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Early Edition: May 10, 2023

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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.

DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS

A jury in a civil case has found that former President Trump sexually abused E Jean Carroll in a New York department store in the 1990s. The jury also found Trump liable for defamation after calling Carroll’s accusations “a hoax and a lie.” Trump was found not liable for raping Carroll. The jury ordered Trump to pay her about $5 million in damages. Madeline Halpert and Max Matza report for BBC News

Republican lawmakers remain broadly supportive of former President Trump after being found liable for sexual abuse. While some Senators, like Bill Cassidy (R-LA), have said the verdict “creates concern,” many others, like Bill Hagerty (R-TN), said the verdict was merely the latest act in the “legal circus” surrounding Trump. Among others, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump’s foe, declined to comment. Kelly Garrity and Nancy Vu report for POLITICO

DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TITLE 42 

President Joe Biden yesterday predicted that the U.S.-Mexico border would be “chaotic for a while” when Title 42 ends tomorrow, as 550 active-duty troops began arriving. Title 42 allowed U.S. officials to return migrants over the border quickly. Lolita C. Baldor, Tara Copp, and Colleen Long report for AP News

In preparation for the expected surge in immigration this week, Texas Governor Gregg Abbott is pushing for, among other measures, legislation to make it a state crime for migrants to cross from Mexico into Texas. States cannot enforce federal immigration laws. However, Abbott has pushed the envelope of what the law allows, using his power as governor to send the National Guard and state police to the border and employing state trespassing laws to arrest migrants when they cross private land. J. David Goodman reports for the New York Times

OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS

The United States and its allies have dismantled a major cyberespionage system that it said Russia’s intelligence service had used for years to spy on computers around the world, the Justice Department announced yesterday. The system, known as “Snake,” is “the most sophisticated cyberespionage tool” in the Russian intelligence service’s arsenal, according to a Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency report. Snake has been used to surveil sensitive targets, including government networks, research facilities, and journalists. Charlie Savage reports for the New York Times

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has been away from the Senate since February while recovering from shingles, has returned to the Senate. Feinstein sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and without her vote on the panel, Democrats have had to delay some of President Biden’s judicial nominees. Morgan Rimmer and Manu Raju report for CNN

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against George Santos, the Republican congressman from New York who lied about his background and accomplishments during his 2022 campaign, according to two people familiar with the matter. The charges are under seal in a New York federal courthouse, and it was not immediately known what crimes Santos is alleged to have committed. Perry Stein, Devlin Barrett, and Isaac Stanley-Becker report for the Washington Post

Joseph James O’Connor, a British national extradited to the U.S. last month, pleaded guilty in New York to a role in a 2020 Twitter hack that affected over 130 accounts, including those of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The charges carry a total maximum sentence of over 70 years in prison. The hacking was part of a large-scale Bitcoin scam. Joe Tidy and Antoinette Radford report for BBC News

U.S. RELATIONS

Turkey’s top rival candidate for president, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said he would steer Turkey closer to NATO and the West if he wins Sunday’s election. Kilicdaroglu also said he would breathe new life into Turkey’s democratic checks and balances, which have been eroded under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since 2003. Jared Malsin and Elvan Kivilcim report for the Wall Street Journal

Japan is in talks to open a NATO liaison office, the first of its kind in Asia, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said today. Hayashi specifically cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which forced Japan to rethink regional security. Jessie Yeung and Marc Stewart report for CNN

RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said yesterday that China would maintain lines of communication with all parties to the war in Ukraine in seeking a ceasefire. Qin’s comments were made during a visit to Berlin alongside German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, who welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Alexander Ratz and Friederike Heine report for Reuters

E.U. member states will hold a first discussion today on proposed new sanctions targeting Chinese and Iranian firms and allowing export curbs on third countries who ignore existing trade restrictions. According to one diplomat, the discussion is set to be heated, with some upset that the plan does not go far enough, while others are wary of damaging their international ties. Several diplomats said that widely differing perspectives mean a quick deal is unexpected. Gabriela Baczynska reports for Reuters

France’s parliament unanimously passed a non-binding resolution aimed at encouraging the 27 members of the E.U. to put the paramilitary organization Wagner group on its official list of terrorist organizations. The U.K. is also poised to formally list Wagner as a terrorist organization to increase pressure on Russia. The Guardian reports. 

Paramilitary organization Wagner group chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, warned Putin not to trust his top generals, as Prigozhin questioned their ability to protect the country from a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Prigozhin’s comments are the latest in an escalating rift between him and the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov. Nicolas Camut reports for POLITICO

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – CHINA

China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang began a three-nation trip in Germany yesterday to persuade European leaders that they can do business with Beijing. Qin had to address China’s “unlimited partnership” with Russia, which is causing concern in Berlin. Qin will travel to France next, where President Emmanuel Macron has been eager to maintain business and diplomatic ties with Beijing. Steven Erlanger and Erika Solomon report for the New York Times

China’s foreign ministry yesterday dismissed accusations that Chinese maritime militia vessels had deliberately approached an area of the South China Sea where the navies of Indian and ASEAN countries were holding drills. An independent expert in Vietnam said Beijing appeared to be using the militia to intimidate and disrupt the naval exercise. The two-day sea phase of the ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise began on Sunday, with naval ships and aircraft from India, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Brunei taking part. Laurie Chen and Krishn Kaushik report for Reuters

OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS 

Heavy air strikes were reported yesterday in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, amid a surge in looting, while Saudi Arabia said negotiators were working toward a short-term ceasefire. Khalid Abdelaziz reports for Reuters

Pakistan remains on edge ahead of former prime minister Imran Khan’s hearing on corruption charges after his arrest yesterday. Local media have reported at least two deaths amid demonstrations. Protests are expected to continue today, with some demonstrators planning to march to Islamabad and Khan’s party calling for a nationwide strike. Kelly Ng and Caroline Davies report for BBC News.

The Israeli military said it killed two Palestinian gunmen who fired on troops in the occupied West Bank earlier today. Tensions are high following a series of Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip that killed three senior Islamic Jihad militants and 10 others, mostly women and children, yesterday. Palestinian militants have pledged to retaliate, and Israel says it is prepared for a further escalation of hostilities. AP News reports. 

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