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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
The United States and Iran appear to diverge on the terms of their prisoner exchange agreement. The United States has said the $6 billion of unfrozen Iranian oil funds must be used for humanitarian purposes. At the same time, Iran insists it would have the “authority” to spend the funds however it wishes. “Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs, so this money will be budgeted for those needs, and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said. Sarah Fortinsky reports for The Hill.
The State Department seeks to repatriate a family of 10 U.S. citizens held in Syria by Kurdish-led militia. A mother, Brandy Salman, and her nine children are in a desert camp after Salman’s Turkish-born husband, now deceased, brought his family to territory controlled by the self-styled Islamic State militant group in 2016. The U.S. government has repatriated 40 citizens since 2016. Many countries have left their citizens stranded in similar camps. This has resulted in tens of thousands of children being raised in brutal conditions, making them vulnerable to radicalization. Charlie Savage reports for the New York Times.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) are planning a trip to China this fall. This would be the latest in a series of high-level diplomatic efforts encouraged by the White House. China has not reciprocated by sending a delegation to Washington. Abigail Hauslohner reports for the Washington Post.
China is building up its military in preparation for a potential war with the United States, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said earlier this week. Kendall added that the United States must be ready for a “kind of war we have no modern experience with,” though he stressed that “war is not inevitable.” Brad Dress reports for The Hill.
Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday referred to the criminal cases against former President Trump as political “persecution” that exposes U.S. weakness. Putin’s comments reiterate Trump’s grievances. Trump has criticized U.S. military aid to Ukraine. Matthew Luxmoore reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S.-Mexico border is the world’s deadliest land migration route, according to figures published by the International Organization for Migration (I.O.M.). I.O.M., the U.N. migration agency, recorded 686 deaths and disappearances among migrants along the border last year, though the actual figure is likely much higher. “The alarming figures are a stark reminder of the need for decisive action to create regular legal migration pathways,” said Paul Dillon, a spokesperson for I.O.M. Reuters reports.
The Pentagon vowed to use offensive cyber operations to “frustrate” and “disrupt” foreign adversaries and criminals, an unclassified summary of the new cyber strategy released yesterday outlines. Sean Lyngaas reports for CNN.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met North Korea’s Kim Jong Un at Russia’s Vostochny cosmodrome today. Putin offered to help North Korea build satellites. “We will prioritize the North Korea-Russia relationship and put it as the number one priority of our foreign policy from now on,” Kim said. BBC News reports.
Russia has managed to expand its missile production beyond prewar levels, overcoming sanctions and export controls imposed by the West, according to Western officials. Russia has used its intelligence services and foreign intermediaries to smuggle key components into Russia. Russian missile stocks may prove particularly effective in targeting the Ukrainian power grid as winter approaches. Julian E. Barnes, Eric Schmitt, and Thomas Gibbons-Neff for the New York Times.
Twenty-four people have been injured, and two Russian ships were damaged by a Ukrainian aerial attack on a shipyard in Russian-annexed Crimea yesterday that set facilities ablaze. The attack on the port city of Sevastopol targeted the main base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. At the same time, Russia launched drones against southern Ukraine, damaging port and civilian infrastructure and wounding seven people. AP News reports.
Russia is changing strategies to exploit Ukrainian shortcomings, including its limited air defense systems, by increasing the use of drones and guided bombs. Together with the defensive lines still held by Russia, these aerial attacks are intended to thwart Ukraine’s counter-offensive. Alex Horton and Serhii Korolchuk report for the Washington Post.
Up to 10,000 people are missing or dead after a storm caused severe flooding in eastern Libya. Heavy rainfall from Mediterranean storm Daniel caused two dams to burst, killing at least 5,300 people in one coastal city. Patrick Smith reports for NBC News.
The Shandong Chinese aircraft carrier and two dozen other warships are gathering in the western Pacific, according to Taiwanese and Japanese authorities. While the activity suggests China will hold exercises, it has not announced any naval drills. China has condemned a transit of the Taiwan Strait by U.S. and Canadian ships over the weekend. Alastair Gale reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Japan has elevated security ties with Taiwan by appointing a serving government official to act as its de facto defense attache in Taiwan, four sources said. That role has previously only been held by a retired Defence Force officer to avoid antagonizing China. Japan does not have any formal diplomatic representation in Taiwan. Kaori Kaneko, Yukiko Toyoda, Tim Kelly and Sakura Murakami report for Reuters.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – BIDEN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, in a unilateral decision yesterday, directed House committees to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. “These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy said. The inquiry will be led by House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY), along with Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-MO). Marianna Sotomayor and Amy B Wang report for the Washington Post.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy still faces a potential move from the right wing of his party to have him removed, despite conceding to their efforts to begin an impeachment inquiry. Only one member is needed to call a vote for McCarthy’s removal, and Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has again raised that possibility. McCarthy pushed for the impeachment inquiry unilaterally, avoiding the need for a floor vote that would likely have failed because as many as 20 Republican Representatives likely opposed the action. David Morgan reports for Reuters.
Thomas Sobocinski, a high-ranking FBI agent, testified before the House Judiciary Committee that David Weiss, the attorney for Delaware overseeing the inquiry into Hunter Biden, never said he did not have full authority to pursue charges against the younger Biden. This testimony contradicts a claim made by an IRS agent who said political interference stifled the investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes. Sobocinski’s testimony highlights the poor quality evidence that the Republicans are relying on in bringing their impeachment inquiry against President Biden. Luke Broadwater reports for the New York Times.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Five former Memphis police officers were indicted on federal civil-rights charges yesterday in connection with the fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols in January. “The country watched in horror as Mr. Nichols was kicked, punched, Tased and pepper-sprayed,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said of the traffic stop caught on body-camera footage. In February, the same officers pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and other charges in a separate ongoing state case regarding the killing. Mariah Timms report for the Wall Street Journal.
Dodge Hellonen, a Marine convicted of participating in the Jan. 6 attack while on duty, was sentenced to 279 hours of community service. Hellonen got one hour for every Marine who was killed or wounded fighting in the Civil War. Miranda Nazzaro reports for The Hill.
Danelo Cavalcante, who escaped jail on Aug. 31, is now armed after stealing a .22-caliber rifle from a garage. “We consider [Cavalcante] desperate. We consider him dangerous,” Lt. Col. George Bivens of the Pennsylvania State Police said. Cavalcante is believed to be in southeastern Pennsylvania. Campbell Robertson reports for the New York Times.
Elon Musk may have violated a 2022 Federal Trade Commission order on privacy and security practices, the Department of Justice said in a court filing. The filing alleges Musk “exercised granular control of X Corp., at times directing employees in a manner that may have jeopardized data privacy and security.” The Department of Justice asked the judge to deny an X Corp. request to terminate a privacy settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and give Musk immunity from testifying. Rebecca Falconer and Sara Fischer report for Axios.