Trump: This rush to judgment on Saudi Arabia is just like the Kavanaugh hearing

I kind of get where he’s going with this but it seems like a bad idea to connect your recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice to a probably murder by a tyrant. From the Associated Press:

In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi, who Turkish officials have said was murdered in the Saudis’ Istanbul consulate, to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.

“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”

Here’s the obvious difference with regard to guilt and innocence. Dr. Ford’s claims lacked any contemporaneous corroboration, which left room for skepticism. The same was true of Kavanaugh’s other accusers. But when it comes to Khashoggi, we have a Saudi team entering the country on video, including one guy who reportedly brought along a bone saw. We also, of course, have the fact that Khashoggi has vanished as evidence that something bad has happened to him.

As Ed pointed out earlier today, there were multiple stories yesterday suggesting Saudi Arabia was prepared to claim he had died in an interrogation gone wrong. The latest development, reported a short time ago by the NY Times, is that one of the suspects that was part of the Saudi team has connections to the crown prince:

One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — seen disembarking from airplanes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during his visits this year to Houston, Boston and the United Nations.

Three others are linked by witnesses and other records to the Saudi crown prince’s security detail.

A fifth is a forensic doctor who holds senior positions in the Saudi Interior Ministry and medical establishment, a figure of such stature that he could be directed only by a high-ranking Saudi authority.

If you visit the Times’ story you’ll see a photo of one of the suspects standing near MBS. Again, Dr. Ford didn’t have photos putting people in the same room together. Here’s Jake Tapper summing up the case for murder (skip about 30 seconds in):

Bottom line, I support the principle Trump is referring to in his comments. Evidence first, verdict later is the only way to run a justice system or a foreign policy. But in this case, the evidence offered is of such vastly different quality that the comparison of the two just seems tone deaf.

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David Strom 6:31 PM on October 05, 2022