Trump Once Again Accepts Saudi Arabia’s Denials on Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance

“Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia…”

Olivier Douliery/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump continued to repeat the denials of the Saudi Arabian government that it had any involvement in the disappearance and likely murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After speaking with the crown prince Tuesday, the president announced that “answers” would soon be available. 

In his tweet, Trump indicated that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also present for the phone call. Pompeo flew to the kingdom Monday to meet with Saudi officials to discuss the deepening diplomatic crisis.

The president’s apparent eagerness to accept the kingdom’s denial once again comes on the heels of shifting reports, the most recent being that Saudi Arabia is preparing to claim that agents had inadvertently killed Khashoggi during an interrogation gone awry. The possible explanation, which would contradict Turkish officials’ conclusion that the crown prince had directed government agents to kill and dismember Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago, would seemingly absolve the crown prince from implications that he personally ordered the assassination.

It would also support Trump’s unsubstantiated suggestion on Monday that “rogue killers” could be behind Khashoggi’s disappearance. “Who knows?” Trump speculated to reporters. Earlier Tuesday, Trump denied having any financial interests in Saudi Arabia, despite having publicly bragged about millions of dollars in business dealings with the kingdom and records of business connections to Saudi officials.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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