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Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israel's embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz have been invited to the White House next week for discussions on President Trump's long-promised Mideast peace plan, Israeli sources say.

Driving the news: Trump said on a flight to Florida Thursday that he's "probably" going to release his Mideast plan "a little bit prior" to the meeting on Jan. 28. The meeting is set for the same time as a planned vote in the Knesset over Netanyahu's bid for immunity from prosecution on corruption charges.

  • The timing also comes amid Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate and days before his scheduled Feb. 4 State of the Union address.
  • A meeting now on Mideast peace could give both Netanyahu and Trump ammunition to argue they are trying to accomplish meaningful work even as they are under fire politically.

Of note: Trump added that he's spoken to the the Palestinians "briefly," adding, "They have a lot of incentive to do it. I’m sure they maybe will react negatively at first but it’s actually very positive for them."

Why it matters: The Trump administration has been considering releasing its plan ahead of Israel's March 2 elections, a controversial proposition because it could sway the election results.

  • The release of the peace plan was postponed twice in the lead-up to Israeli elections, with the White House saying it did not want to interfere with Israel's political process.

Details: Vice President Mike Pence announced the joint visit following a meeting with Netanyahu at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. He said Trump invited Netanyahu to the White House meeting, and that at Netanyahu's recommendation, he invited Gantz to the White House too.

  • Pence, traveling in Israel, has met with Blue and White party leader Gantz to discuss the issue as well. Gantz and Netanyahu declined to comment.
  • Jordan's King Abdullah II recently expressed hope that a plan could allow the international community to see "the glass half full," though previously he and other Jordanian officials were wary of the White House presenting it.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Trump's comments.

Go deeper

Cuomo asks New York AG and chief judge to choose "independent" investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A special counselor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Sunday asking the state's attorney general and chief judge to jointly pick an "independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation" to investigate claims of sexual harassment against the governor.

The state of play: The statement is an about-face from Cuomo, who had previously selected a former judge close to a top aide to lead the investigation, the New York Times reported, a move that was widely criticized.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.