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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

The State Department has announced that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be traveling to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Kuwait next week.

The intrigue: Turkey has launched an assault on U.S.-backed forces in Syria but has said it plans to discuss mending trust with the U.S. Although the State Department did not reference the violence, it's all but certain this will be high on the agenda. The guidance from State is that Tillerson will meet with senior Turkish officials to discuss “a range of bilateral and regional issues.”

What else to watch throughout the trip:

  • Jordan: Discussing Syria and Jordan’s involvement in Middle East peace.
  • Lebanon: Tillerson will take meetings with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, as well as Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri.
  • Egypt: Tillerson will discuss the U.S.-Egypt partnership and “key regional issues.”
  • Kuwait: Watch for Tillerson to have several meetings on the sidelines of two meetings here:
    • Tillerson is leading the U.S. delegation at the Ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the first since the defeat of ISIS.
    • Tillerson will also participate in the Iraq Reconstruction Conference that will focus on discussions about rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
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President Biden prepares to walk the abbreviated parade route in front of the White House after the inauguration. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President Biden had exited his Cadillac with the new "46" license plates and was strolling a short stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue toward his new home when he spotted "Today" show weather legend Al Roker.

The big picture: Biden dropped Jill Biden's hand — no warning — and trotted over to the delighted Roker. POTUS gave Roker a fist bump and said, "Gotta keep doing this!" It was a very Joe moment in a day that was designed to signal a return to normality in a turbulent America.

Chuck Schumer is now majority leader as 3 new Democratic senators are sworn in

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is officially Senate majority leader after the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of new Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

Why it matters: With a 50-50 Senate, Schumer will control a narrow majority with Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Democratic control of the Senate is crucial to President Biden's agenda, from getting his coronavirus relief proposal passed to forgiving student debt.

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QAnon faces the music

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Supporters of former President Donald Trump who thought he was about to stop the inauguration, seize power and crush his enemies were left blinking in the sunlight Wednesday as President Biden took the oath of office.

Why it matters: It's an inflection point for anyone who realizes they've been strung along by QAnon and related strands of pro-Trump magical thinking. They could either retreat from conspiracy theories or tumble deeper down the rabbit hole.