On fake investigations: From Kavanaugh to MBS


Activists dressed as Saudi Crown Prince MBS and President Trump seen during a demonstration to protest the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington, US October 19, 2018 PHOTO/Leah Millis/Reuters

With the help of the Trump administration, the Saudi regime is trying to sell us a brand new fake investigation.

In the age of “fake news” and “alternative facts” you, of course, have “fake investigations”, too – the sort that FBI did on Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct allegations and now the sort Donald Trump tells us Mohammed bin Salman is doing into allegations of his own suspected involvement in the brutal murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Has anyone ever heard anything more absurd – for an accused to investigate himself? Yes, of course, we live in Trump time – any absurdity is the new normal.

The Saudis have now finally admitted that Khashoggi died at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, supposedly after a fistfight, and that “18 Saudi nationals have been arrested” for further investigation.

The Saudis should have hired what in Hollywood they call a “script supervisor” before they opened their mouth telling the world what happened to Jamal Khashoggi. So far, they have gone from flat denial to having Khashoggi start a fistfight with 15 cutthroat butchers the Saudis had sent to cut him to pieces. Right now, they are shooting a martial art movie with Khashoggi cast as Bruce Lee.

The Saudis know the world is not stupid, but they also know for a fact Jared Kushner is in their pocket. According to Intercept’s sources, Mohammed bin Salman bragged that the president’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser is “in his pocket” months ago. It is payback time. Trump will try to sell this cover-up by the Saudis the same way he sold the FBI’s cursory report on Kavanaugh.

Two years into his presidency, the whole world knows Donald Trump runs the US presidency the way he runs his real estate business: with no sense of decency, half a criminal brain, the meagre vocabulary of a failing middle schooler, covered by a cascade vulgarity of a gangster who thinks the whole world is his to cheat, to fool, and to rob. But, and here is the rub, we must never reduce this to Donald Trump himself; for, thanks to Trump and his associates, the world is, in fact, witness to the constitutional DNA of US politics, hitherto successfully hidden behind the thin and beguiling veneer of civility that perhaps Barack Obama best personified. With Trump, we see the real deal.

Unabashedly, Trump is rushing to defend and exonerate a suspected Saudi murderer the same way he rushed to exonerate a suspected attempted rapist who now sits on the Supreme Court of the United States.

After Professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward with exemplary courage and accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh with attempted rape when they were both in high school and other women, equally courageous, did the same with his misconduct much later into his adult life, Trump did what Trump does best: he faked it.

He produced a “fake” FBI investigation – one that simply going through the motions and did not even interview the primary suspect or accuser, and issued a secret report the public could not see, as his Republican accomplices rushed the nomination through a hasty vote cast almost entirely on partisan lines just a few weeks before crucial midterm elections. And Trump and his Republican cohorts won. Professor Ford and countless sexually abused women like her lost.

Kavanaugh was confirmed and, in a White House swearing-in ceremony, Trump added insult to injury by publicly apologizing to Kavanaugh for his inconveniences. Trump and his Republican senators chalked that victory, leaving at least half of a stunned nation in bewilderment and moral atrophy. He then took one final victory lap around the arena by leading his morally decrepit base in publicly laughing at a courageous woman, while gloating that his Supreme Court victory had added to his popularity with his supporters and would guarantee Republican victory during the midterm elections.

From Brett Kavanaugh to Mohammed bin Salman

Trump is now engaging in precisely the same act of moral degeneracy in the case of the disappearance and evident murder of the Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He is advocating for a Saudi investigation into their own presumed crime, with the prime suspect in charge of investing himself.

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