Are Saudi arms sales more important than a butchered journalist?

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Turkish government has audio and video recordings that prove Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

According to the report the tapes are particularly gruesome.

A bipartisan group of senators, including Arizona’s Jeff Flake, sent a letter to President Trump demanding an investigation.

Flake also took to the senate floor to criticize Trump for attacking the media with terms like “fake news” and “enemy of the people,” which have been picked up and used by brutal tyrants in other parts of the globe.

Action after the speech?

Flake ended his speech by saying, “We in this body had best be very clear about who the enemies of the people are and who they are not.

“The free press is the guardian of democracy and enemy of tyrants, and the man or woman who speaks from behind the presidential seal needs to remind the country and the world of this truism again and again, so long as the world will listen.”

And if the president doesn’t do these things is there anything Flake and his colleagues will do? Because we’ve heard his tough talk before, always followed by … nothing.

There are calls in Congress for sanctions against Saudi Arabia should Khashoggi’s murder be confirmed.

(The man walked into the consulate and never came out. At least in whole, as there is speculation that his body was cut into pieces and removed.)

Sanctions involving arms sales

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner said, “Arms sales are certainly going to be, I think, a huge concern if there is responsibility that is irrefutable.”

President Donald Trump, however, was hedging his bets.

He told journalists, “I know they are talking about different kinds of sanctions, but [the Saudis] are spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs for this country. I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States.”

Makes you wonder how low the “investment” must go before a murdered journalist warrants sanctions.

At least in Trump’s view.

Then again, it’s not just America’s finances the president is looking after.

During his presidential campaign Trump spoke of the business he’s done with the Saudis, saying, “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

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