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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.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
New York Judge Juan Merchan handling former President Trump’s criminal hush money case, approved a protective order yesterday that limits Trump’s ability to publicize information on social media related to evidence in the investigation. Trump’s attorneys had opposed the protective order, arguing that it infringed on Trump’s First Amendment rights as he makes another run for president in 2024. Jeremy Herb and Kara Scannell report for CNN.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
A bipartisan committee of the Texas State Legislature yesterday voted to advance a bill raising the minimum age to purchase AR-15-style rifles from 18 to 21. The killing of eight people at a shopping center in Allen, Texas, on Saturday has exerted an unexpectedly emotional force on the Legislature, which was previously staunchly opposed to gun control legislation. Even if it were to pass the House, it would face almost inevitable rejection by the State Senate, where the hard-right lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, holds control. J. David Goodman reports for the New York Times.
Despite prosecutions, the Proud Boys remain active, pivoting from supporting former President Trump’s denial of the 2020 election results to cultural grievances over issues such as gay rights. One nonprofit that monitors extremism, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, recorded 143 incidents of Proud Boys’ political violence or protest activity in 2022. Jan Wolfe reports for the Wall Street Journal.
George Alvarez, 34, the Texas man accused of crashing his car into a group of pedestrians near a Brownsville homeless shelter housing migrants, killing eight people, has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault, police said yesterday. Police have not ruled out the possibility that the crash was intentional. Brendan O’Brien and Tyler Clifford report for Reuters.
China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, met with the U.S. ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, yesterday in a possible hint at a thaw in relations after months of growing tension. Qin told Burns that a “top priority” was to stabilize relations, “avoid a downward spiral, and prevent accidents between China and the United States.” The meeting marked one of the highest-level engagements between U.S. and Chinese officials since relations soured following the downing of a high-altitude Chinese balloon in February. David Pierson reports for the New York Times.
Canada wants to work more closely with the AUKUS alliance in areas of A.I., quantum computing, and other advanced technologies with a defense application, Defense Minister Anita Anand said yesterday. Canada reportedly does not seek to join the nuclear component of the AUKUS alliance. Reuters reports.
Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called Florida’s new immigration bill “immoral” yesterday. Florida lawmakers passed a bill last week that will guarantee $12 million for a controversial program Governor Ron DeSantis has used to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. “Now I found out that the Florida governor … is taking repressive, inhumane measures against migrants in Florida because he wants to be a candidate [for president],” López Obrador said. Kierra Frazier reports for POLITICO.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – WESTERN RESPONSE
The United States is set to announce a $1.2 billion aid package to Ukraine as early as today, according to a U.S. official. With Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces looming, the package will include drones, artillery ammunition, air defense missiles, and other capabilities. With the new package, the U.S. will have committed $37.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration. Oren Liebermann reports for CNN.
Britain appears poised to send Ukraine the long-range missiles the Biden administration has long denied Kyiv. A final decision has yet to be made, according to a British official who declined to confirm the type, timing, or quantity of weaponry under consideration. Karen DeYoung reports for the Washington Post.
The E.U. is considering sanctioning eight Chinese companies over Russia’s war in Ukraine. The bloc aims to target firms the E.U. believes have provided Moscow with electronic items, including semiconductors with military applications. The proposed listings are part of an 11th package of sanctions against Russia over its invasion. In Beijing yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin warned the E.U. that China would take “resolute measures” in response to European sanctions. Laurence Norman reports for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Russian authorities controlling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are preparing to evacuate about 3,100 staff, the head of Ukraine’s nuclear operator said yesterday. The removal of staff at the power plant could exacerbate the situation, which is already becoming “unpredictable and potentially dangerous,” the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog warned over the weekend. Siobhán O’Grady and Kostiantyn Khudov report for the Washington Post.
Parts of occupied Ukraine are running short of food, fuel, and cash as the occupation authorities ordered tens of thousands of civilians to evacuate in the face of a looming Ukrainian counteroffensive. Marc Santora and Anna Lukinova report for the New York Times.
Ukrainian officials say air defenses downed 15 Russian cruise missiles launched overnight against Kyiv. According to Serhiy Popko, a senior Kyiv military official, no casualties were reported from the attack. Popko said he believed the missiles had been launched by four bombers flying from the Caspian Sea region. Antoinette Radford and George Wright report for BBC News.
Russia celebrates a muted Victory Day today, with many mass events canceled over security concerns after last week’s drone attack on the Kremlin and a looming Ukrainian counteroffensive. “A real war has once again been waged against our homeland,” President Vladimir Putin said at the ceremony marking the end of World War II. At least 20 cities across Russia canceled Victory Day parades, with regional officials saying they did not want to “provoke the enemy with large amounts of equipment and military personnel.” Mary Ilyushina and Robyn Dixon report for the Washington Post.
According to an internal U.N. estimate, 5 million additional people in Sudan will require emergency assistance, half of them children. By October, some 860,000 people are expected to flee to neighboring countries, including Chad, placing additional strain on nations already facing some of the world’s most under-funded humanitarian crises. Aid workers and diplomats have warned that funding gaps for Africa will grow as Europe focuses on Ukraine, post-Brexit Britain turns inward, and some lawmakers in the United States target budget cuts. Mahamat Ramadane, Joe Bavier and Emma Farge report for Reuters.
Chile’s far-right Republican Party finished in first place on Sunday in a vote to choose the 50 members of a committee that will draft a replacement to the country’s dictatorship-era constitution. The political right will choose 33 of 50 members of the committee, while the left-wing coalition supported by President Gabriel Boric will choose only 11. Claudia Heiss, head of the Political Science program at the University of Chile, said that with 22 committee members, the Republican Party “does not need to negotiate with anyone, they can write the Constitution they want” and “have the power to veto any modification.” France 24 reports.
China has expelled Canada’s consul in Shanghai in retaliation for Ottawa sending home a Chinese diplomat accused of trying to intimidate a Canadian lawmaker. Chloe Kim and Kelly Ng report for BBC News.
Three Palestinian militant commanders were killed today in targeted Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip, leaving at least 12 dead and 20 injured, including civilians. The Israeli military said the airstrikes on the Palestinian enclave were part of a new operation against senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commanders it blames for recent rocket fire into Israel. Dov Lieber reports for the Wall Street Journal.
A special European Parliament committee voted yesterday for a temporary ban on the sale, acquisition, and use of spyware while the E.U. draws up common standards based on international law. The vote is non-binding. The E.U. needs tighter regulation of the spyware industry, the special committee has said, after concluding that Hungary and Poland used surveillance software to illegally monitor journalists, politicians, and activists. Jennifer Rankin reports for the Guardian.