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Erin Burnett: Bolton mocking Khashoggi tape

CNN's Erin Burnett criticizes President Trump and US national security adviser John Bolton for not listening to the tape of the Khashoggi killing.

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 5:22 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2018 5:22 PM

"Let them eat cake." -- Marie Antoinette

"Heck of a job, Brownie." -- George W. Bush

"My belief is, we will in fact be greeted as liberators." -- Dick Cheney

Migrant detention centers for children are "more like a summer camp." -- Matthew Albence, acting No. 2 official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Add to the list of tragically callous and shockingly cruel statements from government officials this from National Security Adviser John Bolton, when asked Tuesday if he has listened to the audiotape of the murder of US permanent resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi: "Unless you speak Arabic, what are you going to get from it?"

A lot. You will, presumably, hear struggle. You will hear beating, according to a Turkish newspaper, citing Turkish security sources. You will hear torture. You will hear an innocent man's final, desperate words: "Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?" You will hear one of the alleged conspirators, who allegedly put on Khashoggi's clothes to act as a body double, comment that "it is spooky to wear the clothes of a man whom we killed 20 minutes ago."

Sure, those comments are in Arabic. But torture is a universal language. Senior policymakers need to know who they are dealing with, what our allies in Saudi Arabia are capable of.

Bolton, of course, is merely following the lead of his boss, Donald Trump. President Trump told Fox News he will not listen to the Khashoggi tape because it is "a suffering tape." "I don't want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape," he said. "I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it. ... It was very violent, very vicious and terrible."

Where the Saudis are concerned, the Trump administration has its head in the sand. Not only have the President and the national security adviser refused to listen to the Khashoggi tape, they reportedly prevented CIA Director Gina Haspel -- who has heard the tape -- from briefing senators. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis did brief the Senate, but their departments neither gathered nor analyzed the intel. That's the CIA's job.

The administration says the CIA director would not attend the meeting because it was more focused on policy toward Yemen -- where the Saudis' role, incidentally, has been deeply controversial.

Debating policy options usually draws in matters of opinion. But before we can form good policy, we have to know the facts. And in national security, the facts usually come from intelligence. Excluding the CIA director from briefing the Senate limits senators' ability to see the constellation of issues presented by the US-Saudi relationship.

Of course, President Trump has been briefed on the Khashoggi murder. The CIA -- his CIA, our CIA -- has concluded with high confidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi. Shamefully -- but not surprisingly -- Trump seems to be siding with the Saudi prince against America's intelligence professionals.

There is a word for those who, when entrusted with leading our nation, purposefully turn away from their duties because they are difficult or unpleasant: cowards. The fact that the tape is unpleasant is precisely why Mr. Bolton -- and for that matter, our President -- should listen to it.

I was aware that Mr. Bolton doesn't speak Arabic. I'm quite sure President Trump does not either. What this sad story teaches us is they also don't speak the language of American values: of the central statement at the core of our founding, that "All men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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