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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
E. Jean Carroll seeks further damages from former President Trump for his disparaging comments about her during a recent CNN town hall. The amended complaint filed yesterday comes after Carroll won a $5 million judgment against Trump in a civil sexual assault and defamation case. Shayna Jacobs reports for the Washington Post.
Judge Juan Manuel Merchan will today instruct former President Trump on the protective order issued in relation to the hush money payment case. Trump risks being held in contempt if he uses evidence turned over by prosecutors in the pretrial discovery process to target witnesses or others involved in the case. Trump will attend the hearing remotely to avoid the security and logistical challenges of bringing the former president to the Manhattan courthouse. Michael R. Sisak reports for AP News.
Federal prosecutors investigating former President Trump’s handling of classified documents have issued a subpoena for information about Trump’s business dealings in foreign countries since he took office, according to two people familiar with the matter. The subpoena seeks details on the Trump Organization’s real estate licensing and development dealings in seven countries: China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Ben Protess report for the New York Times.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The driver of a U-Haul who crashed into a security barrier in Lafayette Square near the White House yesterday night was arrested and charged with threatening to kill or harm a president, vice president, or family member, according to U.S. Park Police. While no injuries were reported, a preliminary investigation revealed the driver may have intentionally struck the barrier, the Secret Service said. Mary Kay Mallonee and Josh Campbell report for CNN.
Governor Ron DeSantis had close ties to the now-convicted Republican donor Lev Parnas during his 2018 race, information and text messages reveal. DeSantis previously said that Parnas “was just like any other donor, nothing more than that.” However, text messages show that DeSantis frequently appealed to Parnas for introductions, advice, and other fundraising help during his hotly contested campaign for governor. Parnas served as an intermediary between DeSantis and Rudolph Giuliani, the personal attorney of former President Trump at the time. A jury found Parnas guilty of campaign finance crimes and other charges. Aram Roston and Joseph Tanfani report for Reuters.
President Biden predicted a “thaw” in relations with China on Sunday. The prediction contrasts sharply with President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on national security and Beijing’s portrayal of the Group of Seven as a cabal seeking to isolate and weaken Chinese power. Peter Baker and David E. Sanger report for the New York Times.
Papua New Guinea will not be used as a base for “war to be launched,” Prime Minister James Marape said today, as the Pacific country signed a defense agreement with the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday that the deal would expand the Pacific island nation’s capabilities and make it easier for the U.S. military to train with its forces. The Guardian reports.
A U.S. diplomatic offensive to counter China’s growing clout in the Pacific Islands appears to be paying dividends, with three agreements sealed within 48 hours. The agreements with Papua New Guinea, Palau, and Micronesia underscore that, for now, “it is still a heavily U.S.-leaning region,” says Derek Grossman, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation. Dave Lawler reports for Axios.
China is ramping up efforts to develop a satellite-powered internet network that can compete with Elon Musk’s Starlink. Starlink’s military applications have been displayed in Ukraine’s defense against Russia. A U.S. Space Force division has also been working on a fleet of satellites to support U.S. military aims. The E.U. has set out to develop a low-Earth orbit network as part of a broader satellite-communications strategy, as has Taiwan. Clarence Leong and Micah Maidenberg report for the Wall Street Journal.
The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, claimed that Ukrainian military saboteurs launched an attack across the border yesterday, wounding eight people in a small town. Gladkov said a counterterrorist operation was underway and that authorities were imposing special controls, including personal document checks and stopping the work of companies that use “explosives, radioactive, chemically and biologically hazardous substances.” Kyiv officials denied any link with the group and blamed the fighting on a revolt by disgruntled Russians against the Kremlin. Susie Blann reports for AP News.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is pushing for a last-minute agreement to secure Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant ahead of a counteroffensive that could see Ukrainian forces drive directly through the potentially hazardous nuclear facility. Grossi plans to present a list of five principles for the U.N. Security Council to endorse later this month. Stephanie Liechtenstein and John Hudson report for the Washington Post.
Sudan’s one-week ceasefire is at risk as fighting between the warring factions threatens. Some residents reported relative calm early today, the first full day of the ceasefire that is being monitored by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. and is meant to allow for the delivery of humanitarian relief. Mohamed Nureldin and Khalid Abdelaziz report for Reuters.
Brazil has declared a six-month animal health emergency after several cases of avian flu were found in wild birds. The emergency declaration makes it easier for the government to implement measures to stop the highly infectious H5N1 virus from spreading. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of chicken meat, with annual sales of nearly $10bn. James FitzGerald reports for BBC News.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro has suspended a ceasefire with a dissident Farc rebel group, making Petro’s hope of achieving “total peace” less likely. The suspension comes after the killing of four indigenous teenagers by the rebels. Two months ago, Petro put on hold a ceasefire with another of Colombia’s armed groups, the Gulf Clan. Vanessa Buschschlüter report for BBC News.
The E.U. has asked Greece to investigate footage of the country’s Coast Guard abandoning migrants in the Aegean Sea last month, a top official said yesterday. The footage points to many Greek, E.U., and international law violations. Greek voters appear to be largely unmoved by the alleged violations, putting Greece’s conservative prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, on track for a decisive victory. Matina Stevis-Gridneff reports for the New York Times.
Europe is increasingly wary of China, despite robust trade between the E.U. and the ‘world’s factory,’ recent Group of Seven (G7) developments suggest. “We are no longer this naive continent that thinks, ‘Wow, the wonderful China market, look at these opportunities!’” said Philippe Le Corre, a French analyst with the Asia Society Policy Institute. Over the weekend, the G7 wrote their first joint statement of principles about how they would resist economic blackmail and dissuade China from threatening or invading Taiwan while trying to reassure Beijing that they were not seeking confrontation. Ishaan Tharoor reports for the Washington Post.
Iran yesterday removed its top national security official, Ali Shamkhani after he came under scrutiny over his close ties with a high-ranking British spy, Alireza Akbari. Akbari, a dual British citizen, was Shamkhani’s deputy at the Defense Ministry and then worked as an adviser to him on the Supreme National Council. Akbari, who was lured back to Iran by Shamkhani, was executed in January. Despite this, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, removed Shamkhani and replaced him with a senior naval commander of the Revolutionary Guards with little experience in civilian politics. Farnaz Fassihi reports for the New York Times.