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Richard Drew / AP

The influential conservative pro-Israel leader, Morton Klein, says he's deeply concerned to read a CNN report that former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is the leading contender to be the U.S. ambassador to NATO.

Klein, who leads the conservative Zionist Organization of America, is close to Republican and pro-Trump mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. Klein tells me the Trump administration gave assurances to his associates that the NATO post would go to the former U.S. spokesman at the United Nations, Richard Grenell.

"Ric Grenell is a very strong supporter of Israel...He understands the reality of the Arab-Islamic war against Israel, and I know he has strong feelings, if he were to become the ambassador to NATO, to push to have Israel to become a member of the [UN] Security Council," Klein said.

Klein spoke to me by phone on Tuesday evening, shortly after he left the White House. He'd been there with VP Mike Pence, prominent Senators, and the new ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, to commemorate the 69th anniversary of Israel's independence.

I asked Klein how he came to understand that the Trump administration had given assurances about Grenell (a development Bloomberg reported in March.)

"All I can say is that significant people have told that that was their understanding," he said. "If I told you the names, you would know that they are significant."

The White House did not respond when asked about the Grenell assurances.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.