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Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Vice President Pence made a previously undisclosed visit to Iraq on Saturday, "the highest-level American trip since President Trump ordered a pullback of U.S. forces in Syria two months ago," AP's Zeke Miller reports from Erbil.

The state of play: "Flying in a C-17 military cargo jet to preserve the secrecy of the visit to the conflict zone, Pence landed in Erbil to meet with Iraqi Kurdistan President Nechirvan Barzani," AP writes.

Why it matters: The visit was intended to reassure U.S. allies fighting against the Islamic State, "after Syrian Kurds suffered under a bloody Turkish assault last month following the Trump-ordered withdrawal" of U.S. troops, per AP.

Karen Pence, the VP's wife, joined along for the trip, just days before the Thanksgiving holiday. While there they served up turkey to U.S. troops.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.