Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told me in an interview today that the U.S. will support Israeli annexations in the West Bank, as long as they're consistent with the maps presented in the U.S. peace plan.

Why it matters: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he'd bring plans to annex the Jordan Valley and all settlements in the West Bank before the Cabinet on Sunday. He would not have taken such a dramatic step without U.S. backing.

What he's saying:

“We set markers for the things we thought acceptable, and in exchange [for annexation] Netanyahu is prepared to take lands that are demarcated in our maps and hold those for a future Palestinian state."
— Mike Pompeo

Pompeo said the Trump plan was the best opportunity the Palestinians would have, and he urged Palestinian leaders to reconsider their decision to reject it, or to perhaps present a counter-offer.

Pompeo warned that Trump's plan could be the final offer the Palestinians receive.

“There is a real offer that sits on the table for the Palestinians — all they need to do is to say yes. We are prepared to begin negotiations based on this vision. We can start the process towards their having the state they always wanted."

Pompeo said he was not concerned that a Netanyahu loss in the March 2 election would affect the viability of the plan.

  • He said Netanyahu’s opponent, Benny Gantz, told Trump “the plan is something he will be happy to engage in, and something he thought made sense for Israel, and that can form a basis for negotiations."

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Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

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Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

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