Quantcast
Connect with us

New pressure over Khashoggi death, Trump ignores deadline

Published

on

President Donald Trump appeared prepared Friday to ignore the US Congress’s deadline to determine who ordered the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi amid new revelations that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince spoke of going after the journalist “with a bullet.”

With pressure mounting in Washington and Riyadh, the US president theoretically had until the end of the day to designate those responsible for the murder of the Washington Post columnist, who was strangled and dismembered by Saudi agents in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The time limit was imposed by Democratic and Republican senators, who wrote to the president on October 10 calling for an investigation into the killing.

Under a human rights accountability law the letter gives the president 120 days to designate and punish those responsible. But no definitive action was expected Friday from the administration.

“Consistent with the previous administration’s position and the constitutional separation of powers, the president maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate,” a senior administration official said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The US Government will continue to consult with Congress and work to hold accountable those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing.”

The State Department said Thursday Washington had already taken action, pointing to last year’s revocation of visas for nearly two dozen Saudi officials and the freezing of assets of 17 others.

Some members of Congress have publicly stated that they suspect the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for the killing, based on the CIA’s conclusions.

ADVERTISEMENT

Predicting little movement, a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday proposed a bill that would cut off some weapons sales and require sanctions against any Saudis involved in Khashoggi’s killing.

“Seeing as the Trump administration has no intention of insisting on full accountability for Mr. Khashoggi’s murderers, it is time for Congress to step in and impose real consequences to fundamentally re-examine our relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen,” said Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

AFP/File / MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKHJamal Khashoggi, pictured in the Bahraini capital Manama on December 15, 2014, was strangled and dismembered by Saudi agents

The Trump administration claims it has no compelling evidence of the direct involvement of the young and powerful Saudi leader, although the senators — briefed in private by intelligence leaders — stressed they remained convinced that the prince known as “MBS” was responsible.

ADVERTISEMENT

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised Khashoggi’s killing among other issues during a meeting in Washington Thursday with Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, according to the State Department.

Al-Jubeir reiterated Friday that the prince was not involved in the murder and blaming him would be crossing a “red line.”

“For anyone to think that they can dictate what we should do, what our leadership should do, is preposterous,” al-Jubeir told reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT

– New revelations –

Trump has publicly said he is not concerned whether Prince Mohammed was involved, arguing that the Saudi alliance benefits Washington due to the kingdom’s purchases of weapons and its hostility to regional rival Iran.

AFP / OZAN KOSEHatice Cengiz, fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, at the presentation of her book in Istanbul

The deadline coincides with new embarrassing developments for the prince.

ADVERTISEMENT

The New York Times, citing officials who had seen US intelligence, said Prince Mohammed had warned in an intercepted conversation with an aide in 2017 that he would go after Khashoggi “with a bullet” if he did not return to Saudi Arabia from the United States.

US intelligence understood that the ambitious 33-year-old heir apparent was ready to kill the journalist, although he may not have literally meant to shoot him, according to the newspaper.

Special UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard said Thursday after a visit to Turkey that the killing of Khashoggi, who had written critical pieces on Saudi Arabia in the Post, had been “planned and perpetrated” by Saudi officials.

ADVERTISEMENT

In light of the revelations, Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancee said Friday she hoped pressure from US lawmakers would encourage the Trump adminstration to take a tougher stance on the killing.

Speaking at a news conference in Istanbul, Hatice Cengiz left the door open to a meeting with Trump if certain conditions were met, a softening of her position in December when she rejected an invitation from the US president.

“A visit to the United States could take place in March,” Cengiz said, adding she hoped Trump would have a change of “attitude” about the murder.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Watergate lawyer reveals the Mueller report footnote on ‘theft’ that Dems must ask him about

Published

on

Former federal prosecutor Nick Ackerman brought a highlighted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller's report during an appearance on MSNBC anticipating questions for Wednesday's hearing.

Host Ari Melber asked Ackerman to pick out the one page of the report that he would want to ask Mueller a question about.

Ackerman selected page 176, which relates to Roger Stone and the distribution of the stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee.

"It’s a fact, is it not, Mr. Mueller, if you look at that footnote — that your office considered charging people with the theft of stolen property and trafficking in stolen property, is that right?" Ackerman asked his hypothetical question to Mueller.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Republicans ‘are still scared Mueller might go rogue’: Lawyer who defended Trump official explains GOP’s fear

Published

on

Republicans are terrified that special counsel Robert Mueller could harm President Donald Trump during public testimony before Congress, a lawyer who used to represent a Trump official explained on MSNBC on Monday.

Attorney Caroline Polisi, who represented George Papadopoulos, was interviewed on "The Beat" by Ari Melber.

The host played clips pointing out how hard it is for lawmakers to get information out of Mueller during congressional

"What's so interesting here, even in the face of all of this, they’re scared he may go rogue," Polisi explained.

"They’re still a little bit scared of that one percent possibility," she noted.

Continue Reading
 

CNN

Here are 3 things Americans must hear from Mueller’s testimony: Democratic senator

Published

on

No one can say with certainty what former special counsel Robert Mueller will tell the American people when he testifies before the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on Wednesday.

But on Monday, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the broad strokes of what Mueller will be expected to say — and what the American people should be listening for if they are not yet convinced President Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses.

"Do you think there are Americans out there who still haven't made up their mind on this issue of impeachment, obstruction of justice, collusion and all of that?" Blitzer asked her. "Have the American people moved on?"

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image