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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.
Aides to former Vice President Mike Pence found a “small number of documents” with classified markings at his home in Indiana last week, according to one of Pence’s advisers. These documents were “inadvertently boxed and transported” to Pence’s home at the end of President Trump’s administration, Greg Jacobs, Pence’s representative to the National Archives, said in a letter to the Archives. The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division have launched a review of the documents. Jamie Gangel, Jeremy Herb and Evan Perez report for CNN.
The district attorney overseeing the investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia, has asked a judge not to make public the findings of a special grand jury that heard months of testimony in the case. In a two-hour hearing, Fani T. Willis argued that disclosing the jury’s investigative report could complicate potential efforts to seek indictments. “We think for future defendants to be treated fairly it is not appropriate at this time to have this report released,” Willis said. The matter will be ruled on at a later date. Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim report for the New York Times.
Three people were fatally shot yesterday in what appeared to be a random attack at a convenience store in Yakima, Washington. The gunman, Jarid Haddock, 21, later shot and killed himself after an hourslong police manhunt, the authorities said. Eduardo Medina and Christine Hauser report for the New York Times.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy yesterday blocked Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee. In justifying his decision McCarthy said that Schiff had used his position as chair of the panel when Democrats were in control of the chamber for political purposes. He alleged that Swalwell was targeted by a suspected Chinese spy nearly a decade ago. Both Schiff and Swalwell have denied any wrongdoing, and some have suggested that the decision was instead a retaliation for the Democrats; barring two of McCarthy’s choices from serving on the committee which investigated the Jan. 6 attack. Natalie Andrews reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Florida has joined 19 states in challenging a newly-announced Biden administration program to accept 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The states, led by Texas, filed a lawsuit yesterday in a Texas federal court against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and other federal agencies involved in immigration. The lawsuit contends that there is no legal authority for the program and that states will be harmed by an influx of migrants from the four countries. Gary Fineout reports for POLITICO.
The U.S. plans to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials said yesterday, reversing its longstanding resistance. The move would be part of a broader diplomatic understanding with Germany in which Berlin would agree to send its own Leopard 2 tanks and would approve the delivery of more of the German-made tanks by Poland and other countries. The U.S. is expected to send about 30 tanks, according to U.S. officials. Michael R. Gordon Lubold and Bojan Pancevski report for the Wall Street Journal.
Germany will provide 14 leopard tanks from its own stocks as part of a first shipment to Ukraine, the German government confirmed in a statement. According to the statement, Germany will also “give the partner countries that want to quickly deliver Leopard 2 tanks from their stocks to Ukraine the corresponding authorizations to transfer them.” Stephanie Halasz reports for CNN.
The Pentagon is racing to increase its production of artillery shells by 500 percent within two years. It is hoped that the effort will make up for shortfalls caused by the war in Ukraine as well as build stockpiles for future conflicts. John Ismay and Eric Lipton report for the New York Times.
The corruption accusations that led to a shake-up in Ukraine’s government in recent days do not appear to have involved billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid supplied by the U.S.. The Biden administration is “not aware that any U.S. assistance was involved,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a daily briefing. Michael Crowley reports for the New York Times.
Five top regional prosecutors were dismissed from their jobs today, a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy launched Ukraine’s latest anti-corruption drive. The officials, who were the most senior prosecutors in their respective regions, were dismissed “voluntarily” by Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin, his office said in a brief statement. Reuters reports.
A man has been arrested by Spanish police in connection with the letter bombs sent to the Ukrainian and U.S. embassies and other institutions late last year. The man, a Spanish citizen, was detained in the northern town of Miranda del Ebro, and police officers were still searching his home, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Reuters report.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Killings of journalists and news media workers were up almost 50 percent in 2022, according to a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least 67 members of the press were killed last year, the organization found, an increase driven by the war in Ukraine and an uptick in killings in Latin America. Lauren McCarthy reports for the New York Times.
In a setback for Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO, Turkey has postponed an upcoming diplomatic meeting between the three countries. The meeting, scheduled for February in Brussels, was intended to provide a platform to resolve the countries’ differences and alleviate the standoff over an expansion of the alliance. Jared Malsin and Laurence Norman report for the Wall Street Journal.
Finland may consider joining NATO without Sweden if Stockholm’s application is stalled, Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said yesterday. His comments come as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that recent protests in Stockholm by an anti-Islam activist and another by pro-Kurdish groups could jeopardize Sweden’s bid. However, while this is the first time Finland seemed to open the door to proceedings without Sweden, Haavisto’s remark does not appear to signal an official change in position. Emily Rauhala reports for the Washington Post.
New Zealand welcomed a new prime minister, six days after former leader Jacinda Ardern’s shock resignation. Chris Hipkins was sworn in today at an inauguration ceremony in the capital Wellington. Hipkins was unanimously endorsed on Sunday by the ruling Labour party to succeed Ardern as its leader. He was the only nominee. Jessie Yeung reports for CNN.
COVID-19 has infected over 102.079 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 669.372 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.74 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.