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Politics Overnight Defense & National Security — Biden takes on Trump in Jan. 6 speech

07:22  07 january  2022
07:22  07 january  2022 Source:   thehill.com

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It's Thursday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

President Biden took on former President Trump in a fiery speech on Thursday marking one year since the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

More on his speech, plus, Japan asking the U.S. military to stay on bases due to a surge of COVID-19 infections in the nation.

For The Hill, I'm Jordan Williams. Write me with tips at jwilliams@thehill.com.

Let's get to it.

Biden marks Jan. 6 by going after Trump

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Biden takes on Trump in Jan. 6 speech © Provided by The Hill

President Biden issued a strong rebuke of former President Trump in a speech marking the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, accusing his predecessor of spreading a "web of lies" that laid the foundation for the attack.

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Biden did not mention Trump by name but referred to him throughout his remarks as the former president. He took on both Trump and supporters who have parroted claims the election was rigged in the fiery address, which lasted nearly 25 minutes.

The 2020 election: Biden described the 2020 presidential election as the "greatest demonstration of democracy in the history of this country," noting that more Americans voted in that election than any other before it.

"No election in American history has been more closely scrutinized or more carefully counted," he said.

Law enforcement saved 'rule of law:' Biden at several points honored the law enforcement officers who protected the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"Outnumbered and in the face of a brutal attack, the Capitol Police, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the National Guard and other brave law enforcement officials saved the rule of law," the president began his speech.

Jan. 6 anniversary points to bigger fights ahead for democracy: ANALYSIS

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The president also honored those who made "the ultimate sacrifice."

"Jill and I have mourned police officers in this Capitol Rotunda not once but twice in the wake of January 6th: once to honor Officer Brian Sicknick, who lost his life the day after the attack, and a second time to honor Officer Billy Evans, who lost his life defending this Capitol as well," he said.

Trump fires back: Trump, in a statement released just as Biden wrapped up his speech in Statuary Hall, called the remarks "political theater."

Trump said that Biden "used my name today to try to further divide America."

The statement further reiterated Trump's claims that the 2020 election was rigged, pointing to why the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks was "not discussing the rigged Presidential Election of 2020?" and again said the "big lie" was the election itself and not his claims that the result was rigged against him.

The 'hero' of Jan. 6 should embrace the truth

  The 'hero' of Jan. 6 should embrace the truth It appears as if Pence is trying to have it both ways. He wants to regain his moral, political leader status and attend conservative GOP and Christian events without being booed. Thus, he sends emails about values and "Defending the Faith" - perhaps hoping to run for president in 2024. Yet, disgracefully, Jan. 6 is not mentioned on the website for his PAC, Advancing American Freedom. What does he fear?Along with Trump, Pence knows the entire truth about the events leading up to Jan. 6., but Pence's desire to regain power appears to supplant his yearning to speak the truth.

Read the full story here.

DHS warns of uptick in extremist chatter

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Biden takes on Trump in Jan. 6 speech © Provided by The Hill

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned its partners of an uptick in chatter on extremist platforms.

John Cohen, DHS's head of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, wrote in a memo obtained by The Hill that while there were no indications of a specific threat, DHS and FBI identified content that "could be directed against political and other government officials, including members of Congress, state and local officials, and high-profile members of political parties."

The development comes as lawmakers gathered in the Capitol to celebrate the anniversary of Jan. 6.

What DHS found: One online posting references the Jan. 6 anniversary as "an appropriate day to conduct assassinations against named Democratic political figures, including POTUS, because of the perceived fraudulent election."

Also among the examples listed in the memo was an anonymously shared video listing 93 members of Congress it claimed were involved in certifying the "fraudulent" 2020 election.

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The memo says the Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police have initiated investigations into the threats.

"We are making you aware of this information because we recognize the potential threat of violence could extend beyond the NCR," Cohen said, using an acronym for the National Capital Region.

Read the full story here.

JAPAN ASKS US TROOPS TO STAY ON BASE

A Japanese foreign minister asked that members of the U.S. military remain on their bases to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the nation deals with a surge.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi spoke on the phone about the safety measures ahead of Hayashi's request on Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

"The mitigation measures we have instituted throughout USFJ are intended to protect our force's readiness, the well-being of our families, and the health of Japan's citizens. We recognize we all have a part to play in keeping our communities safe," US Forces in Japan (USFJ) said in a statement.

New rules: All military personnel in Japan must remain masked until they have received three negative COVID-19 tests regardless of vaccination status, USFJ said.

This new policy is in addition to an earlier rule requiring that everyone be masked when off base.

Analysis: Joe Biden confronts challenges to democracy at home and abroad this week

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USFJ said it is requiring no less than three negative COVID-19 tests upon traveling to Japan-including testing before departure, upon arrival, and while in a "restriction of movement" period."

The COVID surge: Areas like Okinawa and Iwakuni in southern Japan, where large groups of American forces are based, have seen notable spikes in COVID-19 infections, the AP noted.

The Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University indicated that the country saw just over 6,000 cases in the last week, notably less than the record high of 158,548 cases seen in a week during August of last year.

While Japan has never had a lockdown, it has imposed various restrictions in terms of hours of operation or limits on how many people a restaurant can serve, but those measures were ended in September.

BLINKEN URGES 'PEACEFUL' RESOLUTION

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Kazakhstan's top diplomat on Thursday and called for a "peaceful, rights-respecting resolution" to deadly protests in the country while also raising concern about Russian intervention.

Blinken spoke with Kazakhstani Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi where he reiterated U.S. support for Kazakhstan's "constitutional institutions and media freedom," amid reports of internet blackouts alongside mass protests marked by violence and clashes with security forces.

The crisis in Kazakhstan: The protests, initially spurred by a steep rise in liquified natural gas prices earlier this week, escalated dramatically and grew into mass opposition to the three-decade influence of former Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who up until the protests had remained the head of the country's powerful Security Council.

Analysis: Joe Biden puts it all on the line in voting rights battle

  Analysis: Joe Biden puts it all on the line in voting rights battle It took a year for Joe Biden to make an irrevocable bet that puts the credibility of his presidency on the line. If his bid now to change Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation fails, he'll lose more than just the bills he sees as vital to saving democracy. His drained political capital could spell the end of the entire domestic, legislative phase of his administration. © Patrick Semansky/AP President Joe Biden speaks in support of changing the Senate filibuster rules that have stalled voting rights legislation, at Atlanta University Center Consortium, on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, Tuesday, Jan.

Nazarbayev was dismissed from his position as the head of the Security Council on Wednesday by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to quell the protests. Tokayev's Cabinet also resigned.

Russian-led peacekeeping forces comprising of soldiers from former Soviet states are being deployed to the country in response to a request from Tokayev to "stabilize and normalize" the situation, Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan posted on Facebook.

Read our coverage of the Kazakstan crisis:

  • Blinken calls for 'peaceful' resolution to crisis in Kazakstan
  • Russia sends troops to intervene in Kazkhstan protests

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

  • The Washington Post Live will host a conversation on "Afghan Refugee Crisis" at 11 a.m.
  • The Center for a New American security will host a discussion on "Containing Crisis: Strategic Concepts for Coercive Economic Statecraft on China" at 11:30 a.m.

WHAT WE'RE READING

  • UK working on 'high impact' sanctions over Ukraine
  • China blasts US over support of Lithuanian in Taiwan spat
  • China says it plans to finish space station by end of year, make more than 40 launches
  • Blinken appoints new special envoy Satterfield to Horn of Africa
  • Miltary.com: January 6 investigation enters second year with unanswered questions about the National Guard

That's it for today! Check out The Hill's defense and national security pages for latest coverage. We'll see you tomorrow.

As voting rights push fizzles, Biden's failure to unite his own party looms again .
Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, both Democrats, said Thursday they were against filibuster changes, spoiling Biden's efforts to pass voting rights.On Thursday, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, dealt a potentially fatal blow to Biden’s renewed push for federal voting rights legislation. In a surprise speech on the Senate floor, she flatly rejected Biden’s plea – issued less than 48 hours earlier – to change the filibuster rules so Democrats could muscle through the voting rights bill without any Republican votes.

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