Wednesday's HOT MIC
NEWS AND POLITICS DESK UPDATE: Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were both in Riyadh today. Mattis got the high-profile meetings with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud, while Tillerson delivered remarks at the U.S.-Saudi CEO Summit.
The defense minister, noting he had "great trust" in Mattis, said the kingdom would work with Washington "in order to curb and counter all the challenges in the region, either when it comes to fighting terrorist organizations or the malign activities of Iran that continues to unsettle the world."
Mattis said the two had "come to conclusions about our cooperation for the future" and would "actually do something as we reinforce Saudi Arabia's resistance to Iran's mischief and make you more effective with your military as we work together as partners."
"We are not leaving this region, but at the same time, it is in our interest to see a strong Saudi Arabia military security service and secret services," Mattis added, saying talks "could actually open the door, possibly" to President Trump visiting Saudi Arabia.
The Defense secretary later told reporters "it's very clear that Saudi Arabia is stepping up to its regional leadership role out here right now at a key time in terms of trying to restore stability in this key region of the world."
"The meetings could not have gone better. They were frank. They were candid. They were honest," he said. "They were highly productive in terms of outcomes, to include how we're going to work together with one of our best counterterrorism partners against the enemy."