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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.
President Biden yesterday formally announced that he is running for reelection in 2024. Zeke Miller reports for AP News.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg yesterday asked a judge to restrict former President Trump’s access to some evidence in the hush-money case, citing Trump’s history of attacking witnesses and other people involved in legal matters. Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw said Trump’s attorneys did not agree to a protective order, leading prosecutors to file a request with the judge. Corinne Ramey reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Former President Trump “caused” the Jan. 6 attack, an attorney for former Proud Boys national chair Enrique Tarrio said during closing arguments in a seditious conspiracy trial yesterday. “It was not Enrique Tarrio. They want to use Enrique Tarrio as a scapegoat for Donald Trump and those in power,” Tarrio’s attorney added. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO.
Washington has become the 10th state to ban assault weapons sales after Governor Jay Inslee (D) signed the ban into law yesterday. The ban is effective immediately and does not affect the ownership of existing assault weapons. Melissa Santos reports for Axios.
Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will introduce a bipartisan bill today requiring the Supreme Court to create its own code of conduct within a year. The bill comes amid media reports that raise questions about whether Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch properly disclosed their financial activities. Lindsay Wise and Jess Bravin report for the Wall Street Journal.
Joint operations between the Pentagon-based Cyber Command and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have stymied the impact of two state-linked attacks, senior officials disclosed on Monday. During the 2020 presidential election, the joint operation thwarted Iranian-linked efforts to affect vote reporting. The joint operation also uncovered that three federal agencies faced an “intrusion campaign from foreign-based cybercriminals.” Sam Sabin reports for Axios.
President Biden aims to strengthen a commitment from South Korea to bolster Ukraine’s military during a state visit by President Yoon Suk Yeol this week. As weapons stockpiles dwindle globally following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Seoul’s reluctance to supply arms to Kyiv is among U.S. officials’ top priorities. In return for a stronger U.S. commitment to Seoul’s long-term security and economic prosperity, Biden also hopes to work with South Korea and Japan to create a more formidable Indo-Pacific security alliance to counter the rising threat of China. Vivian Salama reports for the Wall Street Journal.
South Korea’s relationship with the United States will not be hurt by the leaked intelligence reports, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol told NBC News. “I believe that this matter is no reason to shake the ironclad trust that supports the U.S.-South Korea alliance, because it is based on shared values like freedom,” Yoon said on Monday. Lester Holt, Jennifer Jett, and Stella Kim report for NBC News.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – SUDAN
Despite the U.S.-brokered cease-fire in Sudan, gunfire and loud explosions could be heard in parts of the capital yesterday, threatening continued efforts by thousands of people to flee the conflict. At least 459 people were killed and more than 4,000 wounded, according to the World Health Organization. Abdi Latif Dahir reports for the New York Times.
Ahmad Harun, a former Sudanese politician wanted for alleged crimes against humanity, has said that he and other former officials are no longer in jail – following reports of a break-out. Harun added that he would be ready to appear before the judiciary whenever it was functioning. Kathryn Armstrong reports for BBC News.
The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday warned of a “huge biological risk” after Sudanese fighters seized the National Public Health Laboratory in the capital. A high-ranking medical source said paramilitary RSF forces had taken over the lab. Nima Saeed Abid, the WHO representative in Sudan, described the development as “extremely dangerous because we have polio isolates in the lab, we have measles isolates in the lab, we have cholera isolates in the lab.” Rob Picheta, Mostafa Salem, Celine Alkhaldi, Brent Swails and Lianne Kolirin report for CNN.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
The Taliban has killed the self-styled Islamic State militant group “mastermind” who orchestrated the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, U.S. officials said yesterday. That attack left 13 U.S. troops and about 170 Afghans dead. Initially, neither the U.S. nor the Taliban knew that the mastermind was dead. He was killed during a series of battles earlier this month in southern Afghanistan between the Taliban and the Islamic State group’s affiliate, according to several officials. Farnoush Amiri, Matthew Lee, Aamer Madhani and Lolita C. Baldor report for AP News.
Over the past two months, armed Russian warplanes have repeatedly violated longstanding agreements with the U.S. by flying dangerously close to U.S. fighter jets and over U.S. forces working in Syria, officials said on Monday. This creates new risks of a deadly miscalculation between the two military superpowers. Dion Nissenbaum reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The E.U. will send a civilian mission to Moldova to help the Eastern European nation combat foreign threats following reports that Russia is working to destabilize Moldova. The E.U.’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said the mission will focus on “crisis management and hybrid threats, including cybersecurity, and countering foreign information manipulation and interference.” Gabriel Gavin reports for POLITICO.
Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles today said Australia would start domestic manufacture of guided missiles by 2025, two years sooner than expected, in a wide-ranging shakeup of defense arrangements to focus on long-range strike capabilities. Reuters reports.
Taiwan’s annual military drills this year consider China’s recent war games and focus on breaking a blockade, the defense ministry said today. Taiwan’s defense ministry said the exercises would be split into two parts – tabletop drills from May 15 to 19 and live-fire exercises from Jul. 24 to 28. Tsai Ming-yen, the director-general of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, said it had upgraded its computers to exchange real-time intelligence with the “Five Eyes” alliance of the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Ben Blanchard reports for Reuters.
Ukraine says it is rapidly increasing its production of drones as demand grows on the front line. The government has relaxed import laws and scrapped taxes for drone parts and equipment. The expansion is being funded by a fundraising campaign called the Army of Drones, which has raised more than $108 million. Joe Tidy reports for BBC News.
China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on strengthening maritime law enforcement cooperation, Chinese state media said today. Reuters reports.
Two Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft and one Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft, flying without transponder signals, were intercepted in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the German airforce said on Twitter.
A group of leading Russian lawyers yesterday asked the Constitutional Court to declare unconstitutional a law banning criticism of the armed forces. More than 6,500 Russians have been penalized for “discrediting” the Russian Army since the law passed. The court must respond to the filing. Such rulings typically take several months. Ivan Nechepurenko reports for the New York Times.
The grain deal that got Ukrainian exports moving and eased a global food crisis is risking support for Ukraine among struggling European farmers. One Romanian farmer noted that prices had been driven so low by a flood of cheap food from Ukraine that selling would mean earning less than he paid to produce his crops. Over the past week, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Bulgaria imposed tight restrictions on importing Ukrainian grain. Only Romania stopped short of an outright ban. Andrew Higgins reports for the New York Times.