going to the National Archives. The rules package, which will be voted on by Congress today, orders that any record created by the Jan. 6 committee must instead be sent to the House Committee on House Administration by Jan. 17. It also orders the Archives to return any material it has already received. The move may signal that House Republicans intend to dispute the committee’s findings. Sarah D. Wire reports for the Los Angeles Times.
The Jan. 6 committee released thousands of pages of evidence on Sunday, including phone records and contemporaneous text messages and emails. The public database provides the clearest account yet of the well-coordinated effort by former President Trump and his allies to subvert the 2020 election. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO.
The Jan. 6 committee has warned the White House that it cannot ensure the anonymity of personnel who cooperated with its probe once the panel dissolves today. The committee had agreed it “would do its utmost to protect the identity” of certain personnel if the White House allowed them to sit for an interview. However, in a letter, the panel acknowledged it “cannot ensure enforcement of the commitment to maintain the confidentiality of the identity of the witnesses” because it will no longer exercise control over interview transcripts after it is dissolved. Zachary Cohen and Jeremy Herb report for CNN.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ramped up his bid to be Speaker, releasing a series of proposals aimed at winning over hard-right detractors. One of his proposals would allow just five House members to call for a vote at any time on ousting the Speaker. His proposals also contain language that would effectively gut the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), as the independent panel faces pressure to investigate lawmakers who participated in the Jan. 6 attack. Eric Cortellessa reports for TIME.
McCarthy’s proposals appear insufficient to win over many members who oppose making him Speaker. In a letter sent on Jan. 1, nine Republicans affiliated with hardline conservative groups said whilst the proposals were “helpful,” McCarthy had still failed to address many of their demands. Five Republicans separate from those who signed the letter have also publicly announced plans to oppose McCarthy. Lindsey McPherson reports for Roll Call.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The man charged with attacking three police officers with a machete near Times Square on New Year’s Eve was motivated by Islamic extremism, a senior law enforcement official said yesterday. The man, Trevor Bickford, 19, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of attempted assault. He may also face terrorism charges, the law enforcement official said. Andy Newman and Miir Zaveri report for the New York Times.
Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida was closed to the public after hundreds of migrants arrived at the remote islands by boat. The U.S. Coast Guard is working to remove the migrants, but a reopening date for the park has not yet been provided. The people will be transferred to federal law enforcement agents in the Florida Keys and then processed by regional U.S. Border Patrol stations to determine their legal status. Kelsey Ables reports for the Washington Post.
Brazilian authorities intend to revive fraud charges against U.S. Representative-elect George Santos. A spokesperson from the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office said yesterday that a formal request would be made to the U.S. Justice Department to notify Santos of the charges. Santos, who will take his seat in Congress today, is also under investigation in the U.S. for potential criminal activity during his two congressional campaigns. Grace Ashford and André Spigariol report for the New York Times.
South Korea is discussing conducting joint exercises with the U.S. using nuclear assets, according to the country’s president Yoon Suk-yeol. The aim of the drills would be to practice the implementation of extended deterrence, Yoon told a South Korean newspaper, adding that Washington is “quite positive” about the idea. However, when asked by reporters President Biden denied this claim. Dasl Yoon reports for the Washington Post.
Ukrainian forces used American-made rockets to kill dozens of Russian troops on Sunday. The strike by the HIMARS rockets killed 63 Russian soldiers in the illegally occupied city of Makiivka, in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said yesterday. Ukraine military officials put the number at “about 400.” However, even the lower Russian estimate would represent one of the worst Russian losses in a single episode in the war. Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Richard Pérez-Peña report for the New York Times.
Moscow’s acknowledgment of Sunday’s attack has generated Russian criticism of the country’s military command. Russian military bloggers have questioned why a large group of service members were apparently stationed in one location and criticized claims from Kremlin-backed officials that some soldiers were using their phones which allowed Ukrainian forces to locate them more easily. The Washington Post reports.
In his nightly address yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia is planning a prolonged campaign of attacks with Iranian-made drones. 80 such drones have been shot down over Ukraine since the start of 2023, he added. Mariya Knight reports for CNN.
Senator Lindsey Graham yesterday criticized Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen after he indicated Israel would avoid publicly denouncing Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. “The idea that Israel should speak less about Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine is a bit unnerving,” Graham said in a tweet. He appears to be the first Republican to publicly criticize the new hardline coalition in Jerusalem. Jacob Magid reports for the Times of Israel.
Far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited a contested holy site in Jerusalem today. The visit to the site, known to Jews and the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, has been condemned by Palestinians as an “unprecedented provocation.” The entire compound is considered to be al-Aqsa Mosque by Muslims, and whilst non-Muslims are allowed to visit they are not able to pray there. Ben-Gvir has long said he wants to bring about a change to allow Jews to worship at the site. Raffi Berg reports for BBC News.
Israeli forces killed two Palestinians during clashes near the West Bank city of Jenin yesterday, Palestinian health officials said. The Hamas militant group claimed one of the two Palestinians, Fouad Abed, as a member. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the other Palestinian killed had participated in hostilities. The latest incident of violence follows the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in more than 15 years, with 146 Palestinians being killed by Israeli forces in 2022. Aaron Boxerman and Fatima AdbulKarim report for the Wall Street Journal.
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil’s president on Sunday. Lula’s predecessor departing far-right president Jair Bolsonaro was not present at the inauguration, having flown to Florida on Friday. Bolsonaro, who questioned the reliability of Brazil’s election systems in the months running up to the election, plans to stay in the U.S. for at least a month. Jack Nicas and André Spigariol report for the New York Times.
In his first hours as president, Lula tightened up the country’s firearms laws, reversing the looser rules imposed by Bolsonaro. A presidential decree, which took effect yesterday, suspends new registrations of guns for hunting and sport. It also forbids owners from transporting loaded weapons, suspends new applications for gun clubs and reduces the number of firearms permitted per individual from six to three. “Brazil does not want more guns: we want peace and security for our people,” said Lula, shortly after being sworn in as leader. Samantha Pearson and Luciana Magalhaes report for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
The U.K. plans to officially declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) a terrorist group in the coming weeks. The decision reportedly comes after 10 plots by the IRGC to kidnap or murder people in the U.K., and marks a major hardening of Britain’s policy towards Tehran. Ben Riley-Smith reports for the Telegraph.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has called for an “exponential” expansion of his country’s nuclear arsenal. The call came during a five-day meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party, the country’s officials Korean Central News Agency said on Sunday. During the meeting, Kim also vowed to build a new intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at the U.S.. Choe Sang-Hun reports for the New York Times.
COVID-19 has infected over 100.759 million people and has now killed over 1.09 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 661.401 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.69 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.