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Amir Cohen / AP

While the outside attacks on H.R. McMaster are set to continue — and a key line of attack is an accusation he's anti-Israel — the Israeli government appears to be signaling confidence in him and his colleagues in the White House's national security team.

A senior administration official tells me Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is sending leading security officials from his government to the U.S. later this week to meet with McMaster, Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell, Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and other senior officials.

  • The senior official told me the meetings "will primarily focus on Israeli security matters vis a vis Lebanon and Syria and are not focused on the ongoing peace conversations."
  • Jared Kushner and Greenblatt helped arrange the meetings, which have been several weeks in the making.

What's next: President Trump is sending Kushner, Greenblatt and Powell to the Middle East for continued regional discussions to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace effort. Bibi and Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed the upcoming visit. The Trump negotiating team is expected to meet with leaders from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, and Egypt.

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Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

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President Biden on Thursday signed a slew of executive orders to address the coronavirus pandemic, including an interstate face mask mandate and an order to renew supplies of PPE, testing materials and vaccines through the Defense Production Act.

Why it matters: The stakes are highest for Biden’s vaccination effort. Several states cannot keep up with demand.