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US bars entry to 16 Saudis over Khashoggi killing

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The US State Department Monday barred entry to 16 Saudi nationals over what it described as their role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as the administration of Donald Trump continues to face harsh criticism over its handling of the affair.

Dissident writer Khashoggi was killed and dismembered October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a team of 15 agents sent from Riyadh, sparking unprecedented international scrutiny of the kingdom’s human rights record.

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But despite the fact that Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was named as “responsible” for the murder by the US Senate, who adopted their resolution after being briefed by the CIA, the US president has refused to publicly take a stand against the country’s de facto ruler.

Trump has instead emphasized that Riyadh is a major arms importer for the United States and an important regional ally against Iran.

A statement by the State Department listed the 16 individuals and said that they had been designated under the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act.

The section in question “provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or gross violations of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

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“The law requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members.”

The State Department previously revoked the visas of nearly two dozen Saudi officials and froze the assets of 17 others.

– Congressional pressure –

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After initially denying the murder, Riyadh said the operation was carried out by agents who were out of control. A trial of 11 suspects opened earlier this year in Saudi Arabia.

But much of the case remains shrouded, including the precise role of Prince Mohammed.

Republicans and Democrats alike have bristled over the White House’s apparent embrace of the kingdom and its leadership, and have escalated their opposition to Saudi Arabia.

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The House of Representatives last week voted to end military support for the bloody Saudi-led war in Yemen, dealing a harsh bipartisan rebuke to the president and taking the historic step of curtailing a president’s war-making powers.

The text cleared the Senate last month and now heads to Trump, who was expected to veto the legislation.

The New York Times reported last month Prince Mohammed approved a secret campaign to silence dissenters a year before the killing of Khashoggi, who wrote a column for the Washington Post and was a US resident.

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The campaign included surveillance, kidnapping, detention and torture of Saudis, said the report which cited US officials who have read classified intelligence reports about the effort.

American officials referred to it as the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group, the Times said.

At least some of the clandestine missions were carried out by members of the team that killed and dismembered Khashoggi in October at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, suggesting his murder was part of a wider campaign against dissidents, the report said, citing the US officials and associates of some Saudi victims.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘He does not belong in this office’: Ron Reagan says Trump ‘has been crazy because he is crazy’

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The son of Republican President Ronald Reagan blasted President Donald Trump on MSNBC on Tuesday.

Ron Reagan, Jr. was interviewed on "Hardball" by Chris Matthews.

The host recounted Trump's attacks on Denmark after they said Greenland was not for sale.

"He wants to fight with everybody, including the quiet, American-loving Danes. What’s up?" Matthews asked.

"Well, it’s craziness, but I take a little umbrage at this idea that we have to ascribe it to something like the economy or his anxiousness about re-election. He’s acting the way he’s acting because he is who he is and what he is," Reagan replied.

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Trump may look unstable now — but the economy is going to make him much worse: CNN’s April Ryan

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," analyst and American Urban Radio Network Washington bureau chief April Ryan walked through how President Donald Trump backed himself into a corner by trying to build his brand on a great economy — and is coming to pieces as a result.

"April, what are you hearing? Is the economy causing the president's erratic behavior?" asked anchor Kate Bolduan.

"Yes, yes, and yes," said Ryan. "This president has been touting a great economy, and this is the cornerstone since I guess since the very beginning of his administration for people to feel that he should win re-election, that he is firmly planted for the American public and he's working for them," said Ryan. "But indicators, non-traditional indicators, are saying something different. He is having a hard time trying to marry the great economy with what it looks like for the American public, particularly the grassroots."

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Trump’s State Department busted helping Rudy Giuliani dig up campaign dirt against Joe Biden

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The State Department assisted President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in setting up a meeting with a Ukrainian official to “strongly urge” the new administration in Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

Giuliani backed out of a planned trip to Kiev earlier this year that was meant to dig up dirt on Biden. But the New York Times now reports the former New York mayor instead traveled to Madrid to meet with a top aide to new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, with help from the State Department.

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