Mainstream media journalists who have been known to defend the Biden administration in the past are now excoriating the president for allowing Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman to claim immunity in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi — a journalist for The Washington Post who was reportedly assassinated by agents of the Saudi government at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2018.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper criticized Biden during a monologue while concluding his Sunday broadcast of “State of the Union” on Sunday morning, addressing the fact that the Biden administration has now determined that — under international law — bin Salman has immunity in Khashoggi’s murder, which Biden has outright stated that the crown prince ordered.
“A few weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that MBS ‘mocks President Biden in private, making fun of the 79-year-old’s gaffes and questioning his mental acuity,’ according to people inside the Saudi government. Nothing gets leaked by the Saudi government to The Wall Street Journal without MBS signing off on it, President Biden,” Tapper said.
“What are you — what are we — getting in exchange for letting this thug get away with murder, Mr. President?” the CNN anchor asked. “Other than the stink of complicity?”
A Biden administration court filing states the office held by Saudi Arabia's crown prince shields him from a lawsuit filed by the fiancée of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi. CNN's @jaketapper questions President Biden's previous pledge to address the killing. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/cPHygn6ZZc
— CNN (@CNN) November 20, 2022
The president was also lambasted by Fred Ryan, a publisher at The Washington Post, when the news was first reported. Ryan accused Biden of effectively granting the Saudi crown prince a “license to kill” in a statement released on Friday.
“In granting legal immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Biden is failing to uphold America’s most cherished values. He is granting a license to kill to one of the world’s most egregious human-rights abusers who is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist,” the statement read.
Ryan also asserted in his statement that King Salman had named his son — the crown prince — prime minister in order to use international law to shield him from being held responsible for the murder.
“By going along with this scheme, President Biden is turning his back on fundamental principles of press freedom and equality. The American people – and those wronged by MBS in Saudi Arabia and around the world – deserve better,” he concluded.
New statement from Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan pic.twitter.com/D0Cbt6Cpg2
— Washington Post PR (@WashPostPR) November 18, 2022
A Department of Justice filing — which references a lawsuit brought by Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz — states that “Mohammed bin Salman, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is the sitting head of government and, accordingly, is immune from this suit.”