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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 – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
A secret nuclear weapons-related document that former President Trump is charged with mishandling can only be declassified through a process that involves the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense. Even as president, Trump lacked the legal authority to declassify the document, said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists. Jonathan Landay reports for Reuters.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
At least one person was killed and 22 others wounded in a shooting at a large Juneteenth celebration yesterday in Willowbrook, Illinois, officials said. The motive behind the shooting remains unclear. No suspects were in custody. Amanda Holpuch and Emma Bubola report for the New York Times.
A federal judge is set to decide whether the Biden administration’s efforts to stamp out online disinformation crossed a line into coerced censorship. The Republican attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana brought the lawsuit last year, alleging that the Biden administration pressured social-media platforms to remove dissenting views on everything from COVID-19 policies to election security. Jacob Gershman reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The Minneapolis Police Department was beset by unlawful conduct, discrimination, and mismanagement, according to a Department of Justice report released on Friday.
Judge, Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr., is expected to decide whether agents can testify about the torture-extracted confession at Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri’s eventual trial in Guantánamo Bay. The most recent and final expert testified on Friday that years of isolation and torture by the C.I.A. meant that al-Nashiri’s memories and account of his action were unreliable. Carol Rosenberg reports for the New York Times.
The number of homeless people counted on streets and in shelters around the U.S. has broadly risen this year. These rising numbers indicate growing pressure from high housing costs and the end of temporary COVID-19 protections, such as eviction moratoriums. Data collected by the Department of Housing and Urban Development are still preliminary and could change. The department said it would release more comprehensive results with a national estimate later this year. Jon Kamp and Shannon Najmabadi report for the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. RELATIONS – CHINA
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping today, ending his pivotal trip to Beijing to ensure the many disputes between the superpowers do not spiral into conflict. Talks with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, and Foreign Minister Qin Gang did not seem to lessen the two sides’ differences. Humeyra Pamuk report for Reuters.
Leading Republicans in Congress criticized Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday for traveling to China this weekend. They accused Blinken of harming national security by endeavoring to normalize diplomatic relations with China. Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, threatened to subpoena Blinken if he did not share documents outlining the list of retaliatory actions the U.S. government has considered against China and when they were applied. Karoun Demirjian reports for the New York Times.
OTHER U.S. RELATIONS
The attempted assassination of Aleksandr Poteyev, a C.I.A. informant in Miami by Russian intelligence in 2020, has been revealed in the book “Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West,” to be published on Jun. 29. The failed assassination attempt spiraled into tit-for-tat retaliation by the United States and Russia, according to three former senior American officials. Ronen Bergman, Adam Goldman, and Julian E. Barnes report for the New York Times.
Several leading Republican presidential candidates, including former President Trump, have backed a fringe idea to take unilateral action against Mexican cartels with the U.S. military. Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to either authorize U.S. military action against the cartels or designate them as terrorist groups. However, leading Republicans, such as Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), remain unconvinced. Brad Dress reports for The Hill.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – KAKHOVKA DAM
Evidence suggests that Russian forces blew up the Kakhovka dam from within. Satellite and seismic detections of explosions in the area suggest the most likely cause of the collapse was an explosive charge in the maintenance passageway that runs through the dam. James Glanz, Marc Santora, Pablo Robles, Haley Willis, Lauren Leatherby, Christoph Koettl, and Dmitriy Khavin report for the New York Times.
Ukrainian officials are grappling with the potential for outbreaks of waterborne diseases as the flooding following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam in southeastern Ukraine recedes. Floods can increase the transmission of communicable, waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, leptospirosis, and hepatitis A. “Currently, trucks carrying essential medical supplies for infectious diseases such as cholera are being unloaded,” Oleksandr Chebotarov, the Kherson City Clinical Hospital medical director, said. Megan Specia reports for the New York Times.
The U.N. yesterday condemned Russia for denying humanitarian aid access to Russian-occupied areas affected by the flooding caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam. Mariya Knight and Richard Roth report for CNN.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Ukrainian forces destroyed a large Russian ammunition depot in an occupied part of the country’s south yesterday amid advances along the southern and eastern parts of the front line to break through solid Russian defenses. Matthew Luxmoore reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Ukrainian forces recaptured the village of Piatykhatky in the country’s southern Zapororizhzhia region, a Russian-installed official said yesterday. Russia and Ukraine took heavy losses over the weekend as Ukraine made “small advances,” according to an intelligence update from Britain’s Defense Ministry. Leila Sackur reports for NBC News.
Ukrainian law enforcement officials in Kyiv are clamping down on corruption, as Western supporters are keen to ensure their economic aid is not lost to graft and malfeasance. Ukraine’s bid to join the E.U. will hinge partly on this anti-corruption fight. Last month, anti-corruption investigators arrested Vsevolod Knyazyev, chief justice of Ukraine’s Supreme Court, for his part in a corruption scheme potentially involving other members of Ukraine’s judiciary. David L. Stern report for the Washington Post.
African leaders met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg on Saturday to persuade Putin to seek peace talks with Ukraine. The same leaders met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Friday as Russian attacks struck the capital. The peace mission included officials from Senegal, Egypt, Zambia, the Comoros, Egypt, Uganda, and the Republic of Congo. Andrew Jeong, Victoria Bisset, Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, and Kyle Rempfer report for the Washington Post.
The Allied Democratic Forces, a militant group linked to the self-styled Islamic State militant group, reportedly killed at least 41 people and abducted others in an attack on a school in western Uganda, police have said. Authorities did not say how many people had been abducted by the attackers. The Guardian reports.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written to the leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) nations proposing the African Union be given full, permanent membership during the upcoming G20 summit in India, an official source said. “This will be a right step towards a just, fair, more inclusive and representative global architecture and governance,” the source said of the African Union proposal. Reuters reports.