Tillerson speaks at Stanford. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Secretary of State Tillerson said Wednesday at Stanford University that the U.S. must maintain a long-term military presence in Syria to counter ISIS, and expressed a hope of ousting Bashar al-Assad through a U.N. peace process that involves elections.

“The United States believes that free and transparent elections … will result in the permanent departure of Assad and his family from power. Assad’s regime is corrupt, and his methods of governance and economic development have increasingly excluded certain ethnic and religious groups. Such oppression cannot persist forever," he said, per Buzzfeed News.

His goals, per Patrick Wintour, the Guardian's diplomatic editor: 1. ISIS and AQ with both feet in grave. 2. 'A UN led political solution' to crisis including a post-Assad leadership, 3. Iranian reach 'diminished' 4. free return for refugees/IDPs. 5. No WMD.

The bottom line: Tillerson is setting out a case that the U.S. should be more involved in Syria, not less.

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Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.