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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 – TITLE 42
Daily U.S.-Mexico border crossings have exceeded 10,000 as migrants seek to enter the United States before Title 42 ends. The surge is happening as a new regulation was introduced yesterday that presumes most migrants are ineligible for asylum if they passed through other nations without seeking protection elsewhere first or if they failed to use legal pathways to enter the United States. The new rule is a key part of President Biden’s border enforcement plan, as Title 42 is set to end just before midnight. Michael Roy Blake and Ted Hesson report for Reuters.
The Biden administration is preparing a memo that will direct Customs and Border Protection to begin releasing migrants into the U.S. without court dates or the ability to track them, according to three sources familiar with the plans. Migrants were previously released without court dates to alleviate overcrowding in March 2021. However, those migrants had been enrolled in a program known as Alternatives to Detention, which required them to check in on a mobile app until given a court date. Julia Ainsley reports for NBC News.
Nearly 30,000 humanitarian visas were issued by Mexico to migrants in April, more than triple the monthly average in the first three months of the year. Local Mexican aid groups and migrants say that over the last several weeks, people have been crossing more easily into Mexico from Guatemala, with Mexican security forces abandoning some of their outposts on the country’s southern border. James Fredrick reports for the New York Times.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING BIDEN
House Republicans have unveiled what they say are records of $10 million in payments to members of the Biden family from foreign entities. Oversight Committee Chair James Comer said President Biden’s relatives had used the family name to enrich themselves, and the president was “involved.” The report itself does not substantiate these claims or implicate Biden. It does not allege illegal conduct. Kayla Epstein reports for BBC News.
The FBI yesterday declined to provide House Oversight Chair James Comer with an internal law enforcement document that some Republicans claim will show President Biden was involved in an illegal scheme. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray justified the refusal by saying it was necessary to protect “sources and methods and ongoing investigations.” Christopher Dunham, acting assistant director for the FBI’s office of congressional affairs, warned against relying solely on this document, as it includes unverified allegations to draw conclusions. Sara Murray and Evan Perez report for CNN.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – GEORGE SANTOS INDICTMENT
Representative George Santos (R-NY) yesterday pleaded not guilty to seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives. Magistrate Judge Anne Shields said Santos would be released on a $500,000 bond and that his travel would be restricted to New York City, Long Island, and Washington, D.C., but said he could travel throughout the U.S. with prior permission. Shields ordered Santos to return to court on Jun. 30. Corinne Ramey and James Fanelli report for the Wall Street Journal.
Read the George Santos indictment in full, as reported by POLITICO.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Former President Trump mocked E. Jean Carroll’s account of sexual abuse, said he would pardon many of the Jan. 6 attackers, and repeated falsehoods about his 2020 election loss in the first televised town hall of the 2024 presidential election yesterday. Nathan Layne and Tim Reid report for Reuters.
Daniel Perry, a U.S. Army sergeant who killed an armed protester at a Black Lives Matter march in Texas, was sentenced to 25 years in prison yesterday. Prosecutors used his social media history and text messages to portray him as a racist who may commit violence again. It is unclear whether Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott will issue a pardon, as he previously said he would. Jim Vertuno reports for AP News.
Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, yesterday ripped into his Republican colleagues for postponing a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) markup. Smith accused the Republicans of taking the debt ceiling increase “hostage,” which he said would jeopardize national security. House Armed Services Committee Republicans on Tuesday announced the panel was pushing back plans to mark up the fiscal 2024 NDAA, set to start this week. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.
Senators unveiled two bills yesterday under which the National Archives would screen documents leaving the White House for classified material. The legislation would require all 18 agencies in the intelligence community to develop an insider threat program and monitor user activity on all classified networks for possible signs of a breach. Also included are several requirements to push U.S. intelligence to declassify more information and restrict how secrets are shared. Nomaan Merchant reports for AP News.
President Biden will host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an official state visit on Jun. 22, the White House said yesterday. Biden has been eager to strengthen relations with India to win what he has framed as a contest between free and autocratic societies, especially China. Reuters reports.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said his country needs more time to launch a much-anticipated counter-offensive against Russian forces as the military awaits the delivery of promised aid. Zelenskyy described the new combat brigades as being “ready” but said the military still needed “some things”, including armored vehicles that were “arriving in batches.” Hugo Bachega reports for BBC News.
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, who heads Ukraine’s ground forces, said Russian units in parts of Bakhmut had retreated by up to 1.2 miles due to counterattacks. Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the paramilitary organization Wagner group, who has repeatedly accused Moscow’s regular armed forces of failing to support his men, said on Tuesday that a Russian brigade had abandoned its positions in Bakhmut. The Guardian reports.
India’s imports of Russian oil rose tenfold last year, according to the Indian state-controlled Bank of Baroda. Russia has been selling energy at a discount to countries like China and India. India has saved around $5 billion by purchasing Russian oil. Despite pressure from the United States and Europe, India has refused to adhere to Western sanctions on Russian imports. BBC News reports.
Former President Trump repeatedly refused to say whether he supported Ukraine or Russia during yesterday’s first televised town hall of the 2024 presidential election. Trump said he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin made a mistake in invading Ukraine but would not label him a war criminal. Surveys show that Republicans increasingly oppose U.S. support for Ukraine’s war effort. Anthony Zurcher reports for BBC News.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang agreed to “develop an economic relationship that is both stronger and more balanced,” the foreign ministry in Paris said yesterday. Colonna reminded Qin “that China had an important role to play in convincing Russia to return to full compliance with the U.N. Charter, in particular the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” Reuters reports.
South Korea will be vulnerable to incursions by North Korea’s drones for years to come, according to the intelligence reports leaked on Discord. The revelations come after five North Korean drones flew deep into South Korea on Dec. 26, including one that pierced the no-fly zone around Seoul’s presidential office. In response, the military scrambled fighter jets and helicopters but failed to shoot any of the drones down. Alex Horton, Min Joo Kim, and Michelle Ye Hee Lee report for the Washington Post.
At least seven people were killed and dozens injured in nationwide protests against the arrest of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as a judge extended his detention by eight days. Khan pleaded not guilty at a hearing yesterday, a day after his arrest in a corruption case. Saeed Shah and Waqar Gillani report for the Wall Street Journal.
Foreign ministers for Turkey, Syria, Russia, and Iran met yesterday in Moscow, marking the highest-level talks on rebuilding ties between Turkey and Syria after years of tension during Syria’s civil war. Reuters reports.
Israel’s military has killed the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) rocket launching force in a pre-dawn air strike on an apartment in Gaza. Yesterday, militants fired 507 rockets and mortars at Israel, and the Israeli armed forces struck 158 PIJ targets in Gaza. David Gritten and Rushdi Abu Alouf report for BBC News.
Serbians have surrendered over 3,000 pieces of weaponry in the first two days of a gun amnesty introduced after two mass shootings that killed 17 people, President Aleksandar Vucic said yesterday. Tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition have also been handed in. Reuters reports.