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Early Edition: December 20, 2022

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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.

JAN. 6 ATTACK 

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack yesterday released the executive summary of its final report. The summary outlines 17 specific findings, including that former President Trump disseminated false allegations of fraud related to the 2020 presidential election, and pressured state officials to change the results of the election in their states. The New York Times has published these 17 findings, alongside additional context. 

The executive summary of the Jan. 6 committee’s final report does not address law enforcement and intelligence failures surrounding the Jan. 6 attack. Whilst the summary does discuss information that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies received in the days before Jan.6, it argues that no one could have predicted Trump’s actions on that day. This omission has been criticized by some as leaving out an essential part of the story. Ryan J. Reilly and Ken Dilanian report for NBC News

The full executive summary of the Jan.6 committee’s report can be read on NBC News. The committee expects to release the full report later this week, along with a number of transcripts from witness depositions. 

The Jan. 6 committee voted yesterday to refer Trump to the Justice Department for four potential criminal charges. These charges include obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make false statements, and incitement of an insurrection. The criminal referrals, which do not carry legal weight, are the first ever by Congress against a former president. Scott Patterson reports for the Wall Street Journal. 

OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS

Chief Justice John Roberts issued an order yesterday temporarily maintaining Title 42, a Trump-era public health measure that allows the government to expel asylum seekers who cross the southern border unlawfully. The chief justice’s order is provisional and aims to give the Supreme Court time to consider whether to maintain the measure, which a trial judge had ordered to be ended by Wednesday. The order was prompted by an emergency application filed yesterday by 19 Republican-led states, who argued the order was necessary to prevent a surge of border crossings. Adam Liptak reports for the New York Times. 

Several federal agencies warned yesterday of a significant rise in cases of “financial sexploitation” of children and teenagers. The FBI, in partnership with the Justice Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, issued a national public safety alert about what an FBI official described as a “staggering increase” in cases of young people being coerced into sending explicit images online and then extorted for money.  The majority of offenders are based in West Africa — specifically Nigeria and the Ivory Coast — and the victims are overwhelmingly male, according to the alert. Kelly Garrity reports for POLITICO

Sam Bankman-Fried, the head of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has agreed to be extradited to the U.S. to face charges. Bankman-Fried, who lives in the Bahamas, has been accused of “one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history,” U.S. authorities have said. It is not clear when Bankman-Fried will be extradited. Michael Race reports for BBC News

Lawmakers included a proposal to ban federal government employees from using the Chinese app TikTik on government-owned devices in a key spending bill. The ban is in a massive omnibus measure to fund U.S. government operations that is expected to be voted on this week. The bill gives the White House Office of Management and Budget 60 days “to develop standards and guidelines for executive agencies requiring the removal” of TikTok from federal devices. David Shepardson reports for Reuters

RUSSIA, UKRAINE

Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged “extremely complicated” conditions in four eastern and southern Ukrainian territories. In a transcript of a video address published early today, Putin also called on Russian security agencies to intensify their effort “to put a firm stop to the activities of foreign special services and to promptly identify traitors, spies and diversionists.” Putin’s comments are a rare admission from Moscow of the military challenges it faces as its war in Ukraine passes its three hundredth day. Carly Olson reports for the New York Times. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Belarusian counterpart Aleksandr Lukashenko yesterday. Appearing after their talks, Putin and Lukashenko spoke about the need for the two countries to withstand Western economic pressure and maintain close military ties. Putin said the leaders discussed the creation of a “unified defensive space,” although he did not give details as to what that would entail.  He also said they agreed to continue joint military exercises and to manufacture new military equipment. Anatoly Kurmanaev reports for the New York Times. 

Ukraine is increasing the defense of its border with Belarus over fears that Russia may be preparing a fresh attack. Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Yenin told the BBC Ukraine would be bolstering the Belarusian border with armed forces and ammunition. Thomas Mackintosh reports for BBC News. 

Russian forces shot down four U.S.-made anti-radiation missiles over a region in southern Russia, the Russian defense ministry said yesterday. “Four American anti-radar ‘HARM’ missiles were shot down in the airspace of the Belgorod region,” said Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for Russia’s Defense Ministry. This is the first such claim to be made by Moscow since the start of the war. Anna Chernova and Sebastian Shukla report for CNN

The Pentagon’s Cyber National Mission Force has been supporting Ukraine’s digital defense with daily consultations, a top U.S. cyber commander said yesterday. According to Maj. Gen John Hartman, the collaboration has helped unearth thousands of warning indicators of potentially compromised Ukrainian computer networks. Julian E. Barnes reports for the New York Times

During his end-of-year press conference, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was not hopeful about the prospect of peace between Russia and Ukraine. “I am not optimistic about the possibility of effective peace talks in the immediate future,” said Guterres. “I do believe that the military confrontation will go on, and I think we will have still to wait a moment in which serious negotiations for peace will be possible. I don’t see them in the immediate horizon.” Jack Guy and Eliza Mackintosh report for CNN

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS 

Russia and China will hold joint naval drills, the Russian Defense Ministry said yesterday. The drills will start on Wednesday and run through Dec.27.  According to the Defense Ministry, the main goal of the drills was to strengthen naval cooperation between the two nations, enhance their combat capability to jointly counter threats at sea, and to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Ann M. Simmons reports for the Wall Street Journal.

A former secretary who worked for the commander of a Nazi concentration camp has been convicted of complicity in the murders of more than 10,505 people. Irmgard Furchner, 97, was taken on as a teenage typist at Stutthof and worked there from 1943 to 1945. Although she was a civilian worker, the judge found she was fully aware of what was going on at the camp. Furchner, one of the few women to be tried for Nazi crimes in decades, was given a two-year suspended jail term. Paul Kirby and Robert Greenall report for BBC News. 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte offered an official apology yesterday on behalf of the Dutch government for two centuries of Dutch slave trading. He offered his apology to enslaved people in the past, as well as their descendants. He added that the government will create a fund for social initiatives in the Netherlands and Suriname, one of the places where the consequences of slavery are most visible, that will aim to give the history of slavery the attention and action it deserves. Sammy Westfall reports for the Washington Post

Fijian opposition parties have reached a deal to form a new coalition government, ending Prime minister Frank Bainimarama’s nearly 16-year premiership. His Fiji First party and the rival People’s Alliance, led by Sitiveni Rabuka, were left in a deadlock following last week’s election. The deal comes after the right-wing Social Democrat Liberal Party voted in favor of Rabuka. The center-left National Federation Party, which made a pre-election deal with the People’s Alliance, will also be involved in the new government. Kathryn Armstrong reports for BBC News

COVID-19

COVID-19 has infected over 99.950 million people and has now killed over 1.09 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 654.053 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.67 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.

A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.

U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post

The post Early Edition: December 20, 2022 appeared first on Just Security.

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