Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

A CIA assessment says that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) communicated several times with his top adviser, who oversaw the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, before and after Khashoggi's death, according to the Wall Street Journal which reviewed excerpts of the assessment.

Why it matters: The CIA's conclusion that MBS directed the murder of Khashoggi has been disputed by President Trump, who said the CIA "points it both ways." But MBS said, according to the CIA assessment, that "we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements" if he was unable to get Khashoggi to return to the kingdom, which the CIA says "seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi."

Details: The CIA concludes in its assessment that there is "medium-to-high confidence" that MBS "personally targeted" Jamal Khashoggi, and "probably ordered his death," the Journal reports.

  • The team of people who killed Khashoggi was made up of MBS' "top security units in the Royal Guard," the WSJ reports. The CIA said: "We assess it is highly unlikely this team of operators...carried out the operation without Muhammed bin Salman's authorization."
  • It's unclear if the comments about luring Khashoggi to another country came directly from MBS or were being described by someone.

Go deeper

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.

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Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended Vice President Pence's decision to continue traveling and campaigning despite his exposure to aides who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying Sunday that Pence is exempt from CDC guidelines because he is "essential personnel."

Why it matters: CDC guidelines call for people who have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Pence will wear a mask when he travels and argued that "he's not just campaigning," pointing to the Israel-Sudan normalization agreement announced by the White House last week.

Halloween and COVID-19: What you need to know

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Celebrating Halloween and Día de los Muertos will be difficult and more isolated this year, but can still be done while minimizing harm to others.

Why it matters: Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, indoor parties, haunted houses, crowded cemeteries and communal candy bowls are all considered high-risk activities by the CDC.

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