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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 special grand jury investigating possible inference by former President Trump and his allies in the 2020 elections in Georgia concluded its work yesterday. The special grand jury dissolved days after producing a report that was reviewed by the 20 judges on the Superior Court of Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta. The findings of the report remain private for now, including whether it recommended criminal charges against the former president. However, a hearing will be held on Jan. 24 to determine whether the report will be made public. Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim report for the New York Times.
Special counsel Jack Smith’s team has issued a grand jury subpoena to Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani. The subpoena, which was sent more than a month ago but has not previously been reported, asks Giuliani to turn over records to a federal grand jury as part of an investigation into the former president’s fundraising efforts following the 2020 election. In particular, the subpoena requests documents about payments Guiliani received around the 2020 election, when he filed numerous lawsuits on Trump’s behalf contesting the election results. Katelyn Polantz and Sara Murray report for CNN.
Federal prosecutors are set to open their seditious conspiracy case against former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four other members of the right-wing group this week. The trial follows the successful prosecution of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and a top deputy on the same charge. Testimony is expected to begin as soon as Wednesday. Rachel Weiner reports for the Washington Post.
President Biden’s lawyers discovered “a small amount” of classified documents at his former office at a Washington think tank last fall, the White House said yesterday. The revelation has prompted an inquiry by the Justice Department. According to two people familiar with the matter, the aim of the inquiry is to help Attorney General Merrick B. Garland decide whether to appoint a special counsel, like the one investigating former President Trump. Peter Baker, Charlie Savage, Glenn Thrush and Adam Goldman report for the New York Times.
House Republicans yesterday pushed through an overhaul of operating rules for the new Congress. This was despite the concerns of some rank-and-file members about concessions that Speaker Kevin McCarthy made to the hard-right last week in order to secure his position. Catie Edmondson reports for the New York Times.
The gun allegedly used by a 6-year-old boy to shoot his teacher at a school in Newport News, Virginia, was legally purchased by the child’s mother. “The child had obtained that firearm, placed it in his backpack, and brought it to school,” the Newport News chief of police Steve Drew said. Drew also said that the shooting was not an accident and appeared to be intentional. Paul Bibeau, Sarah Mervosh, and Campbell Robertson report for the New York Times.
The U.S. yesterday filed an appeal against a court finding that it was largely responsible for a 2017 mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A judge in 2021 found that the U.S. Air Force was mostly responsible for the rampage, which killed 26 people and injured 22, after Air Force officials failed to add the shooter, who had been convicted of domestic assault, to a database that would have barred him from legally buying a gun. The appeal was filed by the Justice Department, acting on behalf of the Air Force. Elizabeth Findell reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’s lawsuit against President Biden over immigration opened yesterday in Florida. A federal judge heard opening arguments in the suit, which claims the White House is neglecting current immigration policy, allowing thousands of migrants into the U.S. each month. The governor’s administration contends the migrants threaten public safety and costs the state money as it needs to accommodate more people in prisons, schools and the health care system. Hannah Farrow reports for POLITICO.
The lawyer of former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan has said he was “singled out” for extradition to the U.S. to face charges of training Chinese military fliers. Duggan faces extradition from Australia despite the Department of Defense admitting “that it has known of many Australian citizens who have performed foreign services in other jurisdictions with foreign states of a military nature,” his lawyer told reporters. Reuters reports.
The docking of a Russian merchant ship last month at South Africa’s largest naval base has prompted questions from U.S. officials. The ship, whose owner has allegedly carried weapons for the Kremlin, turned off its transponder before surreptitiously docking at the base, where it delivered and loaded unidentified cargoes, according to witnesses and a senior U.S. official. South Africa has declined to say what the ship was carrying or what was loaded onto it at the Simon’s Town navy base. Gabriele Steinhauser and Benoit Faucon report for the Wall Street Journal.
A senior U.S. official yesterday told reporters that the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization, had begun using recruited prisoners as cannon fodder. According to the official, the prisoners are being used to draw fire while the group’s more seasoned fighters move in behind them to claim ground. Eric Schmitt reports for the New York Times.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy plans to send more troops and weapons to the eastern region of Donbas. The reinforcements will include “new combat means and equipment,” including those received from Ukraine’s allies, Zelenksyy said in his nightly address. Carly Olson, Megan Specia and Ivan Nechepurenko report for the New York Times.
The U.S. is considering sending Stryker armored combat vehicles to Ukraine in an upcoming aid package. No final decision has been made and the administration could announce the package, with or without Strykers, late next week around the time of the next Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Germany. Lara Seligman, Lee Hudson and Paul McLeary report for POLITICO.
Brazilian authorities have detained about 1,500 supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro, as the government expands its investigation into those who participated in last Sunday’s riots. Yesterday evening President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva vowed to determine who had been involved in the violence, saying the government would “not allow democracy to slip out of our hands.” Samantha Pearson and Luciana Magalhaes report for the Wall Street Journal.
The Biden administration is facing pressure from Congress to expel Bolsonaro from the U.S., where he has been staying since leaving office. Several Democratic lawmakers have called for the former Brazilian president to be removed, including Joaquin Castro and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Brazilian politicians also joined calls to bring Bolsonaro back to the country, saying his involvement in Sunday’s violence was “undeniable.” Felicia Schwartz, Stefania Schwartz and Bryan Harris report for the Financial Times.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
At least 17 people have died in fresh clashes between supporters of the former Peruvian president and security forces in south-eastern Peru, officials say. Dozens more were injured yesterday in some of the worst violence since ex-President Pedro Castillo was arrested last month for trying to dissolve Congress. Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola denounced the clashes in Juliaca, describing them as an organized attack on police. BBC News reports.
COVID-19 has infected over 101.285 million people and has now killed over 1.10 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 664.692 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.71 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.