The Trump administration is not just refusing to hold Saudi Arabia’s feet to the fire over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It’s actively looking for ways to help Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman evade pressure and scrutiny, up to and including sending a man to his death to encourage Turkey to back off about Khashoggi.
Turkish President Recep Erdogan wants to get his hands on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in the U.S., in much the same way that MBS wanted to get his hands on Jamal Khashoggi. And the White House would like to help Erdogan—if that would convince him to give the Saudis a pass.
The White House pushed the Justice Department and the FBI to find a way to extradite Gulen to Turkey, where he would very likely be killed:
Justice Department officials responded to the White House’s request saying the review of Turkey’s case against Gulen two years ago showed no basis for his extradition and that no new evidence to justify it has emerged, the U.S. officials and others familiar with the requests said.
Trump administration officials then asked for other options to legally remove him, the U.S. officials and others said.
They said the White House specifically wanted details about the terms under which Gulen resides in the U.S. Officials from the law enforcement agencies informed the White House there is no evidence that Gulen has broken any U.S. laws, the U.S. officials and others familiar with the requests said.
Turkey really wants Gulen, and Trump would like to make Turkey happy without going so far as to distance himself from MBS or taking other serious action over the Khashoggi killing. It’s a pretty astounding trifecta of horrific national leaders.
The thrust of the Gulen story is that the WH considered shipping a U.S. green card holder to likely torture and death in exchange for a cover-up of the murder of another U.S. green card holder to preserve a weapons deal with a country that spends money at the president's hotel.
— Paul Blumenthal (@PaulBlu) November 15, 2018
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