Feb 8, 2019

Saudi leaders deflect blame on day of Khashoggi sanctions deadline

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Trump in the Oval Office. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool via Getty Images

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Friday dismissed the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi as "a mistake," and warned that any attempt to link Khashoggi's death to Saudi leadership is "a red line."

Why it matters: In October, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee triggered the Global Magnitsky Act, which gives President Trump 120 days "to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression." Friday is the deadline for Trump to tell the committee whether Saudi government officials should be held responsible and face sanctions for Khashoggi's death.

  • A senior administration official told CNN that Trump will not submit to the Magnitsky deadline, saying: 'The President maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate."
  • However, as national security analyst Sam Vinograd points out, "this is not a run of the mill committee request." The Magnitsky Act legally requires the president to submit his determination to Congress within 120 days.

The big picture: The Trump administration has repeatedly cast doubt on claims that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the assassination of Khashoggi, defying the reported findings of the U.S. intelligence community. The administration has sanctioned 17 people for their role in the operation, but has thus far declined to take action against senior officials in the Saudi government.

  • On Thursday, the New York Times reported that U.S. intelligence intercepted a conversation in 2017 in which MBS told a top aide that Khashoggi should be brought to Saudi Arabia by force if he does not choose to return voluntarily. If neither of those options work, MBS reportedly said he would "use a bullet" on Khashoggi.

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Louisville police chief fired after body cameras found inactive in shooting of black man

Louisville police officers during protests. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer fired the city's chief of police Steve Conrad after it was discovered that police officers had not activated their body cameras during the shooting of David McAtee, a local black business owner who was killed during protests early Monday morning.

Why it matters: Mandatory body camera policies have proven to be important in efforts to hold police officers accountable for excessive force against civilians and other misconduct. Those policies are under even greater scrutiny as the nation has erupted in protest over the killing of black people at the hands of police.

Increased armed presence planned for D.C. tonight

Demonstrators stand around a fire during a protest near the White House in response to the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Government officials say plans are in place for a significantly heavier armed presence on the streets of Washington, D.C. tonight in response to the increasingly violent protests linked to the death of George Floyd.

What we're hearing: "Tonight you will see increased presence, both police...other agencies, and National Guard presence," a source familiar with the government's plans said.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,226,408 — Total deaths: 373,973 — Total recoveries — 2,672,161Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,799,747 — Total deaths: 104,702 — Total recoveries: 444,758 — Total tested: 16,936,891Map.
  3. Public health: Nearly 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes have been reported to federal health officials —Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country.
  4. Federal government: Trump lashes out at governors, calls for National Guard to "dominate" streets.
  5. World: Former FDA commissioner says "this is not the time" to cut ties with WHO.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The virus didn't go away.