Your Thursday Briefing

President Biden has said his staff had fully cooperated with the National Archives.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

A second cache of classified documents

Aides to President Biden have found additional classified documents at a second undisclosed location associated with the president. Republicans reveled in the new disclosures, accusing him of hypocrisy in calling Donald Trump irresponsible for hoarding sensitive documents at his private club and residence in Florida.

It is not clear where or when the records were recovered. But Biden’s aides have scoured various places since November, when his lawyers discovered a handful of classified files, including briefing materials on foreign countries, as they closed a think tank office in Washington. The Justice Department is reviewing the discovery to determine how to proceed.

Under government regulations, access to classified documents is limited to people who are currently authorized to see them, and the materials must be securely stored to limit the risk of exposing sensitive information. The Presidential Records Act says official documents in the White House should be turned over to the National Archives when an administration departs.

Context: Unlike Trump, who resisted returning the records stored at Mar-a-Lago and failed to fully comply with a subpoena, Biden’s team appears to have acted swiftly and in accordance with the law, immediately summoning officials from the National Archives to retrieve the files. The archives then alerted the Justice Department, according to the White House.

Israeli police officers in Jerusalem on Jan. 3, when a government minister toured a contested religious site.Credit…Maya Alleruzzo/Associated Press

Israel’s hard-right agenda gains steam

Less than two weeks into its tenure, Israel’s new right-wing government has taken quick steps toward reducing the Supreme Court’s influence over Parliament, entrenching Israeli control of the West Bank and giving some far-right ministers greater control of military matters related to the occupation of Palestinian territories.

The program started by Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, has quickly exacerbated splits in Israeli society. Critics of the prime minister and his allies fear that the agenda threatens Israel’s democratic institutions, its relationship with the Jewish diaspora and its efforts to form new ties with Arab neighbors like Saudi Arabia, as well as long-ailing hopes for a Palestinian state.

Currently on trial for corruption, Netanyahu has presented his plans as the legitimate program of an elected government. He has also portrayed the push for judicial changes as a valid attempt to limit the interference of an unelected judiciary over an elected Parliament. His critics say it is a constitutional coup.

Background: Returning to power for a third time, Netanyahu now heads a government that is Israel’s most right-wing and religiously conservative administration ever, bringing together far-right parties supported by settlers and ultra-Orthodox parties that have vowed to reshape Israeli society.

Valery Gerasimov, right, in 2021. Credit…Maxim Shipenkov/EPA, via Shutterstock

A shake-up in Russia’s military

Russia again reshuffled its military command in Ukraine as its forces struggled to make progress, replacing its top commander with a Kremlin insider who had helped to orchestrate the invasion.

Under Gen. Sergei Surovikin, who is being replaced, the Russian military largely switched to a defensive mode and began launching missile and drone attacks against Ukraine’s energy grid. Russian forces have struggled in the continuing offensive for Ukraine’s east. For weeks, the front lines have been largely static.

Analysts said that the replacement of Surovikin with Valery Gerasimov, a Kremlin apparatchik, showed that Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, remained focused on projecting stability rather than on improving the military outlook. Some nationalist military bloggers compared the reshuffling to a game of musical chairs among Moscow’s ineffectual military old guard.

Quotable: “They have taken someone who is competent and replaced him with someone who is incompetent, but who has been there a long time and who has shown that he is loyal,” a senior researcher at the RAND Corporation said.

Soledar: Ukraine says it is still fighting for this town outside Bakhmut, a key city in the eastern region of Donbas, despite the Wagner Group’s claim that its mercenaries had taken the town.


Around the World

Credit…Mike Kai Chen for The New York Times
  • California’s devastating series of storms has continued, with more than 4.5 million residents under flood watches.

  • Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of Uganda’s president, has been positioning himself as the country’s next leader. But his provocative tweets have unnerved Ugandans and put his father in a bind.

  • Six people were injured when a man went on a violent, unprovoked stabbing spree at the Gare du Nord in Paris.

  • Uganda’s worst Ebola outbreak in more than two decades has ended, the W.H.O. said.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Victor Moriyama for The New York Times
  • As the Brazilian authorities investigate the attack on government buildings by supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, they are now zeroing in on those they believe aided the rioters.

  • If Congress fails to increase the government’s borrowing limit in time, the economy and financial markets may face a shock.

  • Cardinal George Pell, the Australian cleric whose child sexual abuse conviction was overturned, died at 81.

  • The three former Guantánamo prisoners who won landmark Supreme Court cases are ensconced in family life. We caught up with two of them.

What Else Is Happening

Credit…Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Prince Harry’s memoir “Spare” has became one of the best-selling hardcover books in recent memory.

  • The Russian space agency said that it would send an empty Soyuz capsule to the International Space Station to replace a damaged spacecraft docked there.

  • A system failure temporarily grounded flights in the U.S. yesterday.

  • The top consumer watchdog in the U.S. raised health and environmental concerns about gas stoves.

A Morning Read

Credit…Photographs by Jonah Rosenberg for The New York Times

The world produces about 400 million metric tons of plastic waste each year, according to a U.N. report. About half has been tossed out after a single use.

In a 24-hour experiment, the journalist A.J. Jacobs tried to live without plastic to see what we can’t do without and what we may be able to give up.

Lives Lived

Jeff Beck, the celebrated guitarist for such bands as the Yardbirds and the Jeff Beck Group, has died at 78.


From winning the World Cup to finding balance in Japan: Andrés Iniesta won the World Cup in 2010 and was a star for Barcelona. Now living in Japan, he reflects on tragedy and life after soccer.

Inside Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr: With Real Madrid laughing off a potential reunion and his agent, Jorge Mendes, frozen out, Ronaldo bowed to the inevitable and joined a Saudi Arabian team.

Damar Hamlin: The 24-year-old Buffalo Bills player, who went into cardiac arrest on the field on Jan. 2, was discharged from a hospital to complete his rehabilitation at home.

From The Times: The Miami Heat went an almost unthinkable 40 for 40 from the free-throw line in their win over Oklahoma City, setting an N.B.A. record. And Carlos Correa ended his off-season drama by signing a six-year, $200 million contract with the Minnesota Twins, leaving the Mets behind.


Credit…Sunday Alamba/Associated Press

The view from Johannesburg

Here’s what to watch out for in Africa this year, from our Briefings writer Lynsey Chutel.

Elections that bring change: Nigeria will elect a new leader on Feb. 25. In the race are a longtime governor, a perennial presidential candidate and a businessman who is popular with young people. The vote could be a test of whether young Africans can reshape the political landscape and inspire change in other African countries holding elections this year, like Zimbabwe.

Choppy economic waters: During a global economic downturn, the world’s poorest suffer. In sub-Saharan Africa, slowing economic growth in 2023 could raise poverty levels, the World Bank warned this week. A shrinking global economy will also mean less infrastructure investment as countries struggle to keep the power on and pay off crippling debt.

More reality TV: Nigeria’s “Big Brother Naija” hit streaming records across Africa during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The latest spinoff is a South African-Nigerian “Big Brother” mega-show that will begin airing next week.


What to Cook

Credit…Julia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

Soto ayam, an Indonesian chicken noodle soup, is a clear herbal broth brightened by fresh turmeric and herbs.

The Pour

Why London is one of the best cities in the world in which to drink wine.

Ask Well

The link between messiness and mental health is real. Try these low-lift tips to keep your home just clean enough.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Places to dock boats (five letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. We are mourning the loss of Blake Hounshell, our insightful, generous colleague who was the editor of The Times’s “On Politics” newsletter. He died this week at 44.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on riots in Brazil.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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