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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.

Go deeper

Axios Visuals Deep Dive: Pandemic eating

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A food revolution began pre-pandemic and COVID has only accelerated that. See how America's food industry is transforming, from farm to your table.

Abrams’ campaign manager rules out 2024 run if she wins governor's race

Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

In her first major interview since the official announcement, Stacey Abrams' campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo quashed speculation that the Georgia Democrat would interrupt a theoretical gubernatorial term to run for president in 2024.

Why it matters: Abrams' name has come up repeatedly as a top 2024 Democratic contender given President Joe Biden's age and Vice President Kamala Harris's low favorability rating.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump social media group raises $1 billion from undisclosed investors

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Donald Trump's social media startup on Saturday announced that it secured $1 billion in new investment as part of its ongoing efforts to become publicly traded via a blank check company.

Between the lines: None of the investors were identified, which is highly unusual for this sort of transaction.