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Steve Mnuchin Makes Salient Move in Sticky Saudi Situation

With all Hell set to break loose in the middle east, the Trump administration is making sure to cross their t’s and dot their i’s.

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Saudi Arabia

With all Hell set to break loose in the middle east, the Trump administration is making sure to cross their t’s and dot their i’s.

The US relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a strange one, indeed.  Given the Saudis exorbitant wealth, both in resources and cash, it pays for nations around the globe to play nice with the middle eastern monarchy.  The problem, of course, is that Saudi Arabia doesn’t often have to “play nice”, since they seem to be holding a majority of the world’s oil and can dictate the entire global economy with the stroke of a pen.

Now that it is becoming clear that Saudi Arabia was intimately involved in the gruesome and inexcusable torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the United States has several tough decisions to make in how to proceed.  This development has the Trump administration firing on all cylinders, and working to bring the entire organization into harmony.

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Steven Mnuchin’s latest announcement has give us a glimpse into the severity of the issue.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he has decided against attending a conference in Saudi Arabia this month, amid the uproar over the the presumed death of activist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Just met with @realDonaldTrump and @SecPompeo and we have decided, I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia,” Mnuchin tweeted.

Mnuchin has been facing calls to cancel his plans to attend after Khashoggi vanished two weeks ago during a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials allege Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate.

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The Future Investment Initiative summit is scheduled for Oct. 23-25 in Riyadh. A number of high-profile people – including leaders from the World Bank, Google and Uber – have also announced plans to drop out.

While the President’s White House has often been light and nonchalant in their narrative, on the subject of Saudi Arabia there seems to be little room for interpretation.  Mnuchin’s announcement, combined with the President’s reserved candor when it comes to discussing the Saudi Royal Family speaks volumes about the tense nature of the situation.

 

Opinion

Justice Department Hints at Trouble for States Engaging in Election Audits

They don’t want other locales getting any ideas from Maricopa County

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In Arizona, an ongoing and auxiliary “audit” of the 2020 election results has kept proponents of the “Stop The Steal” movement on the edge of their seats. These folks believe that there were major, fraudulent issues with the electoral system itself, and they believe that a reexamination of the processes and networks involved in counting the vote will provide enough evidence to force Congress to act. Some may even have found themselves wondering if an end to the audit might come just days ahead of Mike Lindell’s “reinstatement day” prediction of August 13th – providing a bit of confluence to some of their theories about the future of Donald Trump’s political career. The Justice Department, on the other hand, isn’t too thrilled about the idea of these audits spreading to other states, and they’re flexing a little of their electoral power to keep other locales from getting any ideas. The Justice Department on Wednesday issued another warning aimed at states conducting or considering audits of ballots tallied in last year’s election, reminding election authorities that allowing ballots to be mishandled can violate federal law. While the Biden administration “guidance” document carries no formal legal weight and may not strike fear into local officials, the Justice Department used the release of the legal analysis to press their campaign of saber-rattling against Republican-led audits of the 2020 vote in Arizona and other states, as well as voting changes many GOP-controlled states are pursuing as part of purported anti-fraud efforts. Then came the mobster-esque verbiage. “Jurisdictions have to be careful not to let those ballots be defaced or mutilated or lost or destroyed as part of an audit,” said a Justice Department official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. “This document puts down a marker that says the Justice Department is concerned…

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Opinion

DOJ Gives Jan 6th Committee Green Light to Call Trump Officials as Witnesses

But there’s a good chance that this will backfire spectacularly.

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The Democrats steering the select committee investigating January 6th have a very tight line to keep their toes on. On one hand, they know that they aren’t going to get another chance at this investigation, particularly as the GOP continues to downplay the impact of the event itself.  But they also mustn’t sway the hearing too far to the left either, lest they wish to be accused of partisan hackery. One of the simplest ways for the investigation to get a bad rap among conservatives would be to spend a great deal of time on subjects that were already covered in Donald Trump second impeachment trial, in which he was acquitted of “inciting” the insurrection of that fateful day. But this could prove difficult for the overzealous among them, especially after the DOJ has now dangled one hellacious carrot in front of them. Former Trump administration officials can testify to Congress about Donald Trump’s role in the deadly January attack on the Capitol and his efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election, the justice department (DoJ) has said in a letter obtained by the Guardian. The move by the justice department to decline to assert executive privilege for Trump’s acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, clears the path for other top former officials to also testify to congressional committees investigating the Capitol attack without fear of repercussions. The justice department authorised witnesses to appear specifically before the two committees. But a DoJ official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said they expected that approval to extend to the 6 January select committee that began proceedings on Tuesday. And while the Justice Department may think that they are doing the Democrats a favor here, it is somewhat likely that this new avenue of pursuit will take…

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