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White House aide Jared Kushner has visited Saudi Arabia numerous times since President Trump tasked him with "Middle East peace." Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is requesting a briefing from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Jared Kushner's trip to Saudi Arabia last month over concerns that embassy staff was "sidelined" from meetings between Kushner and members of the Saudi royal family, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Daily Beast reports.

Details: House Foreign Committee Chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said the briefing should include all emails, receipts, clearance records and any other records on file regarding all trips overseas involving Middle Eastern leaders.

The big picture: The trip to Riyadh was part of a larger Middle East trip in which Kushner and other advisers planned to discuss President Trump's highly anticipated plan for peace in the region. Kushner's close relationship with Mohammed bin Salman has come under heightened scrutiny following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the U.S. intelligence community has assessed was likely ordered by the crown prince.

Go deeper: Saudi prince authorized secret crackdowns carried out by Khashoggi killers

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.