This particular issue came to a head when Rep. Joaqin Castro brought the subject up on CNN.
There is “reporting that Jared Kushner may have, with U.S. intelligence, delivered a hit list, an enemies list, to the crown prince, to MBS, in Saudi Arabia and that the prince may have acted on that, and one of the people he took action against is Mr. Khashoggi,” Castro said.
Poppy Harlow argued to Castro that CNN has not confirmed such reporting, but the Intercept has.
In late October, Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching some intelligence officials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,” the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported at the time.
What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so.
One of the people MBS told about the discussion with Kushner was UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, according to a source who talks frequently to confidants of the Saudi and Emirati rulers. MBS bragged to the Emirati crown prince and others that Kushner was “in his pocket,” the source told The Intercept.
Part of the reason MBS may have said this to the UAE Crown Prince may have been because both of them were instrumental in arranging a blockade of Qatar which was falsely predicated on claims that they were sponsoring terrorism not long after the Qatari Investment Fund refused to invest in Kushner’s properties in New York City.
Kushner Cos. directly solicited investment from Qatari Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi for its 666 Fifth Avenue luxury tower in April 2017, two sources in the finance industry told The Intercept. No deal came of it.
The following month, Kushner and the White House supported a blockade of Qatar organized by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Due to the crisis, alliances in the region have shifted, with Qatar—which holds the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East—aligning more closely with Iran and Turkey.
It has been argued that part of the reason former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was ousted was because of his many clashes with Kushner, specifically regarding his involvement the Qatar blockade and his opposition to Saudi and UAE plans to invade Qatar.
Thirteen hours before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson learned from the presidential Twitter feed that he was being fired, he did something that President Donald Trump had been unwilling to do. Following a phone call with his British counterpart, Tillerson condemned a deadly nerve agent attack in the U.K., saying that he had “full confidence in the U.K.’s investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible.”
But in the months that followed his departure, press reports strongly suggested that the countries lobbying hardest for Tillerson’s removal were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which were frustrated by Tillerson’s attempts to mediate and end their blockade of Qatar. One report in the New York Times even suggested that the UAE ambassador to Washington knew that Tillerson would be forced out three months before he was fired in March.
The Intercept has learned of a previously unreported episode that stoked the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s anger at Tillerson and that may have played a key role in his removal. In the summer of 2017, several months before the Gulf allies started pushing for his ouster, Tillerson intervened to stop a secret Saudi-led, UAE-backed plan to invade and essentially conquer Qatar, according to one current member of the U.S. intelligence community and two former State Department officials, all of whom declined to be named, citing the sensitivity of the matter.
In the days and weeks after Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed down their land, sea, and air borders with the country, Tillerson made a series of phone calls urging Saudi officials not to take military action against the country. The flurry of calls in June 2017 has been reported, but State Department and press accounts at the time described them as part of a broad-strokes effort to resolve tensions in the Gulf, not as an attempt by Tillerson to avert a Saudi-led military operation.
Castro later released this statement to clarify that he wasn't saying that the "enemies list" definitely included Khashoggi, only that such a possibility and the entire situation is worthy of investigation.
“To be clear, I did not intend to accuse Jared Kushner of orchestrating the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. But based on several press reports, the close relationship between Kushner and Mohammad bin Salman is a source of concern for the U.S. intelligence community and those of us who want a transparent American foreign policy,” said Castro.
“This is especially problematic given the President and his family’s business enterprises and the possibility that they profit from these foreign entities. For these reasons, Congress should open an investigation to see whether Jared or any other Administration official shared any U.S. intelligence with the Saudis that led to any political persecution, including the killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” he continued.
So we don’t yet know if this had anything to do with what ultimately happened to Khashoggi, but it's not beyond reason to ask the question particularly since the person who ran the operation at the Ritz Carlton has been revealed to have been the same person who ran the operation which killed the Washington Post reporter in Istanbul via Skype, Saud Qahtani.
He ran social media for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. He masterminded the arrest of hundreds of his country’s elite. He detained a Lebanese prime minister. And, according to two intelligence sources, he ran journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by giving orders over Skype.
Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is one of the fall guys as Riyadh tries to stem international outrage at Khashoggi’s death. On Saturday, Saudi state media said King Salman had sacked Qahtani and four other officials over the killing carried out by a 15-man hit team.
Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Saudi journalist often critical of Saudi Arabia and its leadership, walked into the Istanbul consulate at around 1 pm on Oct 2, to pick up some documents that would allow him to marry.
Qahtani also made personal calls to Khashoggi to lure him back to Saudi Arabia.
At least three friends of Khashoggi told Reuters that in the months after the journalist moved to Washington a year ago he received multiple phone calls from MbS’s right-hand man urging him to return to Saudi Arabia. Khashoggi had balked, they said, fearing reprisals for his Washington Post columns and outspoken views.
Qahtani had tried to reassure the former newspaper editor that he was still well respected and had offered the journalist a job as a consultant at the royal court, the friends said.
Khashoggi said that while he found Qahtani gentle and polite during those conversations, he did not trust him, one close friend told Reuters. “Jamal told me afterwards, ‘he thinks that I will go back so that he can throw me in jail?”
And Qahtani apparently ran his interrogation at the consulate remotely via Skype.
Turkish security sources say [Khashoggi] was immediately seized inside the consulate by 15 Saudi intelligence operatives who had flown in on two jets just hours before.
According to one high-ranking Arab source with access to intelligence and links to members of Saudi Arabia’s royal court, Qahtani was beamed into a room of the Saudi consulate via Skype.
He began to hurl insults at Khashoggi over the phone. According to the Arab and Turkish sources, Khashoggi answered Qahtani’s insults with his own. But he was no match for the squad, which included top security and intelligence operatives, some with direct links to the royal court.
A Turkish intelligence source relayed that at one point Qahtani told his men to dispose of Khashoggi. “Bring me the head of the dog”, the Turkish intelligence source says Qahtani instructed.
Of course just because four of Crown Prince Mohammed’s entourage and his social media chief Qahtani were involved in the assassination and butchering of a reporter doesn't mean that the Prince knew about it, even though Qahtani has previously been quoted as only “doing as he's told" by the Prince.
“This episode won’t topple MbS, but it has hit his image which will take a long time to be repaired if it ever does. The king is protecting him,” one of the sources with ties to the royal court said.
Qahtani himself once said he would never do anything without his boss’ approval.
“Do you think I make decisions without guidance? I am an employee and a faithful executor of the orders of my lord the king and my lord the faithful crown prince,” Qahtani tweeted last summer.
So yeah, MBS knew nothing about any of this. Nothing. Not a thing. Right.
At any rate, all of this is certainly worthy of being investigated, particularly Jared Kushner’s involvement in all of it
In Russia News, we have a fresh new hacker indictment of someone who was attempting to use social media trolls and fake memes to impact the 2018 mid-term elections.
WASHINGTON — Russians working for a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin are engaging in an elaborate campaign of “information warfare” to interfere with the American midterm elections next month, federal prosecutors said on Friday in unsealing charges against a woman whom they labeled the project’s “chief accountant.”
The woman, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, managed a multimillion-dollar budget for the effort to “sow division and discord” in the American political system, according to a criminal complaint. She bought internet domain names and Facebook and Instagram ads and spent money on building out Twitter accounts and paying to promote divisive posts on social media.
She worked for several entities owned by Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch sometimes known as “Putin’s chef” who was among 13 Russians indicted in February by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, on charges of interfering in the election two years ago.
In response to this Trump has done basically nothing and done a What-about-ism flip to claim Obama had supposedly "doing nothing" in 2016, which is simply put "A LIE”
Obama took several steps starting with having Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnston work directly with states to help secure their election systems, Obama directly confront Putin over it face-to-face, CIA Chief Brennan got on the phone and challenged his counterpart at FSB over it, and the White House got on the Nuclear War Hot Line and warned Russia that there would be "armed conflict" if they didn't shut down their attacks on our election. They also notified Congress about what was happening and also pushing them to make a joint statement to alert the public. Unfortunately, Republicans refused to make the statement and even threatened that if Democrats went public they would accuse them of making up a false claim for partisan purposes.
Also, Senate Republicans haven't stop obstructing our election security, they also shut down the bill that would have spent $250 Million to help further secure our election systems.
Senate Republicans voted down a bid Wednesday to direct an extra $250 million toward election security in advance of the 2018 midterms, despite heightened warnings from intelligence officials that foreign governments will try to interfere in the contests and evidence that some lawmakers have already been targeted.
The 50 to 47 vote fell far short of the needed 60 votes to include the $250 million amendment, proposed by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), in an appropriations package that the Senate was set to approve Wednesday. Only one Republican senator — Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who frequently prioritizes deficit concerns — voted for the additional funds.
So, I'm not really impressed with any of their efforts to fix this.
The other big Russia story is the fact that Trump has announced that he is canceling the INF Nuclear Missile Treaty, which since it was ratified in 1988 normally can’t be ended without the participation of Congress.
No treaty can be ratified without a two-thirds vote in the Senate. And once ratified, a treaty becomes part of the "supreme law of the land" — which should logically mean that it could only be undone by Congress and the President, or at least by a vote of the Senate.
In 2004 George W. Bush ended the ABM Missile Treaty Unilaterally, but then Congress refused to have a vote and when members of the House sued the courts blocked it saying it was a “political matter" not a matter of law.
That leaves this current situation somewhat up in the air, it's possible that the Senate could vote to override Trump decision, or choose to reaffirm his decision or not vote at all as they previously did in 2004 which would allow Trump’s decision to stand by default. It’s also possible that if Trump choses to order for the creation of additional missiles in our Nuclear arsenal that violate the Treaty such as those in the class of the Pershing II, this could be challenged in court as illegal since technically the Treaty still stands until it’s has been de-authorized by the Senate.
The Supreme Court has not yet ruled firmly as to exactly how Treaty obligations can be implemented and enforced within U.S. Law, but this would certainly be an interesting case — at least until it gets to the currupted Kavanaugh court.
In other news, it appears the much of the ridicule that has been heaped on Senator Elizabeth Warren over her DNA test has been grossly misplaced according to a Fact Check performed by the Washington Post.
Warren’s DNA was sequenced and analyzed by a group led by Carlos Bustamante, a well-regarded Stanford University geneticist. Researchers studied a fraction — far less than 1/1000th — of Warren’s DNA, and then compared it to the DNA of 148 people from Finland, Italy, Spain, China, Nigeria and North and South America. Additional comparison was done with 185 individuals from Utah and Great Britain.
As one might expect, the vast majority of Warren’s DNA — 95 percent — indicated European ancestors. But five genetic segments were identified, with 99 percent confidence, as being associated with Native American ancestry. The largest segment identified was on Chromosome 10.
Here’s where the reporting went off course. The report said that Warren had 10 times more Native American ancestry than the reference set from Utah, and 12 times more than the set from Britain. The report also said that the long segment on Chromosome 10 indicated that the DNA came from a relatively recent ancestor.
The most important point is this: The results in Warren’s DNA test are static. The percentage of Native American DNA in her genome does not shrink as you go back generations. There could be one individual in the sixth generation — living around the mid-1800s, which is similar to Warren family lore — or possibly a dozen or more ancestors back to the 10th generation, which would be about 250 years ago. Her results are consistent with a single ancestor, however.
Arguments that Warren has less Native American DNA than the average of 0.18% for European American’s are not true. At 6 Generations— or 1/64 — her percentage of Native American DNA would be 1.56% which is still almost ten times high as the supposed average distribution for a European -American, which is in fact just about what she has, even though DNA isn't evenly split among all ancestors.
Warren’s DNA wasn't compared against that of North American indigenous people or against that of Cherokees because Bustamante didn’t have access to any because that community tends to distrust the use of DNA to determine tribal identity, so this test doesn’t prove that she is part Cherokee, it does however, confirm the family history that she and her brothers describe since it indicates they at least one Native American Ancestor dating back 6 generation to the approximate 1850’s. The test doesn’t indicate more than that, and it doesn’t indicate less than that, her family stories are accurate.
She's never claimed to be part of the Cherokee nation, and the test doesn’t prove that she is.
All of this argument about ancestral integrity I find highly ironic coming from Donald Trump since he and his family have spent decades pretending to be from Sweden when in fact, they are from Germany on Trump’s grandfather’s side.
Trump's repeated attacks on Warren come despite his own family's past efforts to hide their heritage. According to multiple reports from The New York Times
and the Boston Globe
and a biography, Trump's father repeatedly sought to conceal the fact that he was the son of German immigrants.
Fred Trump sought to pass himself off as Swedish amid anti-German sentiment sparked by World War II. According to the biography "The Trumps: Three Generations that Built an Empire" by Gwenda Blair, Fred Trump denied knowing German and did not teach it to his children.
John Walter, a Trump family historian and one of Donald Trump's cousins, said this was an effort to not offend his Jewish customers.
"He said, 'You don't sell apartments after the war if you're German,' " Walter said in the Boston Globe article. "So he's Swedish, no problem."
In his book, "The Art of the Deal," Donald Trump reaffirmed the myth of his family's origins, writing that his father's father came to America "from Sweden as a child."
In reality, Fred Trump's father, Friedrich Trump, immigrated to the United States from the German city of Kallstadt
as a teenager in 1885. Blair writes in her biography that Friedrich Trump went on to establish several saloons and hotels that doubled as brothels.
So yet again we have confirmation that Trump is a liar and Crown Prince Jared is an extortionist scumbag, even if he’s not an accessory for murder.
Here are this week’s daily updates in detail.
October 15th —
October 16th --
October 17th --
October 18th —
Trump calls for Military to close the border and block the new migrant Caravan from Honduras, which won't get to the U.S. for at least a month. Then he claims the entire effort is “Democrat-led” because of course.
Eric Trump artfully dodges the Trump organizations links to Russia and Saudi Arabia on Fox and Friends arguing “we have no investments in those countries” while ignoring that they have taken hundreds of $Millions from buyers and investors from both countries. Then he says that Democrats are the ones who lack civility while his dad is going around calling people “Horse Face.”
Putin says Trump listens to him and wants to repair US-Russia ties.
Pompeo says we need to give the Saudis ‘a few more days’ for Khashoggi investigation.
Don McGhan leaves as WH Counsel after a tense unfriendly final 20-minute meeting.
Trump horse-face-man Matt Gaetz makes the ridiculous claim that George Soros is funding the Honduran migrant caravan to disrupt the mid-term elections and gets smacked down by Soledad O'Brien. [You'd think he’d give them enough for bus fare instead of letting them walk across Central America.] Then he deletes a slanderous tweet which had claimed that Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sen. Feinstein says that she'd be willing to open a new investigation into Kavanaugh [since the last one was botched], and Lindsey Graham explodes over it.
Trump admin asks SCOTUS to halt a climate change case which was filed over the dangers to human life.
Emails reveal that Trump blocked the movement of FBI headquarters in order to benefit the profitability of his DC Hotel.
Georgia SecState Brian Kemp gets busted for producing an “instructional” video showing a white person being allowed to vote while a black person can't.
Meghan McCain goes after Sen. Klobuchar asking if Democrats “misplayed their hand" with Kavanaugh and she blasts back that this "wasn't a hand to be played, [Dr. Ford] came forward” and that his behavior would have had him kicked out of court and held in contempt.
CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski reports that Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) mocked a woman who said she was traumatized by sexual harassment: ‘Come on! She wasn’t raped!’.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) tells CNN that it had Jared Kushner may have provided a “kill list” of political opponents to Crown Prince MBS including Jamal Khashoggi using classified U.S. Intel because MBS had bragged about this several months ago as reported by the Daily Mail.
Eric Trump says the US government doesn't need to stand up to ‘our friends’ the Saudis because ‘CEOs are punishing them’.
Some suburban white men are rebelling against their Trump-loving peers — even if it means they lose friends.
Manafort shows up in court in a wheelchair as the Judge agrees to drop some charges. Reports are that he is suffering diet-related inflammation affecting his right foot [Which sounds like Gout and can be fixed by adding cherries to his diet.] His sentencing is set for Feb 8th.
St. Petersburg Russian national Elena Alekaseevna Khusyaynov is indicted by the Eastern District of New York for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. using social media bots intended to impact the 2018 Mid-term elections while pushing Racists, and Culture War memes intended to aid Republicans. [So it's not just Trump they’re trying to to help]
Reports are that Mueller is zeroing in on Roger Stone for his contacts with Wikileaks having interviewed several of his aides and confidants and issuing a subpoena for his phone records.
The new 4,000 member migrant caravan reaches the southern Mexico border and after some initial chaos begin to be processed for aslyum and entry., some chose to cross the river without documents, but most wait patiently for their turn.
Trump responds to the new hacker indictment — which is current and was meant to impact the 2018 mid-terms -- by blaming Obama for ‘not spending a dime’ to stop it, even though it was Senate Republicans who in August killed the funding bill for election security that had been promoted by Democrats, and Trump had never complained about it.
Jake Tapper says Trump's reaction to the arrest of Kusyaynova for 2018 hacking is strange "My campaign had nothing to do with it” because nobody said that it did since he's not running for anything right now.
Suzanne Israel Tufts who was hired to oversee investigations into the Interior Department and Secretary Ryan Zinke abruptly resigns.
The Saudis claim that Khashoggi was killed by a choke-hold during a fistfight that started up after an argument. 18 people are detained including an interrogator with direct links to MBS. Pretty much everyone including Turkish officials claim this is bullshit because they have Khashoggi's audio recording, and perhaps also some video surveillance from inside the consulate. Trump says this BS story is "plausible".
Putin claims the U.S. has a “certain responsibility” for Khashoggi.
Trump threatens to call the military to CLOSE OUR BORDER as the migrant caravan approaches Mexico, even though the military isn’t law enforcement and are prohibited from functioning on U.S. soil by Posse Comitatus. [Yet another little gift from the post-Civil War era.]
WaPo factchecks the Warren DNA tests and finds that what it really says is that she had at least one Native American Ancestor going back 6 generations [which is consistent with her family’s stories] and as many as 12 Native American ancestors going back 10 generations. The test was done comparing against Mexican, Central and South American examples because U.S. Native Americans don’t allow the DNA to be used for such testing purposes. Genetic traits aren’t passed down in a even split from all possible donors so Warren actually has 10 times the amount of Native indigenous DNA in chromosone 10, which indicates it came from a relatively recent ancestor, than the samples of Americans from Utah.
Former House Rep and current Fox News Shill Jason Chaffetz takes a picture next to a wooden Indian at Disneyland and calls it “Elizabeth Warren” because he’s a dickhead.
John Kelly and Bolton get into a explecitive filled shouting match outside the oval office over Kristjen Neilsen. Bolton yells she should “do her job” on border security while Kelly defended her. Trump sided with Bolton, but later claims he “hadn’t heard about it.” [Try opening your door some time.]
Trump claims “consequences will be severe” if the Saudi’s killed Khashoggi. [They did and they won’t be.]
October 19th —
October 20th —
October 21st —
October 22nd —
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