CNN’s Jake Tapper claimed Friday that former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden share the same position on responding to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, “saving MBS’ ass.”
During Tapper’s broadcast of “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” he was joined by Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and the two discussed the intelligence report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which implicated Bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, in the murder of Khashoggi in October 2018. (RELATED: Turks Claim Audio Recording Proves Khashoggi Was Tortured, Killed And Cut To Pieces In Saudi Consul’s Office)
Tapper began by noting that following the release of the intelligence report, the State Department and Treasury Department placed visa restrictions and sanctions on various Saudi nationals, but not Bin Salman. He then asked Kaine what he thought of MBS “getting away scot-free.”
“MBS still needs to be held accountable for this, because I think the unclassified report released by the State Department shows he was directly implicated, and President Trump knew it,” Kaine responded.
He continued, saying that he appreciates what the Biden administration has been able to do in a short period of time with respect to Saudi Arabia, such as scrapping “arms sales” to them, but that “MBS still needs to be held accountable.”
“I take your point on the larger reset on the relationship with Saudi Arabia, but when it comes to accountability for the guy that was in charge, who ordered the brutal assassination … for the crime of writing a column that said there should be more freedom and democracy in Saudi Arabia, MBS is getting away scot-free. How is that any different from Donald Trump? Joe Biden and Donald Trump have the same position, save MBS’ ass,” Tapper said.
Kaine disagreed with Tapper on equating the positions of Trump and Biden, but added that he was unhappy about the “lack of accountability for MBS.”
The ODNI report stated that Bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi, who has killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. After the release of the report, Saudi Arabia condemned it as “negative, false, and unacceptable.”
The Biden administration did not include Bin Salman in the group of sanctioned Saudi’s because they viewed targeting him as an act that could damage the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the U.S., the New York Times reported.