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How a comedian called out Jared Kushner to his face — and it worked

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During a speech at the TIME 100 Gala on Tuesday, comedian Hasan Minhaj blasted President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, for his close relationship with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“I know there’s a lot of very powerful people here, and it would be crazy if there was a high ranking official in the White House that could WhatsApp MBS and say, ‘Hey maybe you could help that person get out of prison because they don’t deserve it.’ But hey, that person would have to be in the room. It’s just a good comedy premise,” Minhaj told the audience during a toast, according to Time Magazine.

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The person that Minhaj was referring to in his toast was Loujain Al-Hathloul, who Minhaj accurately described as “a Saudi activist who helped fight to lift the women’s driving ban, and she is currently in prison. She cannot be with us here tonight. She has been tortured.”

After the toast, he explained to Time Magazine that he was sincere in his request, despite the comedic manner in which he chose to convey it.

“I was just hoping he could send a WhatsApp message. [It could say] hey, this person has been fighting for civil liberties for all people. Maybe you should let them out of prison,” Minhaj told Time Magazine.

Minhaj also used his speech to reference another dispute between himself and the Saudi Arabian government — namely, its role in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“We did an episode from Saudi Arabia, if anyone from the kingdom is here, hey, I’m sorry,” Minhaj said. “But yeah, yeah, yeah, after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, I came in, I had a super hot take, I was like “Murder’s bad,” and then the kingdom didn’t like it, they pulled the episode, they banned me from The Mecca, not Madison Square Garden, there’s a place called The Mecca, it’s Muslim, you know what it is. So I can’t do that anymore.”

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Kushner’s close relationship with the Saudi crown prince has come under intense scrutiny since Khashoggi’s murder. Even though the Trump administration has attempted to downplay the relationship, reports have revealed that the two men continue to chat informally despite Mohammed bin Salman’s role in ordering Khashoggi’s to be killed for his articles criticizing the Saudi regime.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights violations have continued unabated despite the increased scrutiny facing that country. The government has already executed more than 100 people in the first four months of 2019 and is on track to kill more than 300 people this year, according to the Detroit Free Press. The most recent was Mujtaba al-Sweikat, a Saudi Arabian man who was arrested when he was 17-years-old in 2012 as he prepared to begin his studies at Western Michigan University. He was arrested for allegedly attending a pro-democracy rally during the Arab Spring movement, and was beheaded by the Saudi government on Tuesday.

“The violent killing of Mutjaba al-Sweikat is disturbing,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, D- MI., said in a statement. “Mutjaba had a bright future ahead of him and Michigan was prepared to welcome him as a student. Instead, he faced inhumane torture and pain ultimately leading to his execution.

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She added, “Every human, regardless of where they may be in the world, should have the right to speak openly without fear of persecution or death. Right now, I stand in unity with Mutjaba’s family and friends. I will never stop speaking up for all who promote free speech and due process around the world.”

Late on Wednesday, Kushner responded to Minhaj’s jabbing.

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“I will continue to put pressure on privately,” he vowed in an interview with The New York Post.


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‘Rather than leading — he lies’: MSNBC panel says Trump is a ‘danger to the country’ because he can’t be trusted

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MSNBC commentators, former assistant US Attorney Maya Wiley and Rick Wilson, explained that President Donald Trump's most significant barrier is making it past his own lies to save America from the coronavirus.

"There's a case tonight being tested in Walton County, Florida. The heart of Trump country," said Wilson, referring to the panhandle county east of Pensacola. "That's not going to be something you can just walk away from if it turns out to be a real case. We're seeing these things popping up all over. The safe bet was always to say, 'This could be bad. We'll do everything we can to stop it.' But he can't stop himself from self-aggrandizing and lying about things. And it's actually -- setting aside my normal criticism of Trump -- this is a danger to the country that he is not a trustworthy person for the American people. Even people who like him now he BS's them all the time. Now, if he says it's not a problem and people are being hospitalized, it is a problem."

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Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’

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President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.

According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.

"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."

"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."

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Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical

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"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.

Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.

While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.

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