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Rep. Waters Statement on the Brutal Murder of Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

November 21, 2018
Press Release

Rep. Waters Statement on the Brutal Murder of Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) issued a statement on Donald Trump’s response to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a United States resident and a native of Saudi Arabia whose death was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.):

“I am horrified by the assassination of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a United States resident and a journalist for the Washington Post, who, according to the C.I.A., was brutally murdered by Saudi agents at the behest of Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia[1]. According to Turkish officials, Jamal Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul,[2] in a manner that is as brutal as anyone can possibly imagine for the murder of a fellow human being.  His murder was also a heinous attack on the freedom of the press, and it should shock every patriotic American to their core.

“Unfortunately, Donald Trump has refused to accept the findings of our nation’s intelligence officials[3], and has disregarded the Turkish government’s audio recordings of the murder[4], which took place on Turkish soil. Instead, this president has once again chosen to protect a foreign dictator, and undermine the credibility and integrity of the United States government.

“Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn or hold Saudi Arabia accountable is absolutely outrageous. From the onset of this tragic episode, Saudi officials have told the Trump administration and the world a changing series of lies to explain Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and death. Initially, they claimed that Mr. Khashoggi had left the Saudi consulate alive and professed to be worried about his fate. Then, they suggested that he might have been killed by rogue agents.  Eventually, they claimed that Saudi agents strangled Mr. Khashoggi during a fistfight inside the consulate and that 18 men had been arrested in the case.[5] However, not only has Trump, at every turn, been reluctant to adequately question or criticize the Saudi government, he is now lying and publicly questioning the CIA’s findings that Prince Salman ordered the attack, stating that they are not ‘definitive’[6] – when in fact they are the most definitive to date.[7] Donald Trump’s pathetic state of denial on behalf of a murderous foreign leader is beneath the dignity of the Office of the President of the United States.

“Donald Trump’s attempts to protect Saudi Arabia are appalling but sadly not surprising.  Trump has extensive business ties to Saudi Arabia.  In 1991, he sold a 282-foot yacht to a Saudi royal billionaire, and in 2001, he sold the 45th floor of the Trump World Tower to the kingdom.  At a campaign rally in 2015, Trump said, ‘Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.’[8]

“Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s decision to ignore the facts and defend an outrageous autocrat such as Crown Prince Salman -- who has even lost the support of several members of the Saudi Royal Family[9] -- is typical for this president. Throughout his presidency, he has stood with and supported Russian President Vladimir Putin, another murderous autocrat, who our intelligence agencies concluded ordered an attack on the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. Trump said he ‘fell in love’ with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un,[10] who ordered the execution of his brother, his uncle, and more than 300 political adversaries since assuming power in 2011.[11] Trump has even said he has a ‘great relationship’ with Rodrigo Duterte, the authoritarian leader of the Philippines, who has been accused of ordering thousands of extrajudicial killings under the guise of a war on drugs.[12]

“How can the president of the United States protect, defend, and be in love with the enemies of our country and our most sacred ideals? Is this patriotism? I don’t think so.”

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