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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Top Saudi officials, including deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri, who was blamed and fired last month for allegedly ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, inquired about assassinating the kingdom's Iranian enemies during a meeting with private businessmen in March 2017, reports the New York Times.

The big picture: The meeting was part of an effort by a group of international businessman to pitch the Saudis on an operation to sabotage Iran's economy. During the discussion, Saudi officials reportedly asked about killing Qassem Soleimani, a general in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, but were rejected by the businessmen's lawyer. Per the Times, the episode highlights the fact that more than a year before the killing of Khashoggi, officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had increasingly become interested in carrying out high-risk, covert operations targeting the kingdom's enemies.

Go deeper

Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.