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Trump grand jury report will get partial release on 16 February

A judge in Georgia will allow portions of a special grand jury’s report on Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in the state to be released on 16 February, Lawfare reports.

Robert McBurney, a judge in Fulton county, has approved the release of the report’s introduction and conclusion, as well as a chapter on jurors’ concerns that some witnesses may have lied under oath. He is keeping the rest away from the public:

JUST IN: Fulton County Judge Robert McBurney issues order denying full release of Georgia grand jury report on 2020 election interference, citing due process concerns for named individuals. Parts of the report are set to be released on February 16. pic.twitter.com/0nsTWESQlm

— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) February 13, 2023

Key events

Kirby is now getting into the latest objects shot down from North American skies, but does not reveal what they are.

Instead, he links them to the larger issue of unidentified aircraft that he says the government hadn’t previously taken particularly seriously.

“These unidentified aerial phenomena had been reported for many years, without explanation or deep examination by the government. President Biden this changed all that. We’re finally trying to understand them better,” Kirby said.

In addition to the Chinese spy balloon, he noted that, “a range of entities including countries, companies, research and academic organizations operate objects at these altitudes for purposes that are not nefarious at all, including scientific research. That said, because we have not yet been able to definitively assess what these most recent objects are. We acted out of an abundance of caution to protect … our security, our interests and flight safety.”

National security council spokesperson John Kirby is now talking about the Chinese spy balloon shot down off the Atlantic coast shortly after it had crossed much of the northern United States.

“We were able to determine that China has a high-altitude balloon program for intelligence collection that’s connected to the People’s Liberation Army. It was operating during the previous administration, but they did not detect it. We detected it. We tracked it. And we have been carefully studying it to learn as much as we can,” Kirby said.

“We know that these PRC surveillance balloons have crossed over dozens of countries on multiple continents around the world, including some of our closest allies and partners. We assessed that at this time, these balloons have provided limited additive capabilities to the PRC … (compared to) other intelligence platforms used over the United States. But in the future, if the PRC continues to advance this technology, it certainly could become more valuable to them.”

Well, it’s not aliens.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has taken to the podium at the White House, and confirmed that the objects shot down over North America did not come from worlds beyond.

“There is no indication of aliens or terrestrial activity with these recent takedowns. I wanted to make sure that the American people knew that,” Jean-Pierre said.

As we wait for the White House press briefing to kick off, CNN has some brief comments from Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau about the UFOs caught flying around North America recently:

Justin Trudeau, visiting the Yukon today and taking questions from reporters on unidentified “objects”: “Obviously there is some sort of pattern in there, the fact we are seeing this in a significant degree over the past week is a cause for interest and close attention.” pic.twitter.com/uL6pY8EcFq

— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) February 13, 2023

We may soon get answers on the latest North American UFO mystery.

The White House’s daily briefing is about to start, where press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is being joined by John Kirby, spokesperson for the national security council. They may shed some light on what American fighter jets blew out of the sky this weekend over various parts of the continent.

Follow this blog for the latest.

House speaker Kevin McCarthy has called for the resignation of architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton, who heads the agency responsible for the building’s maintenance and preservation:

The Architect of the Capitol, Brett Blanton, no longer has my confidence to continue in his job. He should resign or President Biden should remove him immediately.

— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) February 13, 2023

Blanton has faced a number of allegations of wrongdoing, which grew worse last week when he admitted to lawmakers that he avoided going to the Capitol on January 6. This comment from Democratic congresswoman Norma Torres sums up how that revelations was received:

I’m outraged that you would be in a comfortable place, sir, while the rest of us were thinking about dying that day and how we were going to come out alive that day.

The day so far

We’re awaiting more details from the Biden administration after a busy weekend for American fighter jets, which have downed three unidentified objects in North American skies since Friday. Are they aliens? Probably not. Might they be more surveillance equipment from China? We’d be guessing, but after the spy balloon saga earlier this month, it’s not an unreasonable bet. The White House may reveal more when press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and national security council spokesperson John Kirby brief reporters at 1 pm eastern time.

Here’s what else has happened today thus far:

  • On Thursday, parts of a special grand jury’s report into Donald Trump’s election meddling campaign in Georgia will be released, though a judge has ordered most of the document withheld from public eyes.

  • China says the United States also spies on it with balloons, which Washington forcefully rejected.

  • Many people are tracking a US military jet looking for the wreckage of something shot down over Lake Huron on Sunday.

We’re about 45 minutes away from the White House press briefing, where Biden administration officials may give more details about whatever was shot down over North America this weekend. Richard Luscombe has a recap of the latest on the eventful three days in the continent’s skies:

Pressure was growing on the Joe Biden White House on Monday to reveal more of what it knows about a series of mysterious objects shot down by the US military over an eight-day period in North American airspace.

A missile strike Sunday on an unidentified “octagonal” flying object above Lake Huron, Michigan, was the third such instance after the downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the South Carolina coast on 4 February, and it is prompting questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Pentagon officials have conceded the extraordinary sequence of events has no precedent during peacetime.

Meanwhile, the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, suggested on Monday the objects were part of a “pattern” of surveillance of the US and its allies by China and Russia, and an American air force commander said the US military had spotted Chinese spy balloons in the Middle East in “the recent past”.

Florida Republican Marco Rubio, vice-chairperson of the US Senate intelligence committee, claimed that unidentified aircraft had operated “routinely” over restricted American airspace for years.

“This is why I pushed to take this seriously & created a permanent [unidentified aerial phenomenon] taskforce two years ago,” he said in a tweet.

A year ago almost exactly, in what can only be described as a coincidence driven by news demands and certainly no foreknowledge of events to come, the Guardian’s Adam Gabbatt took a close look at the issue of UFOs in America’s skies. You could say recent events have given the article new relevance:

Last year was a breakthrough time for UFOs, as a landmark government report prompted the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors to finally be taken seriously by everyone from senators, to a former president, to the Pentagon.

But 2022 could be even more profound, experts say, as the clamor for UFO disclosure and discovery continues to grow, and as new scientific projects bring us closer than ever to – potentially – discovering non-Earth life.

In June, the Pentagon released a highly anticipated report on unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP), the now preferred nomenclature by some in the extraterrestrial community, which found more than 140 instances of UAPs that could not be explained.

The report came after leaked military footage documented seemingly otherworldly happenings in the sky, and after testimony from navy pilots helped to somewhat destigmatize a subject that has long been defined by conspiracy theories and dubious sightings.

All in all, the newly sincere approach to UFOs has longtime sky-watchers excited.

“I’m confident that 2022 is going to be a seismic year for UFOs,” said Nick Pope, who spent the early 1990s investigating UFOs for the British ministry of defence.

Air tracking website Flightradar 24 reports its users are closely following a military plane looking for the wreckage of whatever was shot down yesterday over Lake Huron:

See it for yourself here.



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