I don’t know how much the murder of Jamal Khashoggi plays into election politics as we near the midterms, but it sure fits another Trump pattern. As Trevor Noah pointed out in his show last night, it’s basically Brett Kavanaugh all over again: Trump is making a show of getting to the bottom of this, but he’s already made up his mind. This is absolutely not about getting to the truth, it’s about finding an excuse, as The Washington Post reported:
The Trump administration and the Saudi royal family are searching for a mutually agreeable explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — one that will avoid implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is among the president’s closest foreign allies, according to analysts and officials in multiple countries.
Trump is not trying to find out what happened to Khashoggi. He knows what happened. U.S. Intelligence knows what happened. Turkey provided audio proving what happened. Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate — where Khashoggi went to get a document to marry the woman he loved — and the guy who dismembered him asked to have some music put on while he was doing the dismembering.
Congress knows this. Even the Republicans are threatening sanctions against Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia enjoys far greater respect in the Oval Office than in the Capitol. Many lawmakers harbor a distrust of the kingdom dating back to its connection to the Sept. 11 attacks. Its bloody involvement in Yemen’s civil war and interference in Lebanese politics have cost it further U.S. support.
The Trump administration, meanwhile — led by the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner — has drawn ever closer to the Saudis as it fashions a strategy in the Mideast that revolves around the kingdom.
Trump isn’t “investigating” the murder. Pompeo has been out in Saudi Arabia talking with the Saudi Royals, not to get to the truth, but to come up with a “mutually agreeable explanation.” They are game-planning their alibi.
Why is Trump so adamant about protecting the crown prince? Is it really the “$110 billion weapons deal”? (The weapons, by the way, are being used to bomb Yemen, including a bomb we sold them that was used to blow up a school bus containing 40 school children. This country is so ratf*ked.). Or is it because of all the money the Saudis have given Trump personally, by buying $40-$50 million in Trump property or renting out a floor in Trump Tower for three months?
It’s quite possible that Trump is looking the other way because of money. My concern, however, runs even deeper than money. From The Independent nearly two years ago:
A Saudi Arabian journalist and commentator has been banned by his country for criticizing US President-elect Donald Trump.
Jamal Khashoggi has been banned from writing in newspapers, making TV appearances and attending conferences, Middle East Eye reports.
Khashoggi had been banned from Saudi Arabia in the first place BECAUSE HE CRITICISED TRUMP. No wonder Trump doesn’t give a sh*t. Trump is the reason he got banned. If that had been a Fox News reporter — U.S. citizen or not — I am guessing Trump would have had a very different reaction. The crown prince probably knew he could get away with murdering Khashoggi because he was a critic of Trump.
There’s a terrifying pattern here. Remember when Trump said he’d pay the legal bills of anyone at his rallies who beat up a protestor? He will protect anyone who goes after his critics. So, what happens if CNN’s Jim Acosta is beaten to death on his way back to a hotel after a Trump rally? Does Trump blame it on rogue killers? Does he give the illusion of opening an investigation, but limit it in scope and exclude the witnesses of the murder? I mean, has Trump said anything about the Proud Boys beating protestors on the streets? No, because they’re going after his critics.
Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist. Trump hates the Post. No wonder he doesn’t give a sh*t, and that’s the exact message he is sending to all journalists: “If you are murdered or beaten, I will look the other way if you are a critic of mine … and I might even help pay the killer’s legal bills.”