Dec 23, 2019

Saudis sentence 5 to death over Khashoggi's murder

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman. Photo: Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced five people to death for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and three others were sentenced to prison, AP reports.

Why it matters: The Saudis still deny that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had any knowledge or involvement in the assassination, despite the CIA concluding last year that he gave the order.

  • A UN investigator failed to find a "smoking gun" that explicitly incriminated MBS, but said the mission required "significant government coordination, resources and finances" and recommended a further probe, Axios' Orion Rummler and Rashaan Ayesh reported in June.

The big picture: "The kingdom did not provide the names of those sentenced, but it said that Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed whom the United States imposed sanctions on over the killing, had not been tried because of a lack of evidence against him," the N.Y. Times reports.

Between the lines: The verdicts followed an eye-popping effort by the kingdom this weekend to showcase societal changes: Instagram stars, former Victoria's Secret models and Hollywood actors converged on Riyadh for a three-day concert, per AP.

  • The rave was quite a pivot from just three years ago, when religious police would storm restaurants playing music and harass women in malls for showing their face or wearing red nail polish.

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Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: "Widespread looting" occurred in Manhattan, including at "Macy's flagship store in Herald Square and luxury stores along Fifth Avenue" as the 11 p.m. curfew began Monday, per the New York Times.

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,273,402 — Total deaths: 375,683 — Total recoveries — 2,697,873Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,811,277 — Total deaths: 105,147 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  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.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

St. John's clergy: Trump used church as prop, Bible as symbol of division

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Clergy of the historic St. John's Episcopal Church expressed furor and confusion over President Trump's visit on Monday, which he claimed was to honor the establishment after George Floyd protestors sparked a small fire on the property Sunday night.

The big picture: Park rangers and military police deployed tear gas and physical force to disperse peaceful protestors from Lafayette Park, which surrounds the White House, so Trump could walk to "pay respects" to the church — and a St. John's rector on the scene revealed in a Facebook post that she was left "coughing" from the tear gas.