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CNN anchor Jake Tapper shredded President Joe Biden and his administration for determining that the man many believe is responsible for the murder of late Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had immunity under international law.
It is important to state that the president and the administration did not “grant” him immunity but determined he was immune in accordance with international law.
It came at the end of his Sunday show “State of the Union” where he played a video clip of what Biden, as a candidate for president, said of the murder and what he has done.
“In a legal filing Thursday night, the Biden administration sided with this man, even though its own Office of the Director of National Intelligence previously wrote — quote – ‘We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’ — unquote. At issue was a 2020 lawsuit against 37-year-old Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, and 28 others in D.C. Federal District Court, accusing them of — quote – ‘acting in a conspiracy and with premeditation to kidnap, bind, drug, torture, and assassinate’ Jamal Khashoggi, a resident of the U.S., who wrote for The Washington Post at the time,” the anchor said.
“The 2018 murder took place at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi’s body was dismembered with a bone saw, one source told The New York Times. His remains were never found. Now, MBS denies ordering the murder, but then-candidate Joe Biden did not believe him, saying it shocked him to his very soul and would change how he as president would treat the Saudis,” he said before playing the clip.
“Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince, and I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them, we were going to in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are,” Biden said in the video.
“But, as president, Mr. Biden did decide to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia, $650 million worth in 2021, and then, earlier this year, met with and fist-bumped MBS,” the anchor said.
“Biden said he brought up the murderer in their meeting, but it clearly annoyed him when we in the news media focused on this,” he said before playing the clip.
“Why don’t you guys talk about something that matters? I’m happy to answer a question that matters,” the president said.
“This week, the Biden Justice Department says it sided with MBS against the lawsuit because MBS is now prime minister — quote – ‘the sitting head of government and, accordingly, is immune from this suit, per precedent and international law,’” the anchor said.
“But that promotion to prime minister by his father, King Salman, who would normally hold that title, that promotion came last month, just a few days before the Biden administration was supposed to weigh in on this immunity issue,” he said.
“As Fred Ryan, The Washington Post’s publisher and CEO, noted in a statement Friday ‘While legitimate heads of government should be protected against frivolous lawsuits, the Saudis’ decision to make MBS prime minister was a cynical, calculated effort to manipulate the law and shield him from accountability.’
“Ryan says Biden was essentially — quote – ‘granting a license to kill to one of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers, who is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi,’” the anchor said.
“It is worth noting, though the court did invite the Biden administration to weigh in on this issue of immunity, the Biden administration did not have to do so. They could have stayed silent.
“The U.S. has a long and shameful history when it comes to American presidents going along with Saudi human rights abuses because they control so much of the fossil fuels to which our country is so addicted. But there’s only one politician who promised he would be different, who pledged that he would make this thug a pariah, who made his stark morality on this one man such a vivid campaign issue,” he said as he played the clip.
A Biden administration court filing states the office held by Saudi Arabia's crown prince shields him from a lawsuit filed by the fiancée of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi. CNN's @jaketapper questions President Biden's previous pledge to address the killing. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/cPHygn6ZZc
— CNN (@CNN) November 20, 2022
“There’s very little social redeeming value of the — in the present government in Saudi Arabia,” the president said.
“He was not wrong,” the anchor said.
“A few weeks ago, “The Wall Street Journal” reported that MBS ‘mocks President Biden in private, making fun of the 79-year-old’s gaffes and questioning his mental acuity, according to people inside the Saudi government.’
“Nothing gets leaked by the Saudi government to The Wall Street Journal without MBS signing off on it, President Biden. What are you, what are we getting in exchange for letting this thug get away with murder, Mr. President, other than the stink of complicity?” he said.