Turkish officials are providing details of the alleged murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and none of the details makes what happened seem any less than monstrous. While Trump continues to cover for the Saudis, the news about their actions is literally sickening enough that it comes with this warning: If you’re not ready for gruesome details, stop reading now.
As reported by the New York Times, the interrogation of Khashoggi was not a lengthy affair. In fact, it wasn’t really an interrogation at all. Not unless this represents questioning.
A team of 15 Saudi agents, some with ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was waiting for Mr. Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate the moment he arrived, at about 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 2.
After he was shown into the office of the Saudi consul, Mohammad al-Otaibi, the agents seized Mr. Khashoggi almost immediately and began to beat and torture him, eventually cutting off his fingers, the senior Turkish official said.
They cut off his fingers. Then beheaded him and dismembered his body. And “it was all over in a few minutes.” The details of what happened to Khashoggi were released by Turkish officials as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting Turkey.
Trump continues to insist that he’s unwilling to take any action against Saudi Arabia. In an interview on Tuesday with the Associated Press, Trump insisted that the Saudis were innocent until proven guilty, comparing them to Brett Kavanaugh. On Fox News, Trump repeatedly declared that America “needs” Saudi Arabia, before tumbling into a loop about the evils of Iran, and making outlandish claims about the number of jobs dependent on Saudi arms deals. Trump then tries to reframe the “rogue killers” idea to suggest that even if some Saudi guys did happen to fly to Istanbul, wander into the consulate, and slice up a journalist with a bone saw they just happened to have on hand, it’s all good if crown prince Mohammed bin Salman can claim ignorance.
Trump: I hope that the king and the crown prince didn’t know about it, that’s a big factor in my eyes, and I hope they haven’t uh Mike uh Pompeo just left, as you know went to Turkey, and he’s coming back. We’ll find out.
But as the Times also reports, even by that miserable standard, there’s a problem.
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