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

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.