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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
Gabon’s military junta has ended deposed President Ali Bongo’s house arrest due to “his state of health.” “He may, if he wishes, travel abroad for medical check-ups,” a junta spokesperson said. The coup occurred on Aug. 30. Paul Njie reports for BBC News.
The Biden administration has yet to designate the military takeover in Niger in late July as a coup. The administration is reluctant because the United States would have to stop all economic and military aid to Niger if officially designated a coup. As Russia encroaches, the United States is eager to maintain its hold in the region. Michael Crowley reports for the New York Times.
An E.U. court yesterday dismissed a case brought by a migrant family alleging unlawful deportation by Frontex, the E.U.’s border force agency. The court held the border agency is not empowered to weigh in on “return decisions.” Frontex responded to the ruling, saying, “Today’s verdict affirms that while we assist E.U. countries with returns, Frontex does not have the power to assess the merits of return decisions.” However, critics of the decision have questioned who, if anyone, can hold the agency to account. The ruling would have been the first case that found the agency responsible for human rights violations if it had been successful. Emily Rauhala and Mustafa Salim report for the Washington Post.
Daniel Abed Khalife, a former U.K. soldier facing terrorism-related charges, escaped a prison in London yesterday. Abed Khalife planted fake bombs at a military base to stoke fears of a terrorist attack. He faces charges of breaching the Official Secrets Act and terrorism laws. Mark Landler reports for the New York Times.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday to signal strong U.S. support for Ukraine. Blinken announced over $1 billion in aid, drawn from funds already granted by Congress. Andrew E. Kramer and Constant Méheut reports for the New York Times.
The U.S. supply of depleted uranium armor-piercing munitions to Ukraine is “a criminal act,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned today. At the same time, Russia’s deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus was proceeding on schedule, Ryabkov added. Reuters reports.
Romanian Defense Minister Angel Tîlvăr confirmed that parts of a drone were discovered in the country following a Russian attack on Ukraine along the Danube River. Debris from Russian drones landing in Romania would be “a serious violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Romania,” President Klaus Iohannis said yesterday. If an investigation shows the debris is, in fact, Russian, it would be “completely unacceptable,” he added. On Monday, Romania denied Ukrainian assertions that a Russian drone had fallen on Romanian territory. Claudia Chiappa and Laura Hülsemann report for POLITICO.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Seventeen people were killed and more than 30 injured in one of the deadliest Russian strikes on Ukraine recently. The attack hit a marketplace in the eastern city of Kostyantynivka. Anastasiia Malenko reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Russian-backed authorities in Crimea are cracking down on pro-Ukrainians and are making a public show of the apprehended “traitors.” The crackdown has targeted individuals for playing Ukrainian songs in public, tying yellow bands around trees. Shopkeepers who refused service to Russian soldiers have also been targeted. These actions suggest that while Russia claims full support from the Crimean people, resistance remains. Yaroslav Trofimov reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Russian forces in Ukraine nearing Kupyansk may be preparing to retake the strategic northeastern town, or they may be hoping to create a distraction to divert Ukrainian resources away from the south. Kupyansk would be difficult, and officials and analysts have speculated about Russia’s goals and whether it is sensible. Ukraine has been making slow but meaningful gains in the south. Alex Horton and Serhii Korolchuk report for the Washington Post.
Federal Judge David A. Ezra in Texas yesterday ordered the removal of the floating border barrier installed in the Rio Grande by Sep. 15. By creating an obstruction in the Rio Grande, which makes it impossible to navigate, Ezra held that the barrier violates the federal Rivers and Harbors Act. Michelle Hackman and Alicia A. Caldwell report for the Wall Street Journal.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called China’s response to the release of treated water from the Fukushima power plant “unfair” and “false” during his visit to Japan today. “It’s just an unfair position that they have and a false position that they have from the rest of the world’s stance,” McCarthy said. China has spread misinformation about the release of water. Reuters reports.
China has banned Apple iPhones and other foreign-branded devices from being used by officials at central government agencies. The move is the latest step in Beijing’s campaign to end its reliance on foreign technology and to improve its cyber security. The ban mirrors U.S. restrictions on the use of TikTok and Huawei products. Yoko Kubota reports for the Wall Street Journal.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a lawsuit yesterday to block former President Trump from the 2024 Republican primary ballot in Colorado, citing the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists holding public office. “Because Trump swore an oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ the Constitution upon assuming the Office of the President on January 20, 2017 and then engaged in insurrection against the Constitution on and around January 6, 2021, he is disqualified under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment from ‘hold[ing] any office … under the United States,’ including the Office of the President,” the lawsuit says. Marshall Cohen reports for CNN.
District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York ruled yesterday that former President Trump was liable a second time for defaming writer E. Jean Carroll. Trump is liable following his disparaging comments he made in 2019 after she accused him of sexually assaulting her in the 1990s. James Fanelli reports for the Wall Street Journal.
New York state judge Arthur Engoron yesterday rejected former President Trump’s bid to delay his fraud trial scheduled Oct. 2. Jonathan Stempel reports for Reuters.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Federal prosecutors plan to indict Hunter Biden by the end of September, court papers show. It is unclear what charges special counsel David Weiss intends to file. BBC News reports.
Judge Scott McAfee yesterday ruled that Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro will go to trial together on Oct. 23 regarding their efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. Powell and Chesebro had sought separate early trials. This ruling is subject to change if the other defendants succeed in moving the case to a federal court. Richard Fausset and Danny Hakim report for the New York Times.
Lewis Wayne Snoots was taken into custody yesterday and charged with participating in the attack on D.C. police Officer Michael Fanone on Jan. 6. The Justice Department has charged 188 new defendants since 2023. Tom Jackman reports for the Washington Post.
President Biden refused to approve some of the conditions that lawyers for the five Guantanamo-based defendants in the Sep. 11 attacks sought in a plea bargain, a White House National Security Council official said yesterday. There will be no presidential guarantee that the defendants will be spared solitary confinement and provided care for the trauma following their torture in CIA custody. Biden’s refusal means military prosecutors and defense lawyers will have to find agreement on a plea bargain. Aamer Madhani and Ellen Knickmeyer report for AP News.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday questioned whether the United States could reach its nuclear submarine target, particularly as it is supposed to sell submarines to Australia as part of the AUKUS security pact. The United States is currently building 49 fast-tracked attack submarines, 17 short of what the Navy said it needed to defend the United States properly. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) emphasized that the promise to sell submarines to Australia would put the Navy in a tough spot to reach the 66 submarine goal. Filip Timotija reports for The Hill.