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Early Edition: December 23, 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 delivered its final report yesterday. In it the panel details how former President Trump carried out “a multipart plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” and recommends steps to ensure nothing like it could happen again. Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman report for the New York Times

Just Security has published a piece by Ryan Goodman and Justin Hendrix outlining the highlights of the committee’s report.

Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified to the Jan. 6 committee that she was advised by her first lawyer to deliberately withhold information from investigators and was offered jobs and financial stability in exchange for her loyalty to Trump. The claims — which, if true, amount to possible witness tampering — were detailed at length by Hutchinson in interview transcripts that the committee released yesterday. Jacqueline Alemany, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Amy Gardner and Carol D. Leonnig report for the Washington Post

OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS

Congress gave final approval yesterday to a bill to expand the U.S. government’s power to prosecute international war crimes suspects in the U.S.. The bill, called the Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act, allows war criminal to be tried in a federal court regardless of the nationality of the victim or the perpetrator, or where the crime was committeed. Experts say the legislation brings the U.S. legal code in line with international law and prevents the United States from being seen as a potential haven for war criminals. Aishvarya Kavi reports for the New York Times.  

The Senate Finance Committee has opened an inquiry into links between car manufacturers, including Tesla and General Motors and forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region. In a letter sent yesterday, the committee asked the chief executives of eight auto makers to provide detailed information on their supply chains to help determine any connection to Xinjiang, where the U.S. government has alleged the use of forced labor involving the Uyghur ethnic minority. Yuka Hayashi reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the head of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was released on a $250 mil bond. He was ordered to stay in his parents’ house in California while awaiting trial. BBC News reports. 

RUSSIA, UKRAINE – U.S. RESPONSE 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has returned to Kyiv after visiting the U.S. and Poland. In a brief evening address yesterday, he expressed satisfaction with his landmark visit to Washington, insisting that it had heeded “good results” that “will really help” with Ukraine’s ongoing war effort. Andrew Higgins, Cora Engelbrecht, Andrew E. Kramer and David E. Sanger report for the New York Times. 

The Senate gave final passage to an amendment giving the U.S. government the authority to sell assets seized from Russian oligarchs to pay for rebuilding Ukraine. The amendment is part of a $1.7 tril spending package, which includes more than $44 bil in emergency aid to Ukraine, that is expected to be taken up by the House today. Carly Olson reports for the New York Times

RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS 

The White House warned yesterday that North Korea had delivered supplies to the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary force with close ties to President Vladimir Putin. Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, and North Korea’s foreign ministry both denied the accusation. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, also said that Prigozhin, was spending about $100 million a month deploying Wagner mercenaries in Ukraine. Zolan Kanno-Youngs reports for the New York Times

After 10 months of calling it a “special military operation,” Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday called the situation in Ukraine a “war.” “Our goal is not to spin this flywheel of a military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war,” Putin said during a televised news conference following a government meeting yesterday. Mary Ilyushina reports for the Washington Post

A German citizens who worked for the country’s foreign intelligence service was arrested on charges of spying for Russia. According to a news release by the German Prosecutor General, the defendant Carsten L, “is urgently suspected of treason.” Inke Kappeler reports for CNN. 

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS 

U.N. experts have found evidence to prove that Rwanda has engaged in military operations in the east of the Democratic republic of Congo (DR Congo). The findings from a leaked report back up the assertion by DR Congo President Félix Tshisekedi that Rwanda has been supporting rebel groups in the country. Will Ross reports for BBC News

A Belgian judge rejected a request by Eva Kaili, the Greek MEP detained in connection with an alleged bribery scandal at the European parliament, to be released on bail. The judge extended Kaili’s pre-trial detention by one month, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement yesterday. According to Kaili’s lawyer she is actively co-operating with the investigation into whether E.U. officials accepted bribes from Qatar and Morocco in exchange for influencing E.U. policy. Andy Bounds, Valentina Pop and Eleni Varvitsioti report for the Financial Times. 

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles today, according to South Korean officials. The missiles were fired from Pyongyang’s Sunan area at around 4:32 p.m. local time, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. It added the two missiles were launched into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. This marks the 36th day that North Korea has fired missiles this year alone, often launching multiple weapons at a time. Yoonjung Seo, Emiko Jozuka and Jessie Yeung reports for CNN

The Taliban have arrested five women who took part in a protest in the Afghan capital, Kabul, against the ban on women attending universities. Three journalists were also arrested. Protests are also understood to have taken place in the Takhar province. James Gregory and Aalia Farzan report for BBC News

COVID-19

COVID-19 has infected over 100.184 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 655.453 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

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