Turkey, Saudis Spar Over Missing Journalist Probe as U.S. Eases Pressure

But Mr. Pompeo stressed the existence of “lots of important relationships” between the U.S. and Saudi governments and businesses in both countries, particularly on countering Iran.

We just need to make sure that we are mindful of that as we approach decisions that the United States government will take when we learn all of the facts associated with whatever may have taken place,” he said.

He also praised Saudi Arabia as a “very important ally” who had been vital to the U.S. efforts to counter Iran in the Middle East. He also said the country is a “tremendous purchaser of not only military equipment but also other things” from the U.S.

Mr. Trump said he would receive a “full report” from Mr. Pompeo once he returns from his trip. He also said he expects results of results of an investigation by the end of the week, and said he wants any audio recording that may represent evidence in Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance “if it exists.”

Turkish officials have an audio recording proving that Mr. Khashoggi was beaten, drugged, killed and dismembered by operatives inside the office of the Saudi consul in Istanbul, minutes after walking into the consulate, say people familiar with the matter.

.. Ankara wished to extend its search of Saudi diplomatic buildings in Istanbul to Mr. al-Otaibi’s residence, but had yet to receive authorization from Riyadh.

Turkish inspectors, who spent nine hours searching the consulate building for clues earlier this week, were ready to inspect the residence Tuesday, the minister said. But Saudi officials refused because the consul general’s family was still inside, he said.

.. Saudi Arabia didn’t authorize the inspection because the kingdom’s authorities were upset after learning that Turkish officials had leaked the evidence of their involvement in Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance to the media, a person familiar with the matter said.

.. The secretary told reporters at King Salman Air Base that he was reassured by Saudi Arabia’s promises to carry out a thorough and transparent investigation.
“That was the purpose of the visit—in that sense, it was incredibly successful,” he said. “We received commitments they would complete this and I’m counting on them to do that.”
.. Mr. Pompeo’s trip was the latest sign that the U.S. is rowing back pressure on Saudi Arabia over the incident. President Trump initially threatened the kingdom with reprisals if proof emerged of Riyadh’s involvement in Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance.
.. But Tuesday, Mr. Trump resisted calls to cut back U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, saying the $100 billion in U.S.-Saudi arms deals are important to American companies and workers.

On Monday, Saudi authorities weighed whether to declare that unauthorized operatives killed Mr. Khashoggi during a botched interrogation, in a bid to defuse growing diplomatic pressure on the kingdom, according to people familiar with the situation. It isn’t known whether they are still considering that.

If a Prince Murders a Journalist, That’s Not a Hiccup

Frankly, it’s a disgrace that Trump administration officials and American business tycoons enabled and applauded M.B.S. as he

  • imprisoned business executives,
  • kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister,
  • rashly created a crisis with Qatar, and
  • went to war in Yemen to create what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis there.

Some eight million Yemenis on the edge of starvation there don’t share this bizarre view that M.B.S. is a magnificent reformer.

.. Trump has expressed “great confidence” in M.B.S. and said that he and King Salman “know exactly what they are doing.” Jared Kushner wooed M.B.S. and built a close relationship with him — communicating privately without involving State Department experts — in ways that certainly assisted M.B.S. in his bid to consolidate power for himself.

The bipartisan cheers from Washington, Silicon Valley and Wall Street fed his recklessness. If he could be feted after kidnapping a Lebanese prime minister and slaughtering Yemeni children, why expect a fuss for murdering a mere journalist?

.. M.B.S. knows how to push Americans’ buttons, speaking about reform and playing us like a fiddle. His willingness to sound accepting of Israel may also be one reason Trump and so many Americans were willing to embrace M.B.S. even as he was out of control at home.

In the end, M.B.S. played Kushner, Trump and his other American acolytes for suckers. The White House boasted about $110 billion in arms sales, but nothing close to that came through. Saudi Arabia backed away from Trump’s Middle East peace deal. Financiers salivated over an initial public offering for Aramco, the state-owned oil company, but that keeps getting delayed.

.. The crackdown on corruption is an example of M.B.S.’s manipulation and hypocrisy. It sounded great, but M.B.S. himself has purchased a $300 million castle in France, and a $500 million yacht — and he didn’t buy them by scrimping on his government salary.

.. In fairness, he did allow women to drive. But he also imprisoned the women’s rights activists who had been campaigning for the right to drive.

Saudi Arabia even orchestrated the detention abroad of a women’s rights activist, Loujain al-Hathloul, and her return in handcuffs. She turned 29 in a Saudi jail cell in July, and her marriage has ended. She, and not the prince who imprisons her, is the heroic reformer.

.. The crown prince showed his sensitivity and unpredictability in August when Canada’s foreign ministry tweeted concern about the jailing of Saudi women’s rights activistsSaudi Arabia went nuts, canceling flights, telling 8,300 Saudi students to leave Canada, expelling the Canadian ambassador and withdrawing investments. All for a tweet.

.. Western companies should back out of M.B.S.’s Future Investment Initiative conference later this month. That includes you,

  • Mastercard,
  • McKinsey,
  • Credit Suisse,
  • Siemens,
  • HSBC,
  • BCG,
  • EY,
  • Bain and
  • Deloitte,

all listed on the conference website as partners of the event.

.. We need an international investigation, perhaps overseen by the United Nations, of what happened to Jamal. In the United States, we also must investigate whether Saudis bought influence with spending that benefited the Trump family, such as $270,000 spent as of early 2017 by a lobbying firm for Saudi Arabia at the Trump hotel in Washington. The Washington Post reported that Saudi bookings at Trump Chicago increased 169 percent from the first half of 2016 to the first half of this year, and that the general manager of a Trump hotel in New York told investors that revenues rose partly because of “a last-minute visit to New York by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.”

.. If Saudi Arabia cannot show that Jamal is safe and sound, NATO countries should jointly expel Saudi ambassadors and suspend weapons sales. The United States should start an investigation under the Magnitsky Act and stand ready to impose sanctions on officials up to M.B.S.

America can also make clear to the Saudi royal family that it should find a new crown prince. A mad prince who murders a journalist, kidnaps a prime minister and starves millions of children should never be celebrated at state dinners, but instead belongs in a prison cell.

Nation’s Criminals Ask for F.B.I. Investigation Kavanaugh Just Got

In the latest controversy to envelop the Supreme Court nominee, criminals across the United States are demanding that their cases receive the kind of F.B.I. investigation that Brett Kavanaugh just got.

From coast to coast, perpetrators of crimes ranging from arson to bank robbery are arguing that, if the F.B.I. investigates them at all, such investigations should be extremely limited in scope.

Harland Dorrinson, a criminal lawyer in Cleveland, said that his clients have followed the Kavanaugh probe “with great interest” and see it as “tailor-made” for the crimes for which they stand accused.

My clients are asking that the F.B.I. investigate them for no more than five days and only talk to the witnesses I designate,” Dorrinson said. “We think this could be a huge time saver for everybody.”

One of his clients, Denton Faldo, currently faces twenty criminal counts of cooking and selling meth, but wants the F.B.I. to investigate only an unrelated speeding violation.

“It’s important that the F.B.I. wrap up this investigation by Friday and release me from jail in time for the weekend,” Faldo said. “A man’s life is in tatters.”

.. The Republicans, if they stick together, have the necessary votes. A veneer of civility made it seem as if the senators were questioning Ford and Kavanaugh to get to the truth

.. But that’s not what the hearing was designed to explore

.. it should be as plain as day that what we witnessed was the patriarchy testing how far its politics of resentment can go. And there is no limit.

.. “Why suffer through the annihilation if it’s not going to matter?” Ford had told the Washington Post when she first went public

.. With the word “annihilation” she conjured the spectre of Anita Hill

.. Ford’s experience—shaped by the optics of the #MeToo moment, by her whiteness and country-club roots—was different. The Republicans on the committee, likely coached by some consultant, did not overtly smear Ford.

Some pretended, condescendingly, to extend her empathy. Senator Orrin Hatch, who once claimed that Hill had lifted parts of her harassment allegations against Thomas from “The Exorcist,” called Ford “pleasing,” an “attractive” witness.

.. Instead of questioning her directly, the Republicans hired Rachel Mitchell,

Mitchell’s fitful, sometimes aimless questioning did the ugly work of softening the Republican assault on Ford’s testimony. Ford, in any case, was phenomenal, a “witness and expert” in one, and it seemed, for a moment following her testimony, that the nation might be unable to deny her credibility.

.. Then Kavanaugh came in, like an eclipse. He made a show of being unprepared. Echoing Clarence Thomas, he claimed that he did not watch his accuser’s hearing. (Earlier, it was reported that he did.) “I wrote this last night,” he said, of his opening statement. “No one has seen this draft.”

.. Alternating between weeping and yelling, he exemplified the conservative’s embrace of bluster and petulance as rhetorical tools.

.. spinning unbelievably chaste interpretations of what was, by all other accounts, his youthful habit of blatant debauchery

.. he was as Trumpian as Trump himself, louder than the loudest on Fox News. He evaded questions; he said that the allegations brought against him were “revenge” on behalf of the Clintons; he said, menacingly, that “what goes around comes around.” When Senator Amy Klobuchar calmly asked if he had ever gotten blackout drunk, he retorted, “Have you?” (He later apologized to her.)

.. There was, in this performance, not even a hint of the sagacity one expects from a potential Supreme Court Justice.

.. More than presenting a convincing rebuttal to Ford’s extremely credible account, Kavanaugh—and Hatch, and Lindsey Graham—seemed to be exterminating, live, for an American audience, the faint notion that a massively successful white man could have his birthright questioned or his character held to the most basic type of scrutiny.

In the course of Kavanaugh’s hearing, Mitchell basically disappeared. Republican senators apologized to the judge, incessantly, for what he had suffered. There was talk of his reputation being torpedoed and his life being destroyed. This is the nature of the conspiracy against white male power—the forces threatening it will always somehow be thwarted at the last minute.

.. The Ford-Kavanaugh hearing will be remembered for their entrenchment of the worst impulses from that earlier ordeal. What took place on Thursday confirms that male indignation will be coddled, and the gospel of male success elevated. It confirms that there is no fair arena for women’s speech. Mechanisms of accountability will be made irrelevant.

A High-Stakes Hearing Raises Two Voices, One Quiet, One Loud

Judge Kavanaugh, accompanied by his wife, was as aggressive and aggrieved as Dr. Blasey was reticent. Reading a new statement, not shared in advance, he called the proceedings “a national disgrace.” He raged; he barked. His eyebrows arched, his features twisted, his plosives smacked against the microphone. He fought off tears, exhaling hard and taking steadying drinks of water.

Call this a generalization — it surely is — but the two statements could not be a clearer contrast in how men and women are socialized and pressured to speak in public. One gender is rewarded for being furious, the other for not being “shrill”; one for hot emotion, the other for warm. (The first time Judge Kavanaugh’s voice broke, he was describing his daughter saying that they should “pray for the woman,” Dr. Blasey.)

.. Republican senators — taking the reins back from Ms. Mitchell after she opened a line of questioning into their nominee — railed at the Democratic push against him. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican — who told cameras during the break that he felt “ambushed” by Dr. Blasey’s testimony — thundered that this was “the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics.”

.. The Democrats — several of them potential presidential candidates in 2020 — pushed the judge on his willingness to accept an F.B.I. investigation (with some detours into the meaning of slang like “ralph” and “boofed” in his high school yearbook).

.. Chris Wallace, on the conservative redoubt Fox News, said that the news story had led two of his daughters to tell him “stories that I have never heard before about things that happened to them in high school.”

.. Mr. Kavanaugh’s future as a nominee depends on one avid TV watcher, President Trump, who was reportedly disappointed that Mr. Kavanaugh didn’t swing hard enough in his numb, repetitive interview on Fox News Monday.

Mr. Kavanaugh’s fury, however deeply felt, may well have been voiced for the benefit of the Cable News Watcher in Chief (moments after the hearing, cable news excitedly reported that the president had tweeted his support).