Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Scoop: Biden will call Saudi king ahead of damning Khashoggi report

President Biden plans to call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday, ahead of the public release of a potentially damning intelligence report about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a source briefed on the call told Axios.

Why it matters: The call, if it happens as scheduled, will be Biden’s first conversation as president with the Saudi king. While they are likely to discuss a range of issues, the conversation will be colored by the imminent release of the explosive report expected to involve one of the monarch's sons.


  • The report, an unclassified document produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for expected release on Thursday, implies Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
  • Bin Salman has denied involvement but accepted responsibility as the kingdom's de facto leader.

Biden is moving to recalibrate the Saudi relationship after the Trump administration made Riyadh's preferences in the Persian Gulf a priority for U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. both withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and failed to take action for the murder of Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist.

  • During the 2020 campaign, Biden accused the crown prince of ordering the murder, stressed he wouldn't sell weapons to the Saudis and promised to "make them the pariah that they are."
  • The Saudi government has recently been sending signals that it's ready to cooperate on the civil war in Yemen and make improvements on human rights in an effort to avoid a crisis with the new administration, Axios' Barak Ravid has reported.

The intrigue: Biden will be speaking with the 85-year-old king, who technically is the head of government, instead of his son, known as MBS, the nation's heir apparent.

  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki previewed the differentiation last week when she said: “The president’s counterpart is King Salman.”
  • “I expect that, in appropriate time, [Biden] would have a conversation with him," referring to King Salman.
  • A spokesperson for the National Security Council would not confirm Biden’s scheduled call Wednesday. The State Department referred an inquiry about the call to the White House.
  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with MBS, who is also the country's defense minister, last week.

The big picture: Avril Haines, the nation's top intelligence official, pledged during her Senate confirmation hearing that the Biden administration would release the intelligence report.

  • “Yes, Senator. Actually, we’ll follow the law,” she replied to a question about the report's release.

In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as COVID-19 cases surged past 500,000 on Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.

Keep reading... Show less

Major companies ask Colorado residents not to apply for remote positions

Major companies have said in recent job postings that Colorado residents are ineligible to apply for certain remote positions because a new state law requires businesses to disclose the expected salary or pay range for positions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The law, which went into effect in January, is meant to help close the gender wage gap and to promote wage transparency for employees, but companies have said Coloradans need not apply to avoid disclosing the information.

Keep reading... Show less

In photos: Communities across nation celebrate Juneteenth

People across the country are celebrating Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The big picture: The date, June 19, memorializes when some of the last enslaved people in Texas learned about their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.

Keep reading... Show less

Separate and unequal paths to business

When a bank turned down George Johnson for a business loan, he got creative. He returned and told the bank he needed $250 to take his wife on a vacation — and was approved. Then he invested the cash in his business, which became the first Black enterprise to trade on the American Stock Exchange.

Why it matters: The highways to success in the U.S. market economy — in entrepreneurship, corporate leadership and wealth creation — are often punctuated with roadblocks and winding detours for people of color.

Keep reading... Show less

Attempting to reform gig work via co-ops

Ride-hailing service The Drivers Cooperative recently debuted in New York City, claiming that its lack of VC funding would result in better driver pay and lower passenger costs.

Why it matters: TDC’s approach is a direct rebuke to the venture capital-fueled gig economy model.

Keep reading... Show less

Conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi elected Iran's president

Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi easily won Friday's presidential election in Iran, recording 62% of the vote with more than 90% of ballots counted.

Why it matters: Currently the head of Iran's judiciary, Raisi is a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and has the support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). His victory solidifies him as a leading candidate to succeed Khamenei, though Friday's low turnout speaks to the disillusionment of many Iranian voters.

Keep reading... Show less

Juneteenth and the country enslaved labor built on the backs of Black Americans

Juneteenth, a once-obscure commemoration of emancipation of enslaved people in Texas, has transformed into an annual reminder about how slavery robbed Black Americans of generational wealth.

Why it matters: That lack of generational wealth still denies Black families the economic security that many white families take for granted.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden will meet with U.S. financial regulators on Monday

President Biden will meet with financial regulators on Monday.

Driving the news: "The meeting will cover regulatory priorities including climate-related financial risk and agency actions to promote financial inclusion and to responsibly increase access to credit," said press secretary Jen Psaki, according to a press pool report.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories