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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.


The United States and the Philippines today launched their most extensive combat exercises in decades in waters across the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait that will likely inflame China. The annual drills will run up to Apr. 28, include more than 17,600 military personnel, and involve live-fire drills, including a boat-sinking rocket assault. Jim Gomez reports for AP News

South Korean spies and U.S. private investigators are part of a sting operation to seize $100 million in cryptocurrency stolen by North Korea. Disrupting North Korea’s cryptocurrency hackers, who help fund the regime’s missile program, has become a national security imperative for the U.S. and South Korea. According to estimates published in a joint statement by the United States, Korea, and Japan, the North Korean regime “stole up to $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency in 2022 alone.” Sean Lyngaas reports for CNN

Mexico’s security officials will meet with U.S. counterparts to address the trafficking of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said yesterday. The meeting’s agenda will cover other topics, including arms trafficking, Lopez Obrador said, without providing details on which U.S. officials would participate. U.S. officials say almost all fentanyl on U.S. streets is mass-produced by powerful crime groups in Mexican, a claim Lopez Obrador denies. Reuters reports. 

President Joe Biden has said he will emphasize the U.S.’s “commitment to preserving peace” in Northern Ireland when he visits Belfast this evening. Biden will arrive in Belfast to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday peace agreement. Biden’s visit will be overshadowed by the collapse of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government last year when the Democratic Unionist Party pulled out as part of a protest against post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland. BBC News reports. 


The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee said yesterday that it would hold a hearing on the “pro-crime” policies of Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney leading the criminal prosecution of former President Trump. Committee member Andy Biggs (R-AZ) tweeted: “If Bragg can spend resources indicting President Trump, he should be able to address the soaring crime in NYC.” The move was the latest by Trump’s congressional defenders to try to tarnish Bragg. Ed Shanahan reports for the New York Times

Former President Trump appealed a judge’s order yesterday requiring former Vice President Pence to testify to the grand jury probing the effort to subvert the 2020 election. Chief District Court Judge James Boasberg rejected Trump’s claim that Pence’s testimony would intrude on conversations protected by executive privilege. Trump has not yet filed for an emergency expedited effort to block Boasberg’s order, but he has taken that step in several other cases to no avail. It is unclear when Pence is expected to testify. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO

Former President Trump is expected to sit for a deposition in a civil lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James this week. The lawsuit alleges that Trump and his organization were involved in an expansive scheme lasting over a decade by providing false financial statements to lenders and others that the former president used to enrich himself. The lawsuit seeks $250 million and a ban on Trump’s ability to operate a business in the state. The case is set for trial in October. Kara Scannell and Kristen Holmes report for CNN


The manner in which the leaked documents were obtained suggests the leaker probably took few steps to conceal their I.P. addresses or the date stamps from photographs, said Javed Ali, a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official. “Sometimes a leaker makes a mistake when leaking with photographs or an electronic fingerprint,” said a former FBI official. Such mistakes may help investigators find the leaker. A senior U.S. official said that hundreds, if not thousands, of military and other U.S. government officials, have the security clearances to access the documents. Julian E. Barnes, Eric Schmitt, and Helene Cooper report for the New York Times.


A shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky, yesterday has left at least five people dead and eight others injured, including two who were in critical condition. Police said they fatally shot the suspect, a 25-year-old white man employed at the bank. Authorities confirmed that the shooting was live-streamed on Instagram. In a statement, Instagram’s parent company Meta said it “quickly removed the live stream of this tragic incident this morning.” Erin Doherty reports for Axios

Tennessee state Representative Justin Jones returned to the state House yesterday after the Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County voted 36-0 to make Jones the interim representative following his expulsion over a gun protest. Republicans on Thursday voted to kick out Jones and fellow Democrat Justin Pearson. Pearson could get a similar vote for reinstatement tomorrow when the Shelby County Board of Commissioners considers reappointing him to his Memphis district. Sandra Stojanovic and Omar Younis report for Reuters

Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted on Saturday that he requested a state pardon board review the case of Daniel Perry, who was found guilty of murdering a Black Lives Matter protester, Garrett Foster, at a demonstration in the summer of 2020 in Austin, Texas. Texas is one of several states that have passed “Stand Your Ground” laws to ensure that deadly force used in self-defense is legally protected. Responding to the tweet, Travis County District Attorney José Garza said, “In a state that believes in upholding the importance of the rule of law, the governor’s statement that he will intervene in the legal proceedings surrounding the death of Garrett Foster is deeply troubling.” Zusha Elinson reports for the Wall Street Journal

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) has issued a subpoena to FBI Director Christopher Wray in connection with a now-withdrawn memo that explored gaining information on white supremacists’ interaction with local Catholic churches. The FBI memo detailed the growing overlap between white nationalist groups and “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics.” The memo has become the basis for Republican lawmakers accusing the FBI of developing an anti-Catholic bias in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade that spurred threats to both churches and abortion clinics. Rebecca Beitsch reports for The Hill

Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday promised a hearing looking into the Supreme Court’s ethical standards following Justice Clarence Thomas’ undisclosed acceptance of gifts and excursions from a Republican donor. Members also urged Chief Justice John Roberts to investigate Thomas, writing that the committee would consider drafting legislation clarifying the court’s ethics rules if the court did not act. No date was announced for the planned hearing. Carl Hulse reports for the New York Times

The Biden administration has begun examining whether checks need to be placed on A.I. tools, such as ChatGPT, amid growing concerns that the technology could be used to discriminate or spread harmful information. The Commerce Department put out a formal public request for comment on accountability measures, including whether potentially risky new A.I. models should undergo a certification process before being released. The comments, which will be accepted over the next 60 days, will be used to help formulate advice to U.S. policymakers about how to approach A.I., said Alan Davidson, who leads the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Ryan Tracy reports for Wall Street Journal


Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi recently ordered subordinates to produce up to 40,000 rockets to be covertly shipped to Russia, according to a leaked U.S. intelligence document. The leaks suggest that Egypt was willing to supply these munitions “because it was the least Egypt could do to repay Russia for unspecified help earlier.” A U.S. government official said that Egypt, a key ally in the Middle East and a primary recipient of U.S. aid, is not believed to have delivered any rockets. Evan Hill, Missy Ryan, Siobhán O’Grady, and Samuel Oakford report for the Washington Post

Russia is using “scorched earth” tactics as it fights to take Bakhmut, a top Ukrainian military commander, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky, said yesterday. Moscow’s forces have, in recent weeks, steadily advanced in grinding house-to-house combat accompanied by heavy artillery and mortar fire, seeking to claim their first significant military victory in months. Matthew Luxmoore reports for the Wall Street Journal

The State Department yesterday designated Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained,” launching a broad government effort to exert pressure on Russia to free him. Gershkovich is held on an accusation of espionage. His case now shifts to a State Department section known as the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, which is focused on negotiating for the release of hostages. Vivian Salama and William Mauldin report for the Wall Street Journal


The Italian coastguard is carrying out two large-scale operations to rescue around 1,200 migrants from overcrowded boats off the coast of Sicily. German non-governmental organization Sea-Watch International said two merchant vessels near one of the boats had been ordered not to help with rescue efforts by Malta while the boat was in Maltese waters. Instead, one of the ships had been allowed to supply the boat with fuel and water. Migrant arrivals to Italy have risen steeply compared with the same period last year, despite efforts by the right-wing coalition government to clamp down on irregular migration. Alys Davies reports for BBC News

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday night that he had reversed his decision to fire Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The decision comes more than two weeks after Gallant was nominally dismissed for criticizing the government’s controversial plan to overhaul Israel’s justice system. The reversal came amid a broader effort within Israel to project a sense of unity, amid fears that Israel’s enemies had been emboldened by the instability created by the judicial plan. Patrick Kingsley and Hiba Yazbek report for the New York Times

Thousands of Israelis, including ministers in the government, marched to the evacuated Jewish outpost, Evyatar, in the West Bank yesterday in support of settlements viewed as illegal under international law. Reuters reports. 

Israel signed a $400 million deal to sell anti-tank missiles to Greece, Israel’s Defense Ministry said yesterday, just days after reaching a similar-sized deal to provide air defenses to new NATO member Finland. Reuters reports. 


The national emergency to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic ended yesterday as President Biden signed a bipartisan congressional resolution to bring it to a close after three years. Zeke Miller reports for AP News