Jamal Khashoggi. Photo: Mohammed Al-Shaikh/AFP/Getty Images

A UN investigator said Wednesday that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi faced a "deliberate, premeditated execution" at the hands of Saudi Arabia in the first independent report on his death, CNN reports.

Why it matters: President Trump and other members of his administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have publicly stood by the Saudis after Khashoggi's death last year, despite the CIA's assessment that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder.

  • The investigator, Agnes Callamard of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, did not find a "smoking gun" that explicitly incriminated MBS but said the mission required "significant government coordination, resources and finances" — and recommended a further probe into the crown prince's role.
  • "[E]very expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the Crown Prince being aware, at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr. Khashoggi, was being launched."

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir dismissed the UN report, emphasizing the case is under the jurisdiction of the Saudi government: "We firmly reject any attempt to encroach upon the Kingdom’s leadership, and any attempt to divert the case from the course of justice in the Kingdom or influence it in any manner."

Go deeper: Jared Kushner on MBS, refugees, racism and Trump's legacy

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.