Trump: Believes Saudis Lied But Still Supports Crown Prince

Donald Trump continues his occasional and arbitrary support for the presumption of innocence. In an interview with the Washington Post, he acknowledges the Saudi's lied about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death, but still says he supports Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, because neither Trump nor anyone in his administration has personally heard any evidence (including the reported tapes) implicating him.

Trump does, however, wittingly or unwittingly, seem to implicate the Crown Prince in a Saudi effort to kidnap Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia. [More...]

Trump says:

In the interview, Trump made clear he has yet to be provided with any evidence that would make him believe MBS had direct knowledge that Khashoggi was going to be killed or order that it be done.

“Nobody has told me he’s responsible. Nobody has told me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point. I haven’t heard either way,” he said. He added, echoing the Saudi version of events: “There is a possibility he found out about it afterward. It could be something in the building went badly awry. It could be that’s when he found about it. He could have known they were bringing him back to Saudi Arabia.” (my emphasis)

There is no way Khashoggi had agreed to return to Saudi Arabia. He was getting married in Turkey the next day. So if the Crown Prince knew there was a Saudi effort to bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, he knew of a plan to kidnap him.

Saudi commentators have been insistent that the Saudi government does not kidnap or kill those who express criticism of its regime.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir today told Fox News that the Crown Prince was not involved and those who were made a terrible mistake and will be punished:

The Saudi Gazette has this report of the interview.

"The Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman was not aware of this, even the senior leadership of the intelligent service was not aware of this", Al-Jubeir said.

The part about senior leadership not being aware of the operation is curious, considering the Saudi Gazette also has this list of persons fired in the aftermath of the Khashoggi killing:

  • Deputy President of General Intelligence, Ahmed Bin Hassan Bin Muhammad Assiri
  • Adviser at the Royal Court, Saud Bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani
  • Assistant Chief of General Intelligence for Intelligence Affairs, Air Force Maj. Gen. Muhammad Bin Saleh Al-Rumaih;
  • Assistant Chief of General Intelligence for Human Resources, Maj. Gen. Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al-Shayea;
  • Director of the General Directorate of Security and Protection at the Presidency for General Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Rashad Bin Hamed Al-Mehmadi.

The Gulf News has some biographical details on the first two. Assiri received military training at West Point, among other places. Al Jazeera says Assiri was very close to the Crown Prince:

Assiri then served as an adviser to MBS, who promoted him to his intelligence position last year, and is considered to be one of MBS' closest aides. He is "a key figure within the royal household, a very senior figure", Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reported from Istanbul, following the announcement.

al-Jazeera says Assiri may be the fall guy for the Saudis in Khashoggi's death. The New York Times today features the role of fired Adviser al-Qahtani, saying he led a twitter troll farm against dissenters and was a "top adviser" to the Crown Prince.

< Saudis Admit Khashoggi Died Inside Turkish Consulate | Muting Trump >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    A fall guy (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 21, 2018 at 05:37:22 PM EST
    Is pretty much the only option.  I still think the fall guy will end up being MBS.

    No one is going to believe anything else.

    Especially if the tape turns up probably.  Bob Corker said on one of the morning shows he thought they would get the tape this week.  And he added he thought MBS did it.  It was a pretty blunt assessment for chairman of foreign relations in the Senate.

    The decision is not up to "us".  The world isn't buying it.

    Corker (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Oct 21, 2018 at 05:40:21 PM EST
    Well (none / 0) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Oct 21, 2018 at 07:43:41 PM EST
    if MBS ends up taking the hit for this what are the Sauds going to do to Trump? Call in all his loans and make him declare bankruptcy? Are they going to take out Kushner in revenge?

    Too much (none / 0) (#4)
    by ragebot on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 10:14:12 AM EST

    Here is a story claiming MBS was on the phone with Jamal trying to get him to return to KSA just before he was killed.

    Earlier there was a story about an Apple watch being used to transmit the incident to Jamal's iPhone outside the building.  After it became clear this was not realistic speculation was that Turkey had bugged the KSA consulate (and most likely lots of other diplomatic missions).

    I am still wondering about the delay in the release of any tapes.  Note I said tapes because I suspect the Turks have bugged the consulate.  Part of it may be the Turks not wanting to reveal sources and methods.  Not to mention the vid of Jamal entering the consulate and the claims (which seem real) that the official KSA cars went to some forest where Jamal's body may have been dumped.  It seems like the Turks/maybe somebody else has a lot more evidence than is out in the open.

    I am making more popcorn.

    Turkey has said (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 10:41:29 AM EST
    They will not let them get away with it.
    Bob Corner thinks there is audio video evidence.

    We will see.


    And there's the body double (none / 0) (#6)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 11:10:07 AM EST
    Seriously (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 11:35:54 AM EST
    dude, you're linking to Russia Today, Putin's propaganda network? Sheesh, you guys have become loud and proud about your support of Putin.

    Readinc comprehension is your friend (none / 0) (#11)
    by ragebot on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 04:32:44 PM EST
    Key quotation from the link

    The prince contacted Khashoggi shortly after he was detained inside the consulate, Turkish pro-government paper Yeni Safak reported on Sunday, citing its own sources. According to the publication, Mohammad bin Salman, known in the West by his initials MBS, attempted to convince the journalist over the phone to return to his homeland, Saudi Arabia. Once close with the Saudi elites, Khashoggi fled the kingdom last year in fear of possible prosecution.

    Since I don't read or understand Turkish I don't know what the original article says but if anyone does here is a link to the paper.

    But you also seem to have missed my point that the Turks seem to be releasing things in a drip, drip, drip manner.  There has been plenty of speculation that slow walking the release is designed to maximize benefits (trade agreements or direct aid from KSA or USA) for Turkey.  Problem is that if Turkey over plays it's hand it could blow up in their face.

    I don't know anyone doubting KSA involvement in Jamal's death.  The doubt is about the details.  I have seen reports his body was dissolved in acid and will never be found, reports that he was cut in small pieces and smuggled out of Turkey, reports that the body was dumped in a near by forest, and reports that it was put in a diplomatic pouch and is in KSA.

    One thing I am convinced of is that Turkey has more stuff to dump and is taking it's own sweet time in doing so.

    In fast moving news Turkey is now claiming Skype was used to order the beheading.

    Allegedly, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Selman's adviser, Saud al-Khanq, Kasikci's death order to give the order on October 2, via the consulate 'Skype' sought.

    In the Skype conversation , it is claimed that Kahtani ordered the execution team to give me the head of this dog .

    I am using google Chrome to translate from the Turkish web site.

    If anyone is fluent in Turkish feel free to provide a better translation.


    I wasn't (none / 0) (#12)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 05:22:46 PM EST
    debating what you have to say. Your link is to rt.com which is Putin's propaganda network. If you can't find the information at another non-Putin site then what's there to discuss? I'm not going to debate based on Putin's propaganda.

    Reading comprehension is your friend (none / 0) (#15)
    by ragebot on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 06:13:47 PM EST
    I provided a link to the site in Turkey that was in Turkish and a translation in google Chrome.  The RT link was in English and basically said the same thing the Chrome translation said; just in better English.

    Finally Reuters has caught up and here is their link with the same story.

    Lets keep in mind the Robert Redford movie "Three Days Of The Condor" about a CIA reader.  In case you don't know a CIA reader is someone who sits in a room and reads stuff; today stuff like Russian web sites like RT.

    Just because a site is propaganda does not mean it is not useful to know what it is saying.  Even some of the Democratic propaganda web sites have useful information on them.:)


    I don't (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 07:08:10 PM EST
    believe everything that comes out of Turkey either. They have an agenda in this and remember Mike Flynn was the one they were hiring to kidnap a dissident who resides here in the US.

    According to the Reuters article MBS is trying to pin the murder on Qahtani. However it seems unlikely that he would intiate something like that  on his own.

    If the Turks have recordings then maybe they will release them. It seems to me there is some sort of power play going on between the Sauds and the Turks here but I'm not sure of what the angle is.

    The bottom line is Trump has emboldened this type of thing and MBS is going to continue to order the murder of dissidents. Pompeo basically went and kissed the ring of MBS in his visit to the Sauds. All we are hearing from conservatives is we can't do anything because they ordered weapons from us. Maybe we should rethink the policy of selling them weapons.


    Magnitsky Act (none / 0) (#8)
    by smott on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 03:29:09 PM EST
    Needs to be dropped on these azzholes

    Arms deal cancelled.

    Oh wait - need a non-criminal administration for that.

    My bad!

    Anyway (none / 0) (#9)
    by smott on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 03:40:33 PM EST
    Our attention is likely to be consumed by widespread unrest, violence and instability following the mid terms.

    What's going to happen?

    If Dems lose to obvious hacking, there will be widespread protests. Serious protests, who knows how bad, but Trump would delight in dropping Martial Law.

    If somehow Dems win enough to tip the House, the GOP will obviously refuse to concede, and we'll be looking at weeks/months of recounts with GOP using every dirty trick to tilt the balance. Does anybody think this asshole in Goergia would concede?Please. More protests and instability.

    It's going to be bad, possibly REALLY bad, and we'd better get prepared.

    Re this (none / 0) (#10)
    by smott on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 03:51:39 PM EST
    Check out Charles Pierce, and Carl Bernstein who both suggest the GOP will refuse to cede power.

    Our media is completely unprepared for this. It doesn't seem to have crossed their minds.

    What happens if the GOP loses an election and they say "Tough. Whatcha gonna do? "


    Well, (none / 0) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 05:27:54 PM EST
    the media is not completely missing things if Bernstein and Pierce who are part of the media get what might happen but yes, the vast majority is unprepared for something like that happening. We have to work towards and hope that we win so overwhelmingly that there is not enough room for the GOP to cheat.

    Well (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 06:01:44 PM EST
    They are already cheating.  Some of the voter suppression stuff happening right now is pretty unbelievable.

    My vision is a bit less dark than smott

    Trump is already setting the frame to scream voter fraud when dems take the house.  They will take the house IMO

    I'm not sure trump screaming voter fraud will matter much.  He's been doing it since 2016.  This is the upside of having 50 states that all make their own rules and count their own votes.  You might mess with a few but not enough to keep the house.  (I hope).  Anyway it's less likely.

    I have no doubt there will be recounts.

    I am really tired of the new cable news line that dems will take the house but NOT BY VERY MUCH.  

    FYI cable news, the margin in the house doesn't matter much.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#18)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 07:13:25 PM EST
    we have seen it here in GA living large. I mean they are even being brazen about it stopping a bus of African American women going to vote.

    All it takes is enough seats to take the gavel and then get the judiciary committee up and running.


    Nothing motivates people (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 07:38:25 PM EST
    To do something like trying to stop them from doing it.

    You aren't kidding. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 08:58:07 PM EST
    Those women on the bus went home and voted later then took one or more people with them when they went to vote later on.

    GOP idiots here in GA would have been better off just letting the ladies go to a voting place on the darn bus.


    the likes of Chuck Schumer (none / 0) (#27)
    by Chuck0 on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 11:02:10 AM EST
    will shrug, say "we tried" and then go sit in a corner somewhere. The GOP expects the Democrats to roll over and take it because that's their track record with leaders like Pelosi and Schumer.

    Ms. Pelosi is an infinitely more capable leader than the craven and ingratiating Chuck Schumer. She sacrificed her own speakership to get the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, and her statement that "we need to pass Obamacare to see what's in it" -- widely ridiculed at the time -- proved to be entirely prescient in her confidence that the public would eventually warm to and support the ACA once they began to experience its benefits. Current poll numbers showing its growing popularity are indicative of her foresight.

    Pelosi is far and away the tougher of the two Democratic congressional leaders, and she knows how to count votes and hold her caucus together. This campaign season, she has raised enormous sums of money for Democratic candidates across the country, and has further allowed Democrats to do whatever they need to do to get elected, even to the point of publicly distancing themselves from her.

    In my honest opinion, I consider Pelosi to be the most effective Democratic leader on Capitol Hill since the late Tip O'Neill. As of this writing, current polling indicates the strong likelihood that she'll become House Speaker once again next January. But she's already strongly hinted that she sees her forthcoming term in the Speakership as a period of transition, and that she plans to then give way to a new Democratic leader soon thereafter and retire from politics.

    Nancy Pelosi wants to bring her tenure as House Democratic Leader to a close on her own terms. I think she's earned that right.



    I would probably agree (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Oct 24, 2018 at 01:53:16 PM EST
    with most of your assessment of Nancy Pelosi. The problem is she is a lightening rod for hate from the right. Much like Mrs. Clinton was. (Which I never understood.)

    Every single Republican candidate for the House is running against Nancy Pelosi. Half the ads I see on TV don't even identify who the Democratic candidate for office is. It's all Pelosi, all the time.

    Although effective for Democrats, her name brings the right to polls, possibly more the the left.


    Skype (none / 0) (#16)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Oct 22, 2018 at 06:43:21 PM EST
    Top Saudi Aide Coordinated Khashoggi's Killing Via Skype

    A top aide to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman orchestrated the brutal killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi via a Skype call, according to sources cited Monday by Reuters. A high-ranking Arab source told Reuters that after Khashoggi was detained in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, his captors called Saud al-Qahtani via Skype. Qahtani reportedly began yelling insults at Khashoggi, who responded in kind. Eventually, according to a Turkish intelligence source, Qahtani told Khashoggi's captors to "bring me the head of the dog." The recording of the Skype call is reportedly in the hands of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who said Sunday that he would speak more on the investigation during a Tuesday speech.

    Erodagan and Qatar (none / 0) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 07:52:57 AM EST
    Are using this murder to try to crush the Saudi Royal family. It appears the Turks had everything from the git. Following the hit team around, the clothes, the body, they have it all and they let the Saudis lie and then they reveal new evidence every day.

    It just gets worse (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 07:49:21 AM EST
    For liars

    They have the dismembered body

    Oops (none / 0) (#23)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 08:07:39 AM EST
    Looking forward to the explanation

    I hope this is true (none / 0) (#24)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 08:32:13 AM EST
    Hmmm (none / 0) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 08:39:34 AM EST
    Maybe after the Erdogan speech.

    Sky sources: Jamal Khashoggi's body parts found

    It comes after Turkey's president earlier said Mr Khashoggi's body had not been found and demanded Saudi officials reveal its whereabouts

    If Turkey doesn't stop (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 08:42:54 AM EST
    Talking to the press and offering no evidence to anyone this not going any where.

    If they have anything they better show it pretty soon.

    Analysis from (none / 0) (#28)
    by ragebot on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 11:43:22 AM EST

    Basically says Turkey backed the Muslim Brotherhood and when Sisi crushed it in Egypt Erdogan lost big bucks and status as well.

    There seems to be little question Turkey/Erdogan have been slow walking press releases to maximize their impact in order to increase Turkey's status in the ME by embarrassing the KSA and it's friends including the US.

    But the bigger problem as this incident fades is how will Turkey deal with the fact that it seems to have a massive spying operation that most likely includes not only the KSA consulate but other diplomatic posts as well.  Question is a year from now, and on, will anyone trust Turkey in terms of spying on them.


    Bloomberg (none / 0) (#30)
    by ragebot on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 11:49:48 AM EST
    They don't care about us (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 11:45:48 AM EST
    Turkey wants the prince gone, the Muslim Brotherhood wants elections. Turkey and Qatar are using the torture murder of a prominent Saudi to try to force the prince out using internal Sunni outrage.

    This is going down inside Sunni Islam, we are mostly bystanders.


    I just realized (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 23, 2018 at 11:51:00 AM EST
    Based on some Pentagon projections when Obama was President, the Saudi government is imploding on their projected schedule.

    Wonder if Kushner used that to grift a loan out of the House of Saud? Used the projected government unrest? Maybe even spurred it along a little?