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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – HANDLING OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS
The federal grand jury hearing evidence in the Justice Department’s investigation of former President Trump’s handling of classified documents is expected to meet this coming week, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation. It is unclear whether prosecutors are prepared to seek an indictment. Prosecutors face two central legal questions: 1) Did Trump wrongfully retain classified documents after he left the White House? 2) Did he later obstruct the government’s efforts to retrieve them? Laura Jarrett, Carol E. Lee, Ryan J. Reilly, Ken Dilanian, and Julia Ainsley report for NBC News.
Recorded recollections of former President Trump’s lawyer, M. Evan Corcoran, will be reviewed by the office of the special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the classified documents investigation. Corcoran’s recollections covered his initial meeting with Trump to discuss a subpoena from the Justice Department seeking the return of all classified materials and a search for documents that Corcoran undertook at Mar-a-Lago. Alan Feuer, Ben Protess, and Maggie Haberman report for the New York Times.
Former President Trump’s legal team informed the Justice Department that it could not find the Iran document that Trump was recorded discussing, and which prosecutors sought via subpoena. On the recording, Trump signaled his awareness of his inability to declassify the document because he had already left office, according to people familiar with the tape. Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman report for the New York Times.
The Department of Justice has ended an investigation into former Vice President Pence’s handling of classified documents, according to a letter sent by the Department of Justice to Pence’s attorney on Jun. 1. Former President Trump posted on Truth Social, “That’s great, but when am I going to be fully exonerated, I’m at least as innocent as he is.” Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein report for POLITICO.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – 2020 ELECTION
YouTube will stop removing videos with false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, the social media platform announced on Friday. The move, ahead of the 2024 elections, is a reversal of its policy put in place after the 2020 vote. “In the current environment, we find that while removing this content does curb some misinformation, it could also have the unintended effect of curtailing political speech without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm,” the company said. Mike Wendling reports for BBC News.
David Moerschel, an Oath Keeper who was part of the “battering ram” that breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday. Moerschel was convicted by a Washington, D.C., jury of several charges in January, including seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to prevent a member of Congress from discharging their official duties. Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand report for CNN
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a report over the weekend that blames the United States and seven other nations for the CIA’s “torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of a Saudi prisoner who now awaits a death penalty trial at Guantánamo Bay. The group called for the immediate release of and compensation for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of orchestrating the bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole off Yemen nearly 23 years ago. Carol Rosenberg reports for the New York Times.
Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept a private plane that flew over Washington D.C. yesterday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command officials said. The jets were responding to a Cessna that crashed later in Southwest Virginia. It is unclear why the Cessna did not respond or why it crashed. Three people who know the event said there is no indication that the military caused the crash. No survivors were found at the crash site. Justin Wm. Moyer, Ian Duncan, Gillian Brockell, and Katie Shepherd report for the Washington Post.
Brian Landry, 66, a New Hampshire man, faces up to 10 years in prison after threatening to kill a U.S. senator because he was angry that the senator was “blocking military promotions.” Landry has been charged with threatening to assault, kidnap or murder a United States official, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of New Hampshire announced on Friday. Jesus Jiménez reports for the New York Times.
The U.S. Navy has criticized an “unsafe interaction” in the Taiwan Strait, in which a Chinese warship crossed in front of a U.S. destroyer on Saturday. On Saturday night, China’s military rebuked the United States and Canada for “deliberately provoking risk” with their rare joint sailing in the strait. The incident comes after a Chinese fighter jet carried out an “unnecessarily aggressive” maneuver near a U.S. military plane over the South China Sea on May 26. Ben Blanchard and Laurie Chen report for Reuters.
The White House will renew its effort to draw China into discussions about entering arms control talks, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Friday. Sullivan’s speech detailed President Biden’s plans to address the “cracks in our post-Cold War nuclear foundation.” The solutions he pointed to were primarily aimed at maintaining nuclear deterrence. Efforts to draw China into arms control talks are unlikely to succeed anytime soon, as Chinese officials have refused to discuss agreements limiting their work on nuclear weapons. Julian E. Barnes and David E. Sanger report for New York Times.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin today discussed upgrading relations with India as both countries grapple with China’s economic rise and increased belligerence, officials said. India is looking to buy drones that it would likely deploy along its restive borders with China and Pakistan. The U.S. defense trade with India rose from nearly zero in 2008 to over $20 billion in 2020. Ashok Sharma reports for AP News.
President Biden will “at some point” meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan yesterday. However, Sullivan’s remarks come as relations between the world’s two biggest economies remain strained. Sam Fossum reports for CNN.
China’s defense minister, Li Shangfu, said war with the U.S. would be an “unbearable disaster” for the world in his first major speech since taking on the role. Li spoke at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, the Asia-Pacific region’s only annual security meeting. Monica Miller and Joshua Cheetham report for BBC News.
Russia’s defense ministry says it has thwarted a major Ukrainian offensive in Donetsk, claiming to have killed 250 troops and destroyed armored vehicles. Kyiv has not commented on the incident, and Russia’s claim has not been independently verified. George Wright and James Waterhouse report for BBC News.
Ukraine-backed troops yesterday said they crossed into Russia, seized territory, and captured two Russian soldiers. Belgorod regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said fighting was taking place with enemy troops in the border village of Novaya Tavolzhanka. The Russian Volunteer Corps, one of the two groups that said they participated in yesterday’s cross-border attack, offered to release the two prisoners if Gladkov agreed to meet. It is unclear whether the release happened. Matthew Luxmoore and Thomas Grove report for the Wall Street Journal.
The Ukraine-backed troops who launched a cross-border raid from Ukraine into Russia last week used at least four NATO-originated tactical vehicles, U.S. officials said, raising doubts about Kyiv’s commitments to secure materials supplied by Ukraine’s backers. Alex Horton, John Hudson, Samuel Oakford, and Isobel Koshiw report for the Washington Post.
A car bomb killed at least one person on Friday night in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian and Russian officials. The incident highlights the war’s reach far beyond the front lines as Ukrainian partisans aim to undermine the occupation. Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Anatoly Kurmanaev report for the New York Times.
Fighting intensified in several areas of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, yesterday after a ceasefire deal expired. Over 1.2 million people have been displaced within Sudan, and another 400,000 have fled to neighboring states. Reuters reports.
Saudi Arabia yesterday said it would cut oil production by 1 million barrels a day as part of a deal between OPEC and its allies amid concerns over slowing global energy demand. The cuts will be extended until the end of 2024. The Saudi decision to cut output in July could help boost oil prices in the short term, but analysts expect them to continue to trend lower. Benoit Faucon and Summer Said report for the Wall Street Journal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday called the killing of three soldiers by a member of the Egyptian security services a terrorist attack. Netanyahu demanded a full joint investigation with Cairo. An Egyptian security services member shot two Israeli soldiers after the Egyptian crossed through the border fence, soldiers then made contact with the Egyptian service member, and during an exchange of fire, the Egyptian and a third Israeli soldier were killed. The shootings occurred just after a drug incident at the border. Reuters reports.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters have gathered in Warsaw for one of Poland’s largest demonstrations since the fall of communism. Most opposition parties have called on supporters to join the march against the nationalist Law and Justice party. Various issues brought protests together, including frustrations over inflation, the cost of living, and rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community. Concerns have also been raised over a new law criticized for undermining Poland’s democracy. BBC News reports.
Left-wing protesters and police have clashed in Germany’s eastern city of Leipzig for a second night over a jail term given to Lina E, a woman convicted of vigilante attacks on neo-Nazis. Police said about 50 officers had been hurt and 30 protesters arrested over the weekend. Lina E was regarded as a leader of a far-left group responsible for carrying out a brutal campaign of violence against the extreme right over several years, including attacks with hammers, iron bars, and baseball bats. BBC News reports.