Saturday, February 9, 2019

Meat The Press, Con't

The Trump regime's cover-up of the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is now in violation of US law as the regime is refusing to comply with the Magnitsky Act.

President Trump refused to provide Congress a report on Friday determining who killed the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, defying a demand by lawmakers intent on establishing whether the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was behind the grisly assassination.

Mr. Trump effectively bypassed a deadline set by law as his administration argued that Congress could not impose its will on the president. Critics charged that he was seeking to cover up Saudi complicity in the death of Mr. Khashoggi, an American resident and a columnist for The Washington Post.

“Consistent with the previous administration’s position and the constitutional separation of powers, the president maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate,” the Trump administration said in a statement. The statement said the administration had taken action against the killers and would consult with Congress.

But Democrats said Mr. Trump was violating a law known as the Magnitsky Act. It required him to respond 120 days after a request submitted in the fall by committee leaders — including Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and then the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — a period that expired Friday.

“The law is clear,” said Juan Pachón, a spokesman for Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking Democrat on the committee. “It requires a determination and report in response to the letter we sent with Corker. The president has no discretion here. He’s either complying with the law or breaking it.”

The Trump administration imposed sanctions in November against 17 Saudis accused of being involved in the killing, but has refused to blame Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a key ally and the country’s de facto ruler, despite a C.I.A. conclusion that the crown prince ordered it.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent letters to the committee leaders describing actions taken against individuals without offering the determination of who was responsible as demanded by the lawmakers.

“I anticipate a more detailed briefing from the administration on this issue and look forward to working with them and the members of my committee in our ongoing effort to address the killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” said Senator Jim Risch, Republican of Idaho, who succeeded Mr. Corker as chairman.

Don't hold your breath.

Mitch McConnell of course won't allow the Senate to lift a finger on this. We'll only get Trump regime compliance when they've mutually decided along with the Saudis whose head will roll in place of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan, and not a day before that. 

Of course, it's taken more than four months to decide on "the person or persons responsible for this rogue operation" so far, because evidence keeps popping up that MbS did it, mainly because MbS is the person who ordered Khashoggi's death by bone saw.

Besides, the Saudis almost certainly had US help, and on top of all that, Jared Kushner has deep financial ties to the Crown Prince, and Riyadh is making it very clear that if MbS goes down, the Saudis will take Kushner and Trump down with them.

So, this awful status quo will continue.  Republicans certainly won't allow anything to happen to Trump or Kushner for refusing, and the Saudi ggovernment absolutely won't let anything happen to MbS, so really there's no point in a Magnitsky Act, is there?

I'm sure Putin will be happy to hear that last part.

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