The New York Times reported Thursday that the Saudis are considering blaming a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—or MBS—for the killing of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The Times says the Saudis are claiming General Ahmed al-Assiri killed Khashoggi after MBS ordered him to capture the journalist for an interrogation. Al-Assiri previously served as the spokesman for the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Turkish officials say Khashoggi was tortured and murdered by a squad of 15 Saudi hit men shortly after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Video and audio recordings from inside the consulate reportedly show Khashoggi was beaten, tortured and beheaded, with his fingers cut off and his body dismembered. Four of the men implicated in Khashoggi’s death are reportedly linked to MBS’s security detail.
After weeks of defending Saudi Arabia, President Trump said Thursday that he believes Khashoggi is dead, and acknowledged allegations against the Saudis.
Reporter: “Do you believe Jamal Khashoggi is dead?
President Donald Trump: “It certainly looks that way to me. It’s very sad. It certainly looks that way.”
Reporter: “What are you considering for possible consequences for Saudi, based on those—”
President Donald Trump: “Well, it’ll have to be very severe. I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff. But we’ll see what happens.”
The New York Times reports that Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has advised Trump to defend the crown prince despite mounting evidence against Saudi Arabia. The United States received a $100 million payment from Saudi Arabia Tuesday, the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Mohammed bin Salman and his father King Salman in Saudi Arabia. One U.S. official said, “The timing of this is no coincidence.”
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he will not attend the upcoming Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia. Others who have pulled out of the event include the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, top executives from JPMorgan Chase, Uber, Ford, BlackRock, Blackstone Group and The New York Times, and every other major Western news media organization. Meanwhile, it is believed that there was a car accident in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and one of the 15 hit men was killed. We’ll have more on the latest in the Jamal Khashoggi case after headlines.
Meanwhile, at a rally in Montana Thursday, President Trump praised Montana Congressmember Greg Gianforte for physically assaulting a reporter.
President Donald Trump: “Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand that? Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of—he’s my guy.”
Last year, Gianforte body-slammed The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, after he asked Gianforte a question about the Republicans’ healthcare proposal. This is audio Jacobs captured of the attack.
Greg Gianforte: “We’ll talk to you about that later.”
Ben Jacobs: “Yeah, but there’s not going to be time. I was just curious if you have the act right now.”
Greg Gianforte: “OK, speak with Shane, please. Just—I’m sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here, you did the same thing! Get the hell out of here!”
Ben Jacobs: “Jesus!”
Greg Gianforte: “Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. You with The Guardian?”
Ben Jacobs: “Yes! And you just broke my glasses.”
Greg Gianforte: “You—the last guy did the same damn thing.”
Ben Jacobs: “You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.”
Greg Gianforte: “Get the hell out of here!”
Ben Jacobs: “You’d like me to get out of here. I’d also like to call the police.”
Gianforte was elected to Congress, but he ultimately pleaded guilty to assaulting Jacobs. After Trump praised Gianforte at the rally Thursday night, The Guardian US editor John Mulholland said, “In the aftermath of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it runs the risk of inviting other assaults on journalists both here and across the world where they often face far greater threats. We hope decent people will denounce these comments and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”
During the rally, Trump again attacked Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren over her recent DNA test claiming her Native American ancestry.
President Donald Trump: “You know, the one good thing about her test is that there was so little, she had less than the average American. I used to say, I have more Indian blood in me than she does, and I have none. I used to say that.”
To see our full coverage of Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test, click here.
A new investigation by WNYC and ProPublica reveals the Trump family regularly engaged in “patterns of deceptive practices” in their real estate deals around the world. The report finds President Trump and his daughter Ivanka regularly misled investors and buyers by inflating property sales numbers, giving a false sense of the viability of the projects. This comes as the Trump name was removed from another New York City building on Thursday after residents complained of security risks and reduced property values associated with the name.
Back in Washington, D.C., newly released official emails show President Trump was more involved than previously thought in preventing the planned move of FBI headquarters out of Washington to the D.C. suburbs. Many speculate that the move was designed to benefit Trump’s namesake hotel, which is located one block away from the FBI’s current headquarters. The Trump Hotel has been the subject of a high-profile lawsuit charging that Trump profits from the hotel and that foreign dignitaries may choose to stay there to curry favor with the president—a possible violation of emoluments clauses in the Constitution.
In immigration news, a migrant caravan of about 4,000 Hondurans is continuing its journey toward the U.S. border, as the migrants flee rampant violence and economic deprivation. Trump has lashed out against the caravan on Twitter, attacking at turns Democrats, his Central American counterparts and the migrants. Trump has also threatened to cut foreign aid to Central American countries, nullify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal if Mexico doesn’t stop the migrants, and even deploy troops to “close” the border. The United States faced widespread criticism last year for backing the re-election of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández despite allegations of widespread election fraud.
In Brazil, the far-right front-running presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is being accused of profiting from a misinformation campaign smearing his opponent Fernando Haddad. Haddad’s leftist Workers’ Party is calling for an investigation into the campaign allegedly funded by pro-Bolsonaro entrepreneurs, using the popular social networking platform WhatsApp. Meanwhile, a campaign video released by Haddad is drawing attention to the link between Bolsonaro and President Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Narrator: “Steve Bannon is accused of sabotaging democratic regimes around the world. He uses fake news to spread fear and violence to win elections. … Bannon is a specialist in spreading terror around the world. Bolsonaro has spent the last 30 years doing this in Brazil.”
Haddad and Bolsonaro are set to face off in the final round of Brazil’s elections on October 28.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban is claiming responsibility for an attack that killed top Afghan General Abdul Raziq along with a top intelligence chief, in the southern province of Kandahar. Top U.S. General Scott Miller was also a target of the attack but survived uninjured. General Raziq was seen by U.S. forces as essential in maintaining a level of stability in Kandahar. Raziq has also been accused of corruption, drug smuggling and major human rights abuses including killings and torture. The killings have prompted the delay of an upcoming parliamentary vote in Kandahar.
Israel’s Supreme Court has overturned U.S. student Lara Alqasem’s deportation order, granting her the right to stay and study in Israel. Alqasem, who is of Palestinian descent, was held at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport for over two weeks after arriving in the country to start a master’s program. Israel said it had initially denied her entry over her past support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement—an international Palestinian solidarity campaign. In 2017, Israel passed a law denying entry to foreign nationals who support any kind of boycott against the country.
The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania involved in the cover-up of widespread systematic child sexual abuse among its clergy—the first statewide federal investigation of its kind. The Justice Department is also investigating the diocese in Buffalo, New York.
The New York Times is reporting that a prominent former doctor at the Rockefeller University Hospital likely sexually abused many of his former patients, mostly young and teenage boys who sought treatment for growth problems. Dr. Reginald Archibald worked at the hospital from the 1940s to 1980, during which time he reportedly forced patients to masturbate in front of him, touched them in a sexual manner and took pictures of them naked. He died in 2007.
Meanwhile, in California, 93 more women have accused University of Southern California gynecologist Dr. George Tyndall of sexual abuse, bringing the number of his accusers to over 400. Survivors say Dr. Tyndall raped or forcibly touched them, and made racist and misogynistic comments while he sexually abused them.
In Florida, three former police officers pleaded guilty in connection with the framing of innocent black men in Biscayne Park. The officers admitted to making false arrests as part of a scheme orchestrated by former Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano to benefit his department’s crimes record. Atesiano pleaded guilty last month to depriving three innocent black men of their civil rights by framing them.
A white man who shot three black men as they were evacuating Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans has pleaded guilty to a hate crime— admitting he shot the men because of their race. Roland Bourgeois reportedly told his neighbor, “Anything coming up this street darker than a brown paper bag is getting shot.” The case is one of several high-profile, racism-fueled crimes that took place in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane. In 2016, four former New Orleans police officers pleaded guilty to shooting six unarmed black civilians on the Danziger Bridge days after Hurricane Katrina, killing two and wounding the four others.
And in Dallas, Texas, two pipeline protesters were arrested Thursday after disrupting an Energy Transfer Partners shareholder meeting. Indigenous rights activists Waniya Locke and Cherri Foytlin face disorderly conduct charges after interrupting speakers at a meeting about the 163-mile Bayou Bridge pipeline. Foytlin recorded the protest on Facebook Live.
Cherri Foytlin: “They have injured children. They have caused issues. And I know—I know that they’re going to act like—they’re going to act like they’re the innocent ones, but they’re not. They’re not.”
Waniya Locke: “They are contaminating 2 million people’s drinking water every single day.”
Cherri Foytlin: “They’re not innocent. And you don’t get to do this. You don’t get to continue to bother people and injure people and hurt people. You don’t get to do that, right? Just because you’re rich.”
Foytlin appears to be tackled as she continues to speak. Dozens of protesters also gathered outside of the hotel to protest Energy Transfer Partners and its CEO Kelcy Warren.