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King Abdullah meets with Biden, July 19. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

The visit to Washington this week by King Abdullah II of Jordan, the first Arab leader to visit President Biden, was a victory lap after years of tense relations with Trump and Netanyahu.

Why it matters: The White House invitation and the meetings with all of Biden's top foreign policy and national security officials repositioned the king as a leading U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Statements before and after the meeting indicate that King Abdullah had three main objectives for his talks with Biden:

1. To get a commitment to renew the memorandum of understanding on the $1.2 billion in annual financial assistance to Jordan, which was signed by the Trump administration in 2017 and expires next year.

  • It's unclear from the readouts whether he got that commitment.

2. To push forward a deal to buy new F-16 fighter jets for the Jordanian air force.

  • The White House said the issue was discussed and that the jets would "allow for greater interoperability and effectiveness of the Jordanian Armed Forces." The U.S. will have to consult Israel on the deal before moving forward.

3. To get a clear statement by Biden supporting Jordanian custodianship of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

  • He got it. The White House readout mentioned "Jordan's special role as custodian" — a role heavily emphasized in the Jordanian readout.

Between the lines: During the Trump presidency, Abdullah feared Trump and Netanyahu were conspiring to renege on Jordanian custodianship and give it to Saudi Arabia. No evidence of such a conspiracy has emerged and advisers to both Trump and Netanyahu deny it was ever discussed.

What’s next: The second Arab leader to visit Biden at the White House will be Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi next week.

  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein will also meet Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Friday as part of the U.S.-Iraq strategic dialogue.
  • The possible withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is expected to be a major issue in the talks.

Go deeper: Biden’s arrival pushes Jordan toward political reform

Go deeper

Some Jan. 6 witnesses spill for investigators

Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Jan. 6 Select Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Steve Bannon's refusal to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 Select Committee overshadows the fact that other key witnesses are providing reams of evidence to investigators.

Why it matters: Four years of investigative stonewalling by the Trump administration had a demoralizing effect on Democrats, leaving the impression congressional accountability is a pipe dream. The quiet compliance shows a committee investigation is still feared — and has some clout.

3 mins ago - World

Putin is challenging Ukraine's "right to exist," Blinken says

Blinken (L) speaks in Berlin on Thursday. Photo: Kay Nietfeld - Pool/Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken put the stakes of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in stark terms on Thursday, saying Vladimir Putin's threat is a direct challenge to Ukraine's "right to exist" as an independent country and a democracy.

What he's saying: “There’s been a lot of speculation about President Putin’s true intentions, but we don’t actually have to guess. He’s told us, repeatedly. He’s laying the groundwork for an invasion because he doesn’t believe Ukraine is a sovereign nation," Blinken said during a speech in Berlin.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Jared Kushner wants to Trump-proof his private equity future

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Jared Kushner appears to have convinced the private equity market that he'll stick with his new firm, called Affinity Partners, even if his father-in-law returns to the White House.

The big picture: Private equity is littered with former presidential advisers and cabinet officials, and Trump's is proving to be no different.