Our ongoing reality show about Jamal Khashoggi might called, Law & Order: Special Assassination Unit. In this daily drama, law enforcement officials investigate a tough to crack case of extra-judicial political homicide
In the current episode we are watching as the cops gather at the crime scene, and ask, Where is the evidence?
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, two associates of the suspected perp, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, huddle to discuss how to take to massage the evidence and talk to the cops. The plot engine: can the perps’ pals game the justice system for their own gain?
On Friday President Recep Erdogan said he gave U.S. officials an audio recording purportedly capturing the assassination of the journalist Khashoggi, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Now Trump and Erdogan have talked about the Saudi hit.
A White House official told Reuters that the two world leaders discussed Khashoggi’s killing and how to respond to it during a dinner of heads of state in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.
Erdogan, while repressing Turkish press and civil society, seeks to isolate and pressurize his friend and rival, MbS, for his own advantage. If the Turkish president can gain leverage MbS’s best American friend, Donald Trump, so much the better. In this drama, Erdogan is the villain who happens to be innocent.
Trump’s problem is that the story of MbS the perp won’t play at home. The president has embraced MbS as orb worshipper, as reformer; as a partner with Mossad and Israel against Iran; and a rainmaker for Jared Kushner. The fact that MbS is the leading suspect in an open homicide of a U.S. green card holder matters less to Trump than his other virtues but that’s hard to say publicly.
In this gangsterly milieu, we, the audience, yearn for the tape, the precious audio. Somehow the idea of a tape promises deliverance from this unseemly situation, and hopefully before the commercial break.
Why does the Khashoggi tape recur in headlines? Because we can’t help but want to live the vicarious horror of hearing a man being killed? Because we hope that decisive evidence might bring justice for slain journalist? It’s both.
What I’m reading
Russia’s perspective on Trump. Tass News reports Trump Says Americans Begin to Understand That Mueller’s Russia Probe Is “Witch Hunt.”