Signup to receive the Early Edition in your inbox here.
A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – U.S. RESPONSE
The Biden administration is weighing up whether to release intelligence that it believes shows China is considering supplying weapons to Russia. The discussions on public disclosure come ahead of Friday’s U.N. Security Council meeting marking one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. It follows a number of closed-door appeals to China, coordinated among NATO allies, which culminated in a formal warning delivered over the weekend to Wang Yi, China’s senior foreign-policy officer, by western officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Vivian Salama, William Mauldin and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. plans to redouble its efforts to garner global support to help Ukraine, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said. Speaking ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 (G20) finance ministers in India, Yellen also offered a grim assessment of Russia’s economy and warned China of the consequences of helping Moscow circumvent U.S. sanctions. Alan Rappeport reports for the New York Times.
The U.S.’s Middle Eastern allies continue to adopt a “strategic ambiguity” position on the Russian war in Ukraine. The Gulf states have benefited from the rise of energy costs since the invasion began one year ago. Indeed the Gulf Cooperation Council, whose members include Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain, enjoyed budget surpluses in 2022, a first in eight years. The U.S. has been increasing the pressure on its Middle Eastern allies to choose sides. Last month the U.S. Treasury Department sent a delegation to the U.A.E. and Turkey to warn them against facilitating Russian sanctions evasion. Nadeen Ebrahim reports for CNN.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
The U.N. is set to vote on a resolution today that calls on Russia to immediately and unconditionally leave Ukrainian territory. While this nonbinding resolution is expected to pass by a large majority, key states like China and India are expected to abstain. The Russian Ambassador has said the resolution will not enable peace but will “encourage the West, which will continue its militaristic line, using the U.N. as a cover.” Tensions are heightened as President Biden completed his Europe tour yesterday by affirming the U.S. commitment to defending “every inch of NATO.” Erin Cunningham, Niha Masih, and Jennifer Hassan report for the Washington Post.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he plans to strengthen Russia’s nuclear forces. In an address earlier today, Putin said that he would focus on “strengthening the nuclear triad,” meaning nuclear weapons that can be fired from land, air, and sea. Putin’s comments come after he said on Tuesday that he would suspend Russia’s involvement in the New START treaty, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the U.S.. Patrick Smith reports for NBC News.
Russia has accused Ukraine and Moldova of plotting a false flag operation in the breakaway region of Transnistria. Russian news agency RIA said Ukraine, which borders Moldova, planned to stage an operation in which they would claim Russian troops had attacked from the breakaway Moldovan region as a pretext to invade. Moldova has denied the allegations amid rising tensions with Russia which accuses Moldova of having an anti-Russian agenda. Joseph Stepansky reports for Al Jazeera.
OTHER U.S. RELATIONS
Russian hacker, Dariy Pankov, has been extradited to the U.S. from Georgia, the Justice Department said yesterday. The 28-year-old is accused of earning in excess of $350,000 in the illicit sale of access to over 35,000 computers and is the latest Russian cybercriminal sought by U.S. law enforcement agencies. President Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to crack down on Russian hackers, however, cooperation efforts have been stifled by the war in Ukraine. Sean Lyngaas reports from CNN.
House lawmakers returning from a pair of official trips to Taiwan called on the U.S. government yesterday to speed up weapons deliveries to the self-governing island. The trips by the House’s new select committee on China, as well as a bipartisan delegation of House lawmakers, were intended to bolster ties with the country as it shores up defenses against China. Karoun Demirjian reports for the New York Times.
U.S. airstrikes in Somalia have killed 7 al-Shabaab fighters, the Pentagon has said. The “collective self-defense strike” was requested by the Somali government. The strike is the 6th in a growing number of coordinated strikes against what U.S. Africa Command considers to be the world’s largest al Qaeda network. This demonstrates U.S. support for Somalia following President Biden’s approval to redeploy U.S. fewer than 500 troops to Somalia following former President Trump’s decision to withdraw in 2020. Oren Liebermann reports for CNN
JAN. 6 ATTACK AND 2020 ELECTION PROBES
Former President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury about Trump’s efforts to remain in power following his 2020 election loss. The decision by special counsel, Jack Smith, to issue the subpoena is the latest sign that no potential high-level witness is off limits to the investigation. It is unclear whether Trump will seek to block his daughter and Kushner from testifying on the grounds of executive privilege, as he has tried with some other witnesses. Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt report for the New York Times.
The foreperson of the special grand jury which investigated efforts by former president Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia has sparked controversy by speaking about some of the investigation’s findings. Earlier this week Emily Kohrs told interviewers that the panel recommended multiple indictments in its reports, the details of which a Georgia judge had ordered sealed. Kohrs revelations have caused concerns among some legal experts. However, others have highlighted that Kohrs hasn’t released information into the public domain that hasn’t been either known or widely speculated. “The idea that she has, in any way, tainted the case…is misguided,” Anthony Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University said. Amy Gardner and Matthew Brown report for the Washington Post.
Arizona’s former attorney general published an incomplete account of his office’s probe of election fraud in Maricopa County in 2020, leaving out edits from his own investigators which said that virtually all claims of fraud were unfounded. In April 2022, the then attorney general Mark Brnovich released an “Interim Report” of his investigation claiming that his office had discovered “serious vulnerabilities.” However, according to newly released documents, investigators prepared a report in March of that year refuting these assertions. Moreover, his office then compiled an “Election Review Summary” in September which made clear that none of the complaining parties – from state lawmakers to self-styled “election integrity” groups – had presented any evidence to support their claims of election fraud. Brnovich left office without releasing the summary. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker report for the Washington Post.
Proud Boy lieutenant Jeremy Bertino, who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy in relation to the Jan. 6 attack, testified yesterday that the group believed themselves to be “the tip of the spear” of a “revolution.” The testimony, which formed part of the trial of Proud Boys leader Enrique Torro and four others for seditious conspiracy, enabled prosecutors to demonstrate the planned targeting of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by the organization’s leadership. Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand report for CNN.
A Texas man who participated in the Jan. 6 attack was sentenced yesterday to more than 3 years imprisonment for assaulting police officers and threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) after the attack by tweeting “Assassinate AOC.” 36-year-old Garret Miller, who pleaded guilty, had traveled to the capital on Jan. 6 with a rope, grappling hook and a mouth guard. The prosecution has argued that Miller was “at the forefront of every barrier overturned, police line overrun, and entryway breached within his proximity that day.” Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand report for CNN.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Israel launched airstrikes earlier today targeting alleged weapons sites operated by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The strikes follow a raid by the Israeli Defense Force in Nablus in the occupied West Bank yesterday. 11 died and nearly 500 individuals were injured during the raid. Hadas Gold, Abeer Salman, Mohammed Tawfeeq, Richard Roth and Sana Noor Haq report for CNN.
Mexican lawmakers passed wide-ranging measures overhauling the nation’s electoral agency yesterday. The changes, which will cut the electoral agency’s staff, diminish its autonomy and limit its ability to punish politicians for breaking, have been criticized by some, including members of Mexico’s governing party, as an attempt to weaken democracy in the country. The Supreme Court is expected to hear a challenge to the measures in the coming months. If the changes stand, election officials say it will become difficult to carry out free and fair elections. Natalie Kitroeff reports for the New York Times.
Japanese and Chinese officials met in Tokyo yesterday for security talks amid rising tensions. The talks take place following the release of Japan’s national security strategy in December in which China is flagged as the country’s “greatest strategic challenge.” Japan has increased its defense budget by 26 percent in 2023 over 2022. It has pledged a 2% defense budget by 2027. While tensions over the contested ownership of the island that Japan controls continue, the main issue is the status of Taiwan, which China regards as part of its territory. Amy Hawkins reports for The Guardian.
An immigration court in the U.K. yesterday upheld a 2019 decision by the U.K. government to strip citizenship from Shamima Begum. Begum left the country in 2015, while still a teenager, and traveled to Syria from London with two friends to join the Islamic State terrorist group. The ruling comes after Begum appealed the government’s 2019 decision, arguing that it left her stateless. In the written judgment, the tribunal dismissed Begum’s appeal on all of the grounds raised by her lawyers, who had argued, among other things, that she was a victim of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Megan Specia reports for the New York Times.
COVID-19 has infected over 103.124 million people and has now killed over 1.12 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 674.186 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.86 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.