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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.
TRUMP HUSH MONEY PROBE
The grand jury investigating former President Trump’s alleged role in a scheme to pay hush money to adult actor Stormy Daniels will reconvene today, according to sources familiar with the matter. NBC News reports.
House Republicans are expanding their investigation into Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe of Trump by seeking testimony from two prosecutors who resigned last year. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent letters to former prosecutors Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, who helped lead the investigation into Trump’s involvement in paying hush money to adult actor Stormy Daniels under former D.A. Cyrus Vance but resigned in protest last February after Bragg came into office and suspended the probe. “Your criticisms of Bragg’s investigation were widely reported,” Jordan wrote, “It now appears that your efforts to shame Bragg have worked as he is reportedly resurrecting a so-called ‘zombie’ case.” The letters ask both men to sit for transcribed interviews and turn over documents related to the Trump investigation. Andrew Solender reports for Axios.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Former President Trump’s defense attorney Evan Corcoran is scheduled to testify tomorrow before the grand jury investigating the documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence after a new order from a federal appeals court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia yesterday ruled that Corcoran must provide additional testimony and turn over documents about the former president as part of the ongoing probe into the possible mishandling of classified information. Katelyn Polantz and Kaitlan Collins report for CNN.
The Senate will continue voting today on amendments to Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-VA) resolution to repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force against Iraq. Yesterday, lawmakers voted 36-60 against a proposal from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that would narrow, instead of repeal, the 2002 authorization. The Senate also defeated Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) proposal to repeal the 2001 AUMF that began the war on terror following 9/11. That fell with a resounding 9-86 vote. Katherine Tully-McManus reports for POLITICO.
The State Department has loosened long-running restrictions barring some employees from serving in countries where they have close family or financial ties. The practice had been criticized as discriminatory, particularly to Asian American diplomats barred from working in countries such as China and Taiwan. In an internal email sent to department employees announcing the change, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it would allow the department to “unlock the full potential” of its workforce “while upholding the highest security standards.” Missy Ryan and John Hudson report for the Washington Post.
The U.S. plans to send aging A-10 attack planes to the Middle East and shift its more advanced combat aircraft to Asia and Europe, in an effort to deter China and Russia. The deployment of the A-10s, scheduled for April, is part of a broader plan to shrink the U.S.’s footprint in the Middle East, as it transitions to a new era of “Great Power” competition with China and Russia. Michael R. Gordon reports for the Wall Street Journal.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT ARREST WARRANTS
Leaders of the International Criminal Court’s (I.C.C.) Assembly of States Parties have pushed back on Russian threats to prosecute the Court’s prosecutor and judges, and to launch missiles at the court from the North Sea. The Presidency of the Assembly “regrets these attempts to hinder international efforts to ensure accountability for acts that are prohibited under general international law,” and “reaffirms its unwavering support for” the Court, the Assembly said in a statement. ICC News reports.
European countries should detain Russian President Vladimir Putin and turn him over to the I.C.C., U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers yesterday. “Anyone who is a party to the court and has obligations should fulfill their obligations,” Blinken said, in response to a question from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). However, in light of the I.C.C. arrest warrant, it is unlikely that Putin will visit hostile European countries anytime soon. John Hudson and Missy Ryan report for the Washington Post.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
E.U. leaders are meeting in Brussels for a two-day summit, which will cover continued E.U. support for Ukraine. This will include discussions of measures to increase “collective pressure” on Russia, and decisions to send more ammunition to Ukraine, with E.U. leaders set to endorse a deal aimed at sending 1 million rounds of artillery shells to the country within the next 12 months. Samuel Petrequin and Lorne Cook report for AP.
Sweden’s parliament yesterday formally approved a bill to allow the country to join NATO. “Sweden will be safer and more secure and we will be a security provider to the alliance,” Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said in a tweet announcing the vote. Sweden applied for membership of the alliance in May, and its candidacy still requires ratification by all 30 members of the alliance. Reuters reports.
Israel’s parliament yesterday passed a law that would limit the ways a sitting prime minister can be declared unfit for office. The bill, which is part of a package of controversial measures overhauling the judiciary, is largely seen by the opposition and critics as a way to protect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing an ongoing corruption trial. By a 61-to-47 final vote, the Knesset approved the bill that states that only the prime minister or the cabinet, with a two-thirds majority, can declare the leader unfit. The cabinet vote would then need to be ratified by a super majority in the parliament. Hadas Gold and Amir Tal report for CNN.
Taiwan announced today that it will recall its ambassador to Honduras as ties between the two worsen, with the Central American nation preparing to switch diplomatic recognition from the self-governing island to China. In a statement, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it had recalled the ambassador to “express our strong dissatisfaction” over Honduras sending its foreign minister and a delegation to Beijing this week. Honduran President Xiomara Castro announced on Mar. 15 that the country will establish diplomatic ties with China – a move that all but spells the end of its current relationship with Taiwan. Only 14 countries, including Honduras, have official relations with Taiwan. Jessie Yeung and Eric Cheung report for CNN.
1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)