Defense and National Security Overnight – Pentagon Tells Russia to Stand Down

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

The Pentagon has urged Russia to give up its military position near Ukraine, with the administration issuing another warning about the threat of a possible invasion.

We will provide an overview of the latest developments in the dispute, as well as the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol, which issued subpoenas to several people involved in a scheme to send fake Electoral College certificates.

For The Hill, I’m Jordan Williams. Send me tips at jwilliams@thehill.com.

Let’s go.

Ball in Putin’s camp

The Pentagon on Friday called on Russia to withdraw from Ukraine amid rising tensions over the threat of a Russian military invasion.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinPentagon chief orders greater focus on preventing civilian deaths in airstrikes Defense and National Security Overnight – Inside Austin’s Civilian Injury Directive Pentagon Suspends Warrant of civilian vaccine after federal court decision MORE during a briefing with reporters, Moscow has for months deployed forces along the Ukrainian border at a “constant and steady pace”, which has been supported by Russian naval activity in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea.

“We don’t believe President Putin has made the final decision to use these forces against Ukraine,” Austin said. “He clearly has that ability now.”

No grounds for armed conflict: Russia has mustered at least 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, and the United States has warned in recent weeks that Putin could attack at any time. President BidenJoe BidenCourt overturns offshore drilling leases auctioned by Biden administration Laquan McDonald’s family seeks federal charges against officer ahead of early release Biden speaks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat Putin warned that such an attack would have serious economic consequences for Moscow.

The Kremlin has denied any intention to seek to invade Ukraine, but weeks of diplomatic dialogue aimed at defusing the conflict have largely proven fruitless. As diplomatic talks continue, NATO has moved to bolster its security forces along the eastern flank, with Ukraine sharing its borders with four alliance members.

Austin and General. Marc MilleyMark MilleyBiden’s freshman year: A mirage of gender parity Defense and National Security – Pentagon places 8,500 troops on high alert Major General Special Operations Command tests positive for COVID-19 MORE, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stressed that there was no reason for an armed conflict.

“It is the policy of the United States government to continue to support an independent Ukraine and its goals. And we are continuing our efforts to improve their ability to protect themselves,” Milley said.

“We strongly encourage Russia to step down and seek a solution through diplomacy,” he continued. “Armed force should always be the last resort. Here, success comes through dialogue.

SOMETHING TO WATCH

The United States has called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to examine Russia’s behavior and the buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border.

A senior administration official told reporters on Friday that the United States wants UN members registered.

“It basically boils down to whether there should be a path of war or whether there should be a path of diplomacy,” the official told reporters during a briefing. “I think members of the Security Council are expected to weigh in on this issue and support a diplomatic approach.”

The administration official said no concrete steps or joint statements are expected to come out of the council meeting. Russia, as one of the five permanent members of the council, holds the power to veto such measures within the council. The other permanent members are the United States, France, the United Kingdom and China.

Ukraine appeals to senators

As lawmakers work to hammer out a set of sanctions against Russia ahead of a possible invasion, Ukraine’s parliament leader has sent a letter to several U.S. senators outlining specific demands on what those sanctions should look like.

Ruslan Stefanchuk, chairman of the Ukrainian legislature in the Verkhovna Rada, thanked the senators for their support for Ukraine and “underscored the importance of the laws already passed to support Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression”, according to a statement from parliament.

According to Axios, which first obtained the letter, the request was sent to the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Robert MendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMenendez hits out at Sanders over SALT comments (DN.J.) and Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), the senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations panel. The letter was also sent to Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBudowsky: President Biden Leads NATO Against Russian Aggression New Mexico Democrat Tests Positive For Groundbreaking COVID-19 Case Warner Tests Positive For Groundbreaking COVID-19 Case MORE (R-Ohio), Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSenators huddle against Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Bipartisan Senate group discusses election law changes Wicker: Biden’s comments on Ukraine caused ‘distress’ to two parts (DN.H.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenators rally on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Bipartisan Senate group discusses election law changes Democrats face curtailed agenda after setbacks MORE (D-Conn.), John CornyJohn CornynSenate Republicans urge feds to get information on Texas synagogue hostage taker Senators rally on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Momentum builds for new COVID-19 relief for businesses MORE (R-Texas), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell: I’ll Give Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee ‘Fair Look’ The Hill’s Morning Report – Who Will Replace Justice Breyer? Breyer’s retirement throws a curveball in the midranges MORE (RS.C.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSALT change likely to be removed from bill, say Senate Democrats Senators huddle against Russia sanctions as tensions escalate (D-Md.).

The senators took part in a Zoom meeting on Monday to try to figure out the details of the Russia sanctions legislation.

More coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict:

January 6 panel tackles fake voter scheme

The House Jan. 6 Select Committee said Friday it was subpoenaing more than two dozen people involved in the program following the 2020 election where supporters of the former President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to remain in North Carolina Senate race Judge sets timeline for Eastman to fast-track cases for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE submitted fake electoral college certificates claiming he won in various battleground states that went to President Biden.

The panel announced that it had issued subpoenas to 14 people from seven states who had filed the false documents with the National Archives.

The group of people who have been subpoenaed all appear to be state GOP officials and activists from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. .

What the committee wants to know: In letters sent on Friday, the select committee told those subject to the subpoenas that it was investigating those involved in the scheme, citing media reports that the group had met on December 14, 2020. to vote.

The committee said it was seeking answers about who oversaw the program.

“We believe the people we subpoenaed today have information on how these so-called alternate voters met and who was behind this scheme,” the committee said in a tweet. “We encourage them to cooperate with the select committee’s investigation.”

In the hands of the DOJ: Earlier this week, Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco told CNN that federal prosecutors are also reviewing the “substitute voters” effort.

“We have received these referrals. Our prosecutors are reviewing them and I cannot say anything more about the ongoing investigations,” Monaco told the channel on Tuesday.

Read the full story here.

MONDAY SALE

WHAT WE READ

That’s all for today! Check out The Hill’s defense and national security pages for the latest coverage. See you Monday.

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