President Donald Trump’s efforts to carry water for Saudi Arabia by suggesting that Jamal Khashoggi was killed by “rogue killers” is undermining the credibility of America on the world stage, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) declared on MSNBC on Monday.
MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace brought on the senator after he sent a blistering tweet against the White House’s complicity in the reported murder of the Washington Post journalist.
President Trump’s suggestion that Khashoggi’s elaborately planned murder in the Saudi’s own consulate was orchestrated by “rogue killers” defies reality. Orders must have come from the top. The U.S. must not be complicit in an effort to cover-up this heinous crime. https://t.co/qJkBZ1sPG8
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) October 15, 2018
“Former CIA directors, former ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, have said over and over again — on our air and other networks — that if this operation is as the Turkish government describes it, it absolutely would have been done with the knowledge of [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] and officials at the top of the Saudi government,” Wallace reported.
“Well, Nicolle, it’s shameful that the President of the United States would allow himself to be used as the mouthpiece for the Saudi regime’s cover-up story here,” Van Hollen replied.
Van Hollen said, “the notion that the Crown Prince or the highest members of the Saudi government did not know that Khashoggi was walking into their consulate that day, even as they had those two Saudi aircraft arriving in Istanbul, just defies any kind of reality.”
“And for the President of the United States to participate in, what clearly is a Saudi effort at cover-up and whitewash, is really undermining the credibility of the United States in so many ways,” he concluded.
Wallace, a former top White House official in the Bush administration, asked if there was any way that the “rogue killers” line was the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community.
“Look, I am willing to bet the farm on this one, Nicolle, there’s no way that is what the CIA has said,” Van Hollen answered. “In fact, the CIA said with respect to the — again, this was in the public reporting — with respect to the killing, that there’s no way the Crown Prince would not know. Whether the King knew, I don’t know, but there’s no way that the Crown Prince, who has taken the reins of day-to-day government in Saudi Arabia, was not either hatching this plot, certainly aware of this plot.”
“So far, we have had a strong bipartisan condemnation of what the Saudis appear to have done here and hopefully we will keep that bipartisan coalition together,” he continued. “And the real concern here is that Republicans somehow, you know, take the president at his word as part of this cover-up, but I don’t think it’s going to happen in this instance because that would undermine the credibility of the United States government.”