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President Trump met with Prince Khalid bin Salman in the Oval Office, Jan. 7. Photo: via Khalid bin Salman, Twitter

Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, revealed on Twitter that he delivered a message to President Trump yesterday from his brother, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia is deeply concerned it could become engulfed in uncontrolled escalation between the U.S. and Iran following President Trump's decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. That explains the decision to urgently dispatch Prince Khalid to Washington.

The White House did not announce the meeting in advance or issue a readout afterward.

  • Senior adviser Jared Kushner, national security adviser Robert O'Brien and deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates also attended the meeting.
  • Prince Khalid, a former ambassador to Washington, also met yesterday with Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Esper.
  • Pompeo told him the U.S. does not seek war with Iran and remains committed to de-escalation, a State Department statement said.
  • According to a report in Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Pompeo and Esper discussed with the Saudi official the U.S. plans to secure American embassies and American interests in the region from an Iranian retaliation.

What they're saying: Jonathan Karl, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, said in a statement:

"A meeting with a foreign leader in the Oval Office should, at the very least, be on the public schedule with a read-out of the meeting released after it is over. This has been the long-standing precedent for presidents of both political parties. It is disturbing to see the government of Saudi Arabia have more transparency than the White House about a meeting with the President in the Oval Office."

Go deeper: Netanyahu tells Security Cabinet Israel must not be dragged into Soleimani killing

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
28 mins ago - Economy & Business

The biggest obstacle to a wealth tax

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Taxing the rich is an idea that's back. An "ultra-millionaire tax" introduced by Elizabeth Warren and other left-wing Democrats this week would raise more than $3 trillion over 10 years, they say, while making the tax system as a whole more fair.

Why it matters: New taxes would be a necessary part of any Democratic plan to redistribute wealth and reduce inequality. But President Biden has more urgent priorities — and Warren's wealth tax in particular faces constitutional obstacles that make it a hard sell.

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.