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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Andrew Peek, the senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, has been placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, people familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Driving the news: Peek had been expected to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland next week, where President Trump is expected to meet with a number of world leaders as the impeachment trial takes place back in the Senate.

  • Peek declined to comment.
  • White House and National Security Council officials declined to discuss the situation. "We do not discuss personnel matters," the NSC said in a statement to Axios.

Why it matters: Peek's responsibilities at the NSC, and before that at the State Department, touch on a number of sensitive areas. He took on the same role as impeachment witnesses Fiona Hill and Tim Morrison.

  • He joined the NSC in November after serving as a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, where he focused on Iraq and Iran.
  • He previously served as a strategic adviser to now-retired Marine Gen. John Allen when Allen was commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

Go deeper: NSC staffer denies having secret Ukraine conversations with Trump

Go deeper

11 mins ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.

2 hours ago - World

Saudi Arabia and Qatar near deal to end standoff, sources say

Qatar's prime minister (R) attends the 2019 Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Saudi Arabia. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are close to a deal to end the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf following U.S.-mediated reconciliation talks this week, sources familiar with the talks tell me.

Why it matters: Restoring relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf after a 3.5 year standoff. It could also notch a last-minute achievement for the Trump administration before Jan. 20.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.