Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 24, 2023

Four Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy, Zelensky shakes up staff after promising a corruption crackdown, and more

1

4 Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy

A federal jury in Washington, D.C., on Monday found four more members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia guilty of seditious conspiracy for their efforts to keep former President Donald Trump in office despite his 2020 election loss to President Biden. Their conviction came nearly two months after the Oath Keepers' leader, Steward Rhodes, was found guilty of the same offense in a separate November trial. The four defendants — Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, and Edward Vallejo — were originally charged alongside Rhodes and other Oath Keepers, but Judge Amit Mehta split the cases due to courtroom space limitations. A parallel sedition case is ongoing in the same courthouse involving members of the far-right Proud Boys.

2

Zelensky shakes up staff after promising corruption crackdown

The deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, resigned Tuesday after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he would make personnel changes amid corruption allegations as the country continues to fight a Russian invasion. Deputy Defense Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov also quit, citing a scandal involving the purchase of food for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, according to local media. Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko also reportedly resigned. Zelensky said Monday in his nightly address that he had signed a decree barring government officials from traveling abroad for unofficial purposes, including vacation. The New York Times said the move was "intended to show that corruption would not be allowed to undermine the country's defense."

3

Former FBI agent charged with Russia sanctions violations

Federal authorities said Monday they had charged the former head of FBI counterintelligence in New York, Charles McGonigal, with accepting $225,000 in secret cash payments while working for the FBI on sensitive cases. McGonigal, 54, also is accused of illegally trying to help Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska get removed from a U.S. sanctions list. McGonigal, who retired from the FBI in September 2018, was indicted in a Manhattan federal court on charges that included money laundering and violating U.S. sanctions. At the FBI, McGonigal had been assigned to investigate Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. An FBI official said McGonigal "betrayed his solemn oath to the United States in exchange for personal gain and at the expense of our national security."

4

7 killed in 3rd California mass shooting in 8 days

Seven people were killed Monday in two related shootings in the Northern California community of Half Moon Bay. It was the state's third mass killing in eight days, and came just two days after an attack at a dance hall left 11 people dead during Lunar New Year celebrations. In Monday's shootings, four victims were found dead and another injured with gunshot wounds at a farm. Three others were killed about three miles away. The suspect, identified by law enforcement as 67-year-old Zhao Chunli of Half Moon Bay, was arrested about two hours later after officers found him sitting inside his car at a police substation. A weapon was found in the vehicle. The motive for the shootings remained unclear.

5

Democrat Ruben Gallego announces run for Kyrsten Sinema's Senate seat

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) announced Monday that he would run for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (I-Ariz.) seat in the 2024 election. Gallego served as a Marine in Lima Company, which was among the hardest hit U.S. units in the Iraq war. He was elected to the Arizona state House in 2010, and has served in the U.S. House since 2014, becoming a leading advocate for veterans. Sinema's switch from Democrat to independent has complicated Democrats' efforts to hold onto the seat. A recent poll found that a three-way race between Sinema, Gallego, and Kari Lake, a potential extreme right-wing candidate who lost the state's gubernatorial race last year, would result in a slim victory of Lake over Gallego, with Sinema far behind.

6

Death toll in California Lunar New Year shooting rises to 11

The death toll from Saturday's Lunar New Year mass shooting in a Monterey Park, California, ballroom dance studio rose to 11 on Monday, when one of the 10 people injured died in a hospital. Authorities have only released the names of two of the dead — My Nhan, 65, and Lilan Li, 63, — pending the notification of the others' next of kin. All 10 of the first victims were in their 50s, 60s, or 70s. The attacker opened fire inside the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in a neighborhood central to Los Angeles County's Chinese community. The gunman then went to a second dance studio, but fled after an employee disarmed him. The suspect, Huu Can Tran, fatally shot himself Sunday after police surrounded his van. 

7

Jan. 6 rioter who put feet on Pelosi's desk convicted

A jury on Monday convicted Richard Barnett of Arkansas on eight charges, including interfering with a police officer and obstructing an official proceeding, stemming from his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. Barnett drove from his rural Arkansas home to attend then-President Donald Trump's rally near the White House before the Capitol riot, armed with a "Hike n' Strike" hiking stick tipped with a 950,000 Volt stun device. During the Capitol attack, he posed for photographs with his feet on then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk. Barnett, who uses the nickname Bigo, left Pelosi (D-Calif.) a note saying, "Nancy, Bigo was here bitch." Police body-camera video also showed him yelling at an officer trying to direct rioters to leave the building.

8

FDA proposes annual COVID vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday proposed letting most adults and children to get an updated COVID-19 vaccine shot once a year. The annual vaccine would target new variants expected to be the most prevalent, in a shift much like the approach to vaccinating against the flu. The proposed change to the U.S. coronavirus vaccination strategy comes as Americans hesitate to get the new bivalent booster. More than 80 percent of the people in the United States have received at least one vaccine dose, but only 16 percent of those eligible have received the new version of the vaccine targeting the Omicron and original variants. That vaccine has been available since September.

9

Spotify becomes latest tech company to announce job cuts

Spotify Technology announced Monday that it would cut about 600 employees, roughly 6 percent of its 9,800-person workforce. The news, which followed a Bloomberg report that the streaming audio company was planning unspecified layoffs, came after a series of job cuts at some of the nation's leading technology companies. Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook-parent Meta Platforms are among the tech giants that have announced major layoffs as the economy slows and they find themselves with too many workers after ramping up hiring early in the pandemic to handle surging demand for their services as Americans shifted to working, shopping, playing, and studying online.

10

Pakistan starts restoring electricity after power grid failure

Pakistan on Monday struggled to restore power to millions of people after the country's second major electrical grid failure in three months. The latest shutdown came at the peak of the winter season, and has been blamed on a voltage surge. The blackout added to frustration caused by regular outages the country's 220 million people have to deal with almost daily. Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir wrote on Twitter that crews had started restoring power Monday evening in some areas, including parts of the capital city of Islamabad, and the southwest province of Balochistan. Power was in the process of being restored in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and economic hub.

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