In a 60 Minutes interview, Trump discussed the missing Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, with Lesley Stahl. Trump’s previous statements on Khashoggi’s disappearance had drawn the ire of members of Congress and the public on a bipartisan level, and he didn’t seem to be backing down off of those statements much during the interview.
"There will be severe punishment." In his first 60 Minutes interview since taking office, President Trump tells Lesley Stahl that if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death, there will be consequences. https://t.co/BRZfIPHbNY pic.twitter.com/s6X98AylBR
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 13, 2018
The disappearance of Khashoggi has, many believe, already been exposed as a state-sanctioned murder by the Saudi Arabian government.
Reuters reports that:
‘Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. Saudi officials say he left shortly afterwards but Turkish officials and his fiancée, who was waiting outside, said he never came out.
‘Turkish sources have told Reuters the initial assessment of the police was that Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, had been deliberately killed inside the consulate. Riyadh has dismissed the claims.’
During the interview, Stahl questioned Trump about sanctioning Saudi Arabia, a government that has been very friendly to Trump and whose prince struck up a friendship with Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Trump previously said he did not want to sanction the country should it be discovered that they had murdered the journalist, but Trump used some mild “strong language” during the interview.
‘It’s being investigated. It’s been looked at very, very strongly. And we would be very upset and angry if that were the case.’
“Upset and angry,” however, does not seem to mean much. Trump said previously that he was unwilling to give up Saudi money spent in the United States, especially considering that Khashoggi is not an American citizen, just a permanent resident. He repeated to Stahl his hesitance in reacting too strongly regarding sanctions.
‘They are ordering military equipment. Everybody in the world wanted that order. Russia wanted it. China wanted it. We got it. We got all of it. Every bit of it…Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon…I don’t wanna hurt jobs.’
Emoluments for dummies:
Candidate Trump: “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million …
I like them very much.”
President Trump on Saudis suspected murder of Khashoggi: “We’re going to have to see.”
U.S. v $ https://t.co/HA9NRwHw0n
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) October 12, 2018
In case that wasn’t clear, the president of the United States is telling governments who commit grave human rights abuses that the U.S. can be bought, and so can he. Trump has said previously that he “likes the Saudis very, very much” because of all the money they spend at his businesses.
This is a prime example of why the emoluments clause is so important.
Growing criticism to the Trump administration’s handling of Khashoggi’s disappearance has centered not only around Trump himself, but his family. The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, bragged publicly that Kushner had provided him with an “enemies” list during a meeting. Speculation is growing that Khashoggi’s name may have been on that list.
We must know if Jamal #Khashoggi's name was on the list @jaredkushner gave to MBS of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi crown prince bragged that Jared Kushner gave him CIA intelligence about other Saudis saying 'here are your enemies'… https://t.co/8v5mnxFSUm
— Alt. U.S. Press Sec. (@AltUSPressSec) October 12, 2018
Additionally, Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., has unexplainedly been working to paint Khashoggi as a terrorist sympathizer on Twitter, even retweeting a story that showed Khashoggi “tooling around” with Osama bin Laden.
The article retweeted by Junior left out a lot of details, such as the fact that it’s an article from 1988, when the United States under George H.W. Bush was funding bin Laden in exchange for helping the U.S. in the fight against terror. It would be 13 more years before September 11, 2001, when the government found out just how wrong they had been to trust bin Laden.
Featured image screenshot via YouTube