CIA Reportedly Concluded Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi’s Assassination


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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The murder of Jamal Khashoggi sent shockwaves all over the world with demands for answers from Saudi Arabia, and now it turns out the CIA apparently believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was ordered by the Saudi crown prince himself. The Washington Post––which has done a lot of stellar reporting on the lack of answers surrounding the assassination of their colleague––has new reporting out tonight about the CIA’s conclusion:
The CIA’s assessment, in which officials have said they have high confidence, is the most definitive to date linking Mohammed to the operation and complicates the Trump administration’s efforts to preserve its relationship with a close ally. A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul on government aircraft in October and killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, where he had come to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman. Continue reading "CIA Reportedly Concluded Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Khashoggi’s Assassination"

BREAKING: U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Saudis For Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder


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The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday that they are placing sanctions on 17 Saudi government workers for the murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. “These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement. Those sanctions, though, do not seem to be enough to satisfy one notable critic of the U.S. handling of Khashoggi’s murder. Karen Attiah, the Washington Post editor with whom Khashoggi worked closely, says President Donald Trump‘s legacy will be marred forever if his administration doesn’t take greater action against Saudi Arabia. Saudi and Turkish prosecutors are still in dispute over the details of how exactly Khashoggi was killed in Istanbul and then had his dismembered body carried out of Saudi consulate. Saudi officials say they are pursuing the death penalty Continue reading "BREAKING: U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Saudis For Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder"

Trump Nominates Retired Army General John Abizaid as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia


This post is by Caleb Ecarma from Mediaite


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After nearly two years of vacancy, President Donald Trump nominated retired Army General John Abizaid, 67, to fill the open U.S. Saudi Arabia ambassador position. Abizaid, who is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and previously helped lead West Point’s counterterrorism center, has been chosen for the position as the U.S. wrestles with Saudi Arabia over the murder of Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, who was a legal resident in America prior to his death. The White House released the following statement listing Abizaid’s credentials when announcing his nomination:
“John P. Abizaid of Nevada, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Abizaid currently serves as the first Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and works as a private consultant at JPA Associates. Previously, he Continue reading "Trump Nominates Retired Army General John Abizaid as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia"

Trump on Situation in Yemen: ‘That’s a Horror Show’


This post is by Tamar Auber from Mediaite


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During an interview with Axios on HBO, President Donald Trump said the situation in Yemen is a “horror show.” “I think it’s a terrible situation,” Trump said during the interview, as published by Axios. “I hated seeing what happened with the bus and the children cause that’s pure — that’s a horror show when you see a thing like that, you saw the bus.” In August Saudi forces used a bomb — supplied by the United States — to blow up a bus full of 40 Yemeni children. CNN reported at the time:
The bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition in a devastating attack on a school bus in Yemen was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, munitions experts told CNN. Working with local Yemeni journalists and munitions experts, CNN has established that the weapon that left dozens of children dead on Continue reading "Trump on Situation in Yemen: ‘That’s a Horror Show’"

Saudi Prosecutors Now Claiming Killing of Jamal Khashoggi Was Premeditated


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Saudi officials are now claiming that the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was premeditated. Roughly three weeks ago Khashoggi went missing after visiting a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey and was eventually revealed to have been killed. The admission that his killing was planned is a stunning admission after Saudi officials first claimed his death was accidental, providing the explanation that he lost his life in a fist fight gone wrong. Reports of a grizzly torture and dismemberment have surfaced, and that parts of Khashoggi’s body were found in a garden behind the consulate where he was murdered. This admission comes shortly after CIA Director Gina Haspel visited Turkey and reportedly listened to an audio recording of the journalist being interrogated and killed, according to The Washington Post . Saudi Arabia‘s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, claimed on Wednesday that Khashoggi’s killers would be brought to justice, before warning anyone against Continue reading "Saudi Prosecutors Now Claiming Killing of Jamal Khashoggi Was Premeditated"

Trump Says Saudi Cover-Up of Khashoggi Killing One of ‘Worst in the History of Cover-Ups’


This post is by Caleb Howe from Mediaite


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President Donald Trump spoke with reporters in the Oval Office on several topics Tuesday. Naturally, one of the most asked about subjects was the situation with Saudi Arabia and Turkey following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and subsequent attempts to cover it up, which Trump said was one of the “worst” ever. First, the President was asked about the remarks by Turkish President Erdogan‘s remarks from today, in which he called the murder of Khashoggi “planned” and “brutal,’ and demanded extradition of those arrested by the Saudis. “He was pretty rough on Saudi Arabia, I would say,” said President Trump. “I haven’t gotten a full recap, as you know I have people in Turkey, and I have people in Saudi Arabia and other places, and they are all coming back as we speak, they are heading back. I will know, I think, everything in a very short period Continue reading "Trump Says Saudi Cover-Up of Khashoggi Killing One of ‘Worst in the History of Cover-Ups’"

GOP Rep. Peter King Roasts President for ‘Shielding’ Saudi Arabia… President Obama, That Is


This post is by Caleb Howe from Mediaite


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On This Week, host George Stephanopoulos spoke with both Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on the topic of the U.S.-Saudi relationship in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and both had choice words about the President’s actions. Just not the same president. Both Schiff and King, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Dick Durbin, and even Newt Gingrich elsewhere today, stated that they find the explanation from the Saudi government to be not credible. King further said that while Trump is correct that the Saudis making arrests is a first step, he said it not a “believable” step. He then said that there is a necessity of maintaining a relationship with Saudi Arabia that spans administrations, including that of former President Barack Obama. “During the Obama administration, I led Continue reading "GOP Rep. Peter King Roasts President for ‘Shielding’ Saudi Arabia… President Obama, That Is"

Lindsey Graham Says He’s ‘Never Felt More Used in My Life’ Than by MBS: ‘He’s Done to Me’


This post is by Amy Russo from Mediaite


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[jwviedo id = dwT3lx1h] Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) doubled down on his condemnation of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman Sunday, recalling his past admiration for the leader by whom he now feels played in light of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. “MBS talks about reforming the country in a way that I liked,” Graham told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo. “I never felt more used in my life. I introduced him when he was in Washington.” The senator has taken a particularly strong stance against the prince in recent days, condemning him for Khashoggi’s death which occurred after the journalist entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month. While President Donald Trump has accepted Saudi Arabia’s unfounded explanation that Khashoggi was killed during a fist fight, Graham wants action. “I find it impossible to believe that the crown prince was not involved, so go after him and his Continue reading "Lindsey Graham Says He’s ‘Never Felt More Used in My Life’ Than by MBS: ‘He’s Done to Me’"

Saudi Foreign Minister on Fox News: Kashoggi Murder Was ‘Rogue’ and ‘They Tried to Cover It Up’


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During Howard Kurtz‘s Media Buzz on FOX News Channel on Sunday, FNC’s chief political anchor Bret Baier broke news when he exclusively interviewed Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, eliciting several admissions from the Minister as well as even more denials of culpability for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Not to mention a rebuffing of Sen. Rand Paul‘s earlier Fox appearance. In the first clip, above, Jubeir offered a timeline of their version of events, and said that the killing was a “huge and grave mistake.” He also said there were was an attempt to cover it up, and that they are trying to find Jamal Khashoggi‘s body or remains. He said the shifting story was because the investigation is continuing and even invoked Abu Ghraib. He put all the blame on the security team. “They told us [Khashoggi] left the consulate, came back to Continue reading "Saudi Foreign Minister on Fox News: Kashoggi Murder Was ‘Rogue’ and ‘They Tried to Cover It Up’"

After Rand Paul Blasts Saudi Explanation as ‘Insulting’, Fox’s Chris Wallace Asks Him Why Trump Believes It


This post is by Caleb Howe from Mediaite


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Chris Wallace interviewed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Fox News Sunday on the Saudi government and whether President Donald Trump is covering for them in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After calling the Saudi explanation of events “insulting” to anyone with an “intelligent background”, and saying that it “stretches credulity”, and there’s “no way” it’s what happened, when confronted with Trump calling their account credible, Paul became elusive. Wallace first outlined the Saudi account of events in brief and then asked Sen. Paul if he believes the account. “Absolutely not, I think it’s insulting to anyone who is analyzing this with any kind of intelligent background,” said Paul, and then he listed a series of negative observations about Saudi Arabia, including being the largest “state sponsor of radical Islam,” saying that it’s just the latest in a long line of offenses against the civilized word. The two then discuss Continue reading "After Rand Paul Blasts Saudi Explanation as ‘Insulting’, Fox’s Chris Wallace Asks Him Why Trump Believes It"

Trump on Saudi Explanation of Khashoggi Killing: ‘I’m Not Satisfied Until We Find the Answer’


This post is by Aidan McLaughlin from Mediaite


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President Donald Trump spoke out about Jamal Khashoggi in a pool spray with reporters after his rally in Nevada on Saturday, and said he won’t be satisfied until he has answers on the killing. Trump was asked by a reporter if he was “satisfied” by the firing of some Saudi officials in connection with the murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi writer and dissident. The Saudi Arabian government claimed on Friday night that Khashoggi was killed in a fight at the consulate in Istanbul. “No, I’m not satisfied until we find the answer,” Trump said. “But it was a big first step. It was a good first step. But I want to get to the answer.” Trump continued by noting “we have $450 billion” of equipment “ordered from Saudi Arabia,” which he claimed is creating one million jobs (he previously said these deals would create 40,000 jobs). “That’s not helpful Continue reading "Trump on Saudi Explanation of Khashoggi Killing: ‘I’m Not Satisfied Until We Find the Answer’"

Washington Post CEO and Publisher Slams Saudi Arabia for Giving ‘One Lie After Another’ on Khashoggi


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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Fred Ryan, the CEO and publisher of the Washington Post, has made it abundantly clear they will not be taking Saudi Arabia’s explanation of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi at face value. Khashoggi’s colleagues have been diligently working to get answers on what happened and on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering before and after his death. The paper even reported on a “whisper campaign” among conservatives to smear him. The announcement from Saudi Arabia that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate after a fight was met with serious skepticism, and the Post editorial board said it’s a complete fable that President Donald Trump should not be treating as credible. This afternoon Ryan issued a statement saying Saudi Arabia is continuing to lie and cover up the truth, calling on the President and Congress to demand actual evidence of what happened:
The Government of Saudi Arabia has shamefully and repeatedly offered Continue reading "Washington Post CEO and Publisher Slams Saudi Arabia for Giving ‘One Lie After Another’ on Khashoggi"

Jamal Khashoggi’s Editor: Trump Doing ‘PR Work’ for Saudis by Calling Their Explanation Credible


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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Washington Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah had a pretty blunt reaction last night to Saudi Arabia’s explanation of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. She elaborated on CNN this afternoon, telling anchor Fredricka Whitfield, “The idea that Jamal––someone who is a 60-year-old man, wore glasses, anybody who knew him in life, was just a very kind, gentle man––that he would have died in a fight against 15 men, no, that was not a fight.” “It just lacks all credibility,” she said. “It’s insulting. It’s insulting to any sort of thinking person’s intelligence.” The Post posthumously ran his final column––which had a strong focus on the need for press freedom in Arab nations––this week. As far as the US response to his killing is concerned, President Donald Trump has said it’s a good first step. Attiah said everyone should Continue reading "Jamal Khashoggi’s Editor: Trump Doing ‘PR Work’ for Saudis by Calling Their Explanation Credible"

Stunning NYT Report Reveals Saudi Troll Farm, Suspected Saudi ‘Mole’ at Twitter in 2015


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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A stunning new report reveals that a former Twitter employee was suspected of being groomed by Saudi Arabia as a spy. The New York Times details Saudi efforts to combat dissent online, including the revelation of a “troll farm” based in Riyadh:
Saudi operatives have mobilized to harass critics on Twitter, a wildly popular platform for news in the kingdom since the Arab Spring uprisings began in 2010. Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed who was fired on Saturday in the fallout from Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, was the strategist behind the operation, according to United States and Saudi officials, as well as activist organizations.
And Jamal Khashoggi himself was a target of many Twitter trolls who went after him and others who criticized Saudi leadership. But somewhat alarmingly, the report also reveals that Twitter was informed in late 2015 by Western intelligence officials that an employee by Continue reading "Stunning NYT Report Reveals Saudi Troll Farm, Suspected Saudi ‘Mole’ at Twitter in 2015"

Washington Post Editorial Board Blasts Saudi Arabia’s ‘Fable’ on Khashoggi: Trump Shouldn’t Call This Credible


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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The Washington Post editorial board is, rather obviously, not at all convinced of Saudi Arabia’s official story on what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia confirmed his death last night and said he was killed after a fight. Many journalists and lawmakers are unconvinced, and that includes Khashoggi’s Post colleagues. “The new account offered by the regime of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is utterly devoid of credibility,” the Post editorial board writes. “The latest version asks us to believe that Mr. Khashoggi died after becoming engaged in a ‘brawl’ with officials who had been sent to meet him. His body, Saudi officials told several journalists, was handed over to a ‘local collaborator’ for disposal. That President Trump would pronounce this fable credible only underlines his shameful intent to assist in the attempt of the regime — and, in particular, the crown prince — to escape meaningful Continue reading "Washington Post Editorial Board Blasts Saudi Arabia’s ‘Fable’ on Khashoggi: Trump Shouldn’t Call This Credible"

Washington Post Editorial Board Blasts Saudi Arabia’s ‘Fable’ on Khashoggi: Trump Shouldn’t Call This Credible


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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The Washington Post editorial board is, rather obviously, not at all convinced of Saudi Arabia’s official story on what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia confirmed his death last night and said he was killed after a fight. Many journalists and lawmakers are unconvinced, and that includes Khashoggi’s Post colleagues. “The new account offered by the regime of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is utterly devoid of credibility,” the Post editorial board writes. “The latest version asks us to believe that Mr. Khashoggi died after becoming engaged in a ‘brawl’ with officials who had been sent to meet him. His body, Saudi officials told several journalists, was handed over to a ‘local collaborator’ for disposal. That President Trump would pronounce this fable credible only underlines his shameful intent to assist in the attempt of the regime — and, in particular, the crown prince — to escape meaningful Continue reading "Washington Post Editorial Board Blasts Saudi Arabia’s ‘Fable’ on Khashoggi: Trump Shouldn’t Call This Credible"

Rand Paul: Saudi Statement ‘Not Even Close to Credible,’ Congress Must Be ‘Denouncing Their Behavior’


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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Senators Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham do not agree on a whole lot, but one thing they share is deep skepticism about Saudi Arabia’s official explanation of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia said last night Khashoggi was killed after an altercation of some kind in the consulate. President Donald Trump called the announcement a “good first step,” but other Republicans have expressed this isn’t good enough. Last night Graham tweeted that calling him skeptical would be a vast understatement: And this morning, Paul expressed the same sentiments:

CNN’s Smerconish Calls Out U.S. ‘Fealty’ to Saudi Arabia: What Do They ‘Hold Over American Presidents?’


This post is by Josh Feldman from Mediaite


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“What the hell does the Saudi royal family hold over American presidents?” CNN’s Michael Smerconish opened his show today teeing off on the “fealty” the United States has shown to Saudi Arabia over the years, saying “the next thing you know, regardless of party, they’re holding hands with the kind.” He brought up how President Donald Trump‘s first foreign trip was actually to Saudi Arabia before saying, “I don’t get why the Saudis hold such sway, especially now.” The Saudi crown prince was fawned over when he came to the U.S. recently, Smerconish noted, but now he’s under intense scrutiny following the death of Jamal Khashoggi. Smerconish is, of course, as skeptical as the rest of us are about Saudi Arabia’s statement on the circumstances of his death. “Here’s my question,” he continued. “Why are these our partners?” You can watch his comments above, Continue reading "CNN’s Smerconish Calls Out U.S. ‘Fealty’ to Saudi Arabia: What Do They ‘Hold Over American Presidents?’"