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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
16 records from the National Archives show that former President Trump and his top advisers knew the correct declassification process while he was in the White House, according to multiple sources. These records are set to be shared with special counsel Jack Smith on May 24 “unless prohibited by an intervening court order.” The records may provide insight into Trump’s intent and whether he willfully disregarded what he knew to be established protocols, according to a source familiar with recent testimony provided to the grand jury by former top Trump officials. Jamie Gangel, Zachary Cohen, Evan Perez, and Paula Reid report for CNN.
Ray Smith III, a lawyer who represented former President Trump in litigation aimed at reversing Georgia’s 2020 election results, may be “something between a target and witness” of Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis’ criminal probe. Willis is conducting additional witness interviews as she prepares to present her case to a grand jury with the power to issue indictments. She has reportedly told local law enforcement to expect indictment decisions as early as July. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO.
A letter by former President Obama and multiple pieces of correspondence between former President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are among the missing White House classified records, said William Bosanko, chief operating officer of the National Archives, who spoke to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors in March. Bosanko stressed that the National Archives realized that records, though not necessarily classified ones, appeared to be missing, and they “very informally” asked representatives of Trump if they might have the papers. Jordain Carney reports for POLITICO.
Since former President Reagan, every administration has mismanaged classified documents, according to National Archives and Records Administration officials, who spoke to House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors in March. Read the full transcript of the testimony.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – DISCORD LEAKS
Jack Teixeira, the Air National Guard member accused of leaking intelligence reports, appears to have shared sensitive secrets with foreign nationals, prosecutors said in a court filing yesterday. Teixeira shared reports in a group of over 150 users, including “a number of individuals who represented that they resided in other countries.” Devlin Barrett reports for the Washington Post.
Colleagues wrote up Jack Teixeira for not following rules for the use of classified systems nearly seven months before he was charged, according to memos submitted as part of prosecutors’ latest court filings. Members of Teixeira’s unit saw him take notes from classified information, access classified information unrelated to his job, and repeatedly told him to stop. Nancy A. Youssef reports for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The FBI has revoked the security clearances of three agents who either took part in the Jan. 6 attack or expressed views that questioned their “allegiance to the United States,” top FBI officials said in a letter to congressional investigators yesterday. The letter comes just before at least two of those agents testify in front of a House Judiciary subcommittee investigating what Republicans contend is the “weaponization” of the federal government against conservatives. Alan Feuer reports for the New York Times.
Montana is set to become the first U.S. state to ban Chinese-owned media giant TikTok from personal devices. Governor Greg Gianforte signed the ban into law yesterday. It will take effect on Jan. 1. James Clayton and Annabelle Liang report for BBC News.
The State Department said yesterday it would allow a bipartisan pair of lawmakers to review an internal dissent memo written by staffers of the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan just before the U.S. withdrawal. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) had threatened to hold Secretary of State Antony Blinken in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the classified cable. McCaul and Gregory Meeks (D-NY) will be allowed to view the classified document in a private, secured setting, with the names of the signatories redacted. Vivian Salama reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday left in place the Democratic-backed Protect Illinois Communities Act that bans assault-style rifles and large-capacity magazines. The court denied a request by the National Association for Gun Rights and a firearms retailer for an injunction blocking enforcement of the state law while a legal challenge to the measures proceeds. Andrew Chung reports for Reuters.
The House yesterday voted to refer a resolution to expel Representative George Santos (R-NY) from Congress to the Ethics Committee, effectively killing the measure. Andrew Solender reports for Axios.
China is expected to dominate the agenda at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan, this weekend. “We’re very nervous,” said Lt. Col. Masatoshi Tanaka. “We’ve been facing airspace violations of Japanese territory every day. Chinese activities have expanded in number and quality.” Japan is “the linchpin of the network of American alliances and partnerships in the region, and I think the Americans are aware of that,” said Yoko Iwama, a professor of international relations at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. Shaimaa Khalil reports for BBC News.
NATO member leaders in July are set to approve thousands of pages of secret military plans that will detail for the first time since the Cold War how the alliance would respond to a Russian attack. The move signifies a fundamental shift since NATO had seen no need to develop large-scale defense plans for decades. By outlining what it calls its regional plans, NATO will also give nations guidance on how to upgrade their forces and logistics. Sabine Siebold reports for Reuters.
President Biden yesterday said he would speak with China’s President Xi Jinping but did not say when. Reuters reports.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – GLOBAL RESPONSE
The United States is resisting a push by the U.K. and Netherlands to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. The Biden administration, which must approve any transfers of the American-made planes, remains unconvinced that Ukraine needs the expensive jets. The present U.S. reticence to allow Ukrainian pilots to train in European-owned F-16s could severely limit a proposed new European coalition to help Ukraine obtain the jets. Lara Jakes and Eric Schmitt report for the New York Times.
Ukraine’s foreign minister told China’s special envoy for Eurasian Affairs, Li Hui, yesterday that Kyiv would not accept any proposals to end the war that involved losing territory or freezing the conflict, the Ukrainian foreign ministry said. Li noted there was no panacea to the war in Ukraine but urged all parties to create conditions for peace talks, China’s foreign ministry said today. Reuters reports.
E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has proposed adding $3.85 billion to a fund used to finance military aid for Ukraine, E.U. sources said yesterday. Borrell’s proposal requires approval from the E.U.’s national governments. They agreed last December that, “in case of need,” such an increase could be justified. Andrew Gray reports for Reuters.
More than 40 member nations of the Council of Europe agreed yesterday to set up a system to tally Russia’s damage to Ukraine in the hope of getting reparations. The damages register is seen as a first step toward justice in Ukraine. However, the Council of Europe has made it clear that it will not assess the credibility of any claims, nor will it fund reparations payments. Molly Quell reports for AP News.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Ukraine shot down 29 of 30 Russian cruise missiles today in the latest nighttime test of Ukrainian air defenses, officials said. Susie Blann reports for AP News.
The arrests for high treason of three Russian academics who work on hypersonic missile technology may cause weapons research to “collapse,” Russian scientists wrote in an open letter published on Monday. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said yesterday that the academics were facing “very serious accusations” but declined to provide further details. Peskov confirmed he had seen the open letter and that Russian security services continued working on the case. Francesca Ebel reports for the Washington Post.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad plans to attend a gathering of Arab leaders tomorrow, a first since the civil war broke out. Arab nations cite the need to deal with Syrian refugees, counter Iran, and stem the flow of drugs as reasons for restarting relations with Syria. Vivian Nereim reports for the New York Times.
The expected execution of three protestors in Iran will add to the over 200 executions recorded by the U.N. in just five months. The confessions of the three men publicly broadcast by the authorities were likely given under torture or duress. Executions overall were on the rise in Iran last year, according to human rights group Amnesty International’s annual report on global executions, released this week. Miriam Berger reports for the Washington Post.
Launching an appeal for $3 billion in aid to Sudan, the U.N. said 25 million people needed help – the highest number ever recorded in Sudan. The fighting has uprooted around 1 million people, 220,000 of whom have fled to neighboring states. Talks mediated by the United States and Saudi Arabia in Jeddah have failed to secure a ceasefire. Reuters reports.
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to unveil the Hiroshima Accord, an agreement with Japan to step up defense cooperation and improve supply chains, when he meets Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the Group of Seven summit this week. Rowena Mason reports for the Guardian.