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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

13 mins ago - Podcasts

Bob Nelsen on AstraZeneca and his plan to revolutionize biotech

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Monday reported promising efficacy data for their COVID-19 vaccine, which has less stringent storage requirements than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and may be distributed earlier in developing countries.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of vaccine and therapeutics manufacturing with Bob Nelsen, a successful biotech investor who on Monday launched Resilience, a giant new pharma production platform that he believes will prepare America for its next major health challenges.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Updated 19 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Unpacking Joe Biden's decision to tap John Kerry as his climate envoy

Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is naming former Secretary of State John Kerry as a special presidential envoy for climate change.

Why it matters: The transition team's announcement sought to show that it will be an influential role, noting that Kerry — a former Massachusetts senator and the Democrats' 2004 presidential nominee — will be on the National Security Council.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries

Waiting, in New Delhi. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

While the 95% efficacy rates for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are great news for the U.S. and Europe, Monday's announcement from Oxford and AstraZeneca may be far more significant for the rest of the world.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca plan to distribute their vaccine at cost (around $3-4 per dose), and have already committed to providing over 1 billion doses to the developing world. The price tags are higher for the Pfizer ($20) and Moderna ($32-37) vaccines.