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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.


Sgts. Joshua Abate, 22, and Dodge Dale Hellonen, 23, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol building. The two Marines worked in intelligence gathering and were on active duty during the Jan. 6 attack. They join Cpl. Micah Coomer, 24, who pleaded guilty last month. Coomer will be sentenced in late August. Abate, and Hellonen will be sentenced in September. Rachel Weiner and Dan Lamothe report for the Washington Post


Former President Trump has been searching to find a qualified Florida lawyer willing to join his defense team as he faces the Justice Department over his alleged mishandling of classified documents today. Yesterday afternoon, Trump interviewed prospective lawyers and met with his legal team and other top advisers. According to people familiar with the matter, several prominent Florida attorneys refused to take the case after two key defense lawyers resigned last week. Spencer S. Hsu, David Ovalle, Jacqueline Alemany, and Josh Dawsey report for the Washington Post

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, a then-President Trump appointee, is expected to have control of the case concerning the alleged mishandling of classified documents. Legal experts have described some of Cannon’s pro-Trump rulings as audacious and even lawless. Some ethics experts have said Cannon should recuse herself. Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein report for POLITICO


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) yesterday struck a temporary deal with the conservative Freedom Caucus, ending a nearly weeklong blockade of the House floor. Members of the Freedom Caucus warned they could stall other Republican bills if spending is not cut in the upcoming appropriations process. Scott Wong and Kate Santaliz report for NBC News

U.S. spy agencies buy vast quantities of commercially available information regarding Americans’ personal data, according to a report commissioned by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines released last week. The proliferation of commercially available data means it has begun replicating the results of invasive surveillance techniques once used on a more targeted and limited basis. While data is often sold to the government by vendors who claim it is “anonymized,” an individual’s identity can frequently be inferred. Virtually anyone can purchase the data as the marketplace is loosely regulated in the U.S. Byron Tau and Dustin Volz report for the Wall Street Journal

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre violated the Hatch Act when she referred to “mega MAGA Republican officials who don’t believe in the rule of law,” a government watchdog agency found. The Hatch Act restricts government employees from engaging in partisan political activities. The Office of Special Counsel issued a warning letter against Jean‐Pierre but did not pursue any disciplinary action against her. Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios


A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has asked the Biden administration to punish South Africa for supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine. U.S. officials have said intelligence suggests that South Africa may have helped supply Russia with arms for the war in Ukraine. The lawmakers have called for the moving of an annual forum for the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which was set to be hosted by South Africa this year. Despite the growing insistence on Capital Hill for action, the White House has given South African President Cyril Ramaphosa time to fulfill his promise to investigate whether arms were supplied to Russia. John Eligon reports for the New York Times

Read the letter regarding South Africa’s alleged support for Russia, published by the New York Times


The Biden administration has expressed “concerns” to the Cuban government for hosting a Chinese spy operation on the island since at least 2019, national security council spokesperson John Kirby said yesterday. Kirby has said that the revelation about Chinese spying from Cuba is not expected to disrupt Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s planned trip to Beijing on Jun. 18. Laura Kelly reports for The Hill

The Biden administration has taken diplomatic steps that slowed down a Chinese effort to project military power worldwide, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said yesterday. These diplomatic efforts include engaging governments considering hosting Chinese bases and exchanging information with them, Blinken said. Simon Lewis and Humeyra Pamuk report for Reuters


The Biden administration is developing plans to overhaul the U.N. Security Council in a bid to restore confidence in the world’s preeminent governance body by recognizing today’s global diffusion of power. The evolving U.S. proposal is expected to include adding roughly a half dozen permanent seats to the council without granting those nations veto power. Any update would require approval of at least 128 of 193 member states and ratification by all permanent Security Council members. Missy Ryan reports for the Washington Post

A two-week military exercise began yesterday involving over 250 aircraft and 10,000 personnel from the NATO nations and Japan. The exercise, known as Air Defender, is led by the German government and brings together the largest number of aircraft from outside Germany for a training mission since NATO was founded. Lara Jakes reports for the New York Times

A helicopter accident in northeastern Syria over the weekend left 22 U.S. service members injured, the U.S. military said today. The cause of the “mishap” has yet to be determined, but no enemy fire was involved. Bassem Mroue reports for AP News

The Israeli government told the Biden administration it intends to announce the building and planning of thousands of new houses in the settlements in the occupied West Bank, three Israeli and U.S. officials said. The Biden administration has said it opposes new buildings in the Israeli settlements, which it sees as undermining the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Much of the international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law. Barak Ravid reports for Axios


Ukrainian troops have liberated seven villages in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions over the past week, Ukrainian officials said yesterday. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar also claimed Monday that Ukraine had retaken more than six square miles near the destroyed eastern city of Bakhmut. While no exact figures were given, officials recently warned that their forces would likely suffer high casualties in the counter-offensive. David L. Stern reports for the Washington Post

Ukrainian pilots could begin training to fly U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets as soon as this summer, the Dutch defense minister has said. NATO allies the Netherlands and Denmark are leading an international coalition to train pilots and support staff, maintain aircraft and ultimately supply F-16s to Ukraine. The U.S.-backed training program will include Belgium and Luxembourg, while France and Britain have offered assistance. A final decision has yet to be taken on a request from Kyiv to supply dozens of F-16s. Anthony Deutsch reports for Reuters

The U.S. is concerned that an attack drone manufacturing facility that Russia is building with Iran’s help could be fully operational by early next year, National Security Council official John Kirby said on Friday. Russia has been using Iranian-made drones in its war on Ukraine. The U.S. released a satellite image of the purported drone factory site inside Russia’s Alabuga Special Economic Zone, about 600 miles east of Moscow. Kirby said that the U.S. is releasing this information to the public “to expose and disrupt” the countries’ “full-scale defense partnership.” Natasha Bertrand reports for CNN

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has offered Pyongyang’s “full support and solidarity” to Moscow in a message sent to Putin for Russia’s national day yesterday. Satellite imagery showed increased trade at the main railroad crossing between Russia and North Korea in recent months. U.S. officials have accused the Kim regime of shipping infantry rockets and missiles to the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group. Timothy W. Martin reports for the Wall Street Journal


The Netherlands and Canada have submitted a case against Syria to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over allegations of torture. Their application accuses the Syrian government of committing “countless violations of international law” since the country’s civil war began in 2011. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, at least 14,449 civilians have died due to torture in government prisons. If the ICJ finds it has jurisdiction, it would be the first international court to rule on Syrian torture claims. David Gritten reports for BBC News