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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.


Gary Shapley, who supervised the investigation into Hunter Biden, told Congress his team uncovered a WhatsApp message from Hunter Biden to a potential Chinese business partner in 2017 that invoked his father in an effort to finalize a proposed energy deal. The House Ways and Means Committee heard from Shapley that Hunter Biden told Henry Zhao that he was sitting with his father and that “we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled.” This account contrasts with President Biden’s claim that he had no involvement in his son’s international business deals. Luke Broadwater and Michael S. Schmidt report for the New York Times

Gary Shapley, who supervised the investigation into Hunter Biden, told the House Ways and Means Committee that Justice Department officials impeded the investigation and whittled away the most severe evidence of alleged tax crimes. Shapley’s account challenged congressional testimony from Attorney General Merrick Garland, in which he said that Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss had full authority to lead the investigation into Hunter Biden. Devlin Barrett, Jacqueline Alemany, and Perry Stein report for the Washington Post

Read the transcript of Gary Shapley’s testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, released yesterday.

Half of Americans believe Hunter Biden received preferential treatment from prosecutors, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found. The poll showed Americans were divided along partisan lines, with 75% of Republicans seeing preferential treatment compared with 33% of Democrats. Jason Lange reports for Reuters


Six House Democrats boycotted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to Congress yesterday. The boycott protested what they criticized as Modi’s poor human rights record, particularly toward Muslim minority groups in India. Karoun Demirjian reports for the New York Times

The House Armed Services Committee last night passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense policy bill, despite several amendments targeting diversity, equity, inclusion, and other cultural efforts. The NDAA, worth $874 billion, will head to the full House floor later this year for debate. Brad Dress and Ellen Mitchell report for The Hill

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican election official, filed a defamation lawsuit yesterday against Kari Lake, who falsely claims she lost the 2022 race for governor because of fraud. Jonathan J. Cooper reports for AP News


President Biden hailed U.S.-India ties as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Congress that their friendship would be “instrumental in enhancing the strength of the whole world.” Ayeshea Perera reports for BBC News

Indian plans to purchase upgraded drones announced by the United States and India yesterday will be crucial to India’s monitoring of its border with China, where tensions have risen since a deadly 2020 clash. As part of the deal, India is expected to get about 30 MQ-9B high-altitude drones, according to Indian officials. Some of the drones would be assembled in India and would be armed. Rajesh Roy reports for the Wall Street Journal


President Joe Biden said yesterday that his comment referring to Xi Jinping as a dictator would not affect recent progress in U.S.-China relations. Biden said he still expected to meet Xi in the near future. However, the Chinese government registered a formal protest yesterday and reportedly summoned the U.S. ambassador to Beijing for an official reprimand. Lucy Hodgman reports for POLITICO

The U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan is set to stop at Vietnam’s port city of Danang on Sunday in a rare visit for a U.S. warship. The stop comes as Washington tries to upgrade its formal ties with Vietnam amid Hanoi’s frequent disputes with Beijing over boundaries in the South China Sea. Reuters reports. 


Ukraine’s counteroffensive is less successful, and Russian forces are more competent than Western assessments expected, two Western officials and a senior U.S. military official said. Jim Sciutto reports for CNN

Ukraine has attacked a bridge linking southern Ukraine to the Crimean peninsula with long-range British missiles, Russian officials said. The bridge is the shortest route from Crimea to the front line in the south. A Ukrainian military spokesperson said the army aimed to disrupt Russia’s supply routes. A military intelligence official, Andriy Yusov, said more attacks would follow. Paul Kirby reports for BBC News

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned yesterday that Russian forces were preparing a “terrorist act with the release of radiation” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. Russia rejected Zelenskyy’s accusations. The warning comes as Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, would today meet the head of Russia’s state nuclear company in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. David L. Stern and Robyn Dixon report for the Washington Post

The decision to place Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus represents a further diminishment of Belarus’ sovereignty and is a significant step in Russia’s absorption of Belarus, a longtime goal of President Vladimir Putin. At a recent conference in Slovakia, President Emmanuel Macron of France called Belarus a Russian “vassal state” but said Europe bore some of the blame. Valerie Hopkins reports for the New York Times

A Russian court upheld the extended detention of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter deemed by the U.S. to be wrongfully held. Gershkovich has been ordered to remain imprisoned until at least Aug. 30. Ann M. Simmons and Shelby Holliday report for the Wall Street Journal.


Meta yesterday said that it would block Canadians from sharing news on its platforms after the federal government passed a law requiring digital firms to pay domestic media organizations for their content. The law, known as the Online News Act, is part of the Canadian government’s effort to regulate the digital sphere and limit the power of tech giants. Amanda Coletta and Gerrit De Vynck report for the Washington Post

Malaysia today said it would take legal action against Meta for failing to remove “undesirable” posts. The move comes after last year’s closely fought national election, which saw increased ethnic tensions. Facebook has recently been “plagued by” a significant volume of undesirable content relating to race, royalty, religion, defamation, impersonation, online gambling, and scam advertisements, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said. A. Ananthalakshmi reports for Reuters


Three Palestinian militants have been killed in a rare Israeli drone strike in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli Defense Forces said it targeted “a terrorist cell inside a suspicious vehicle” that carried out a shooting attack near Jalama on Wednesday. This was the first drone strike in the West Bank since 2006. David Gritten reports for BBC News

A Brazilian federal electoral court began a trial yesterday that could result in former President Jair Bolsonaro being banned from holding office for nearly a decade. Bolsonaro stands accused of abusing his presidential power when he summoned foreign diplomats to publicly repeat unfounded attacks on the country’s electronic voting system last year. A draft memo for how to overturn the election, found at the house of Bolsonaro’s former justice minister, is also included in the charges. Ricardo Brito reports for Reuters

Amnesty International today accused Spain and Morocco of a cover-up for failing to adequately investigate an incident at the border of the Spanish enclave of Melilla last year, when at least 37 migrants died and at least 76 are still missing following a mass attempted crossing. Amnesty said authorities had failed to attempt to repatriate victims’ remains and had not provided a complete list of names and causes of death and CCTV footage which could inform an investigation. Joan Faus reports for Reuters