On Wednesday night, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) insisted that it is obvious President Donald Trump is working with the Saudis to cover up the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. In the same interview, he admitted that he had not yet been briefed on the situation and did not know if the Turkish government’s claims (that Khashoggi had been killed and dismembered by Saudis) had been verified with evidence.
“I kind of fall back on my work as a prosecutor where, if it takes this long to come up with an explanation as to what happened, well, we kind of already know that the Saudis are responsible and now they’re seeking to mitigate who knew at the highest levels,” Swalwell told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and has not emerged since. The Turkish government claims to have an audio recording of his gruesome death and dismemberment at the hands of Saudis. His body has not been recovered, nor has his death been confirmed.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, President Donald Trump compared the situation to the allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that,” Trump said. As in the Kavanaugh case, no evidence has yet emerged backing up Turkey’s claims.
Even so, Swalwell tweeted, “If someone was killed in your home, while you were in it, and 15 days later you’re still trying to come up with an explanation…forget it. We already know.
If someone was killed in your home, while you were in it, and 15 days later you’re still trying to come up with an explanation…forget it. We already know. #Khashoggi
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) October 18, 2018
When asked about this claim by Rachel Maddow, the congressman leapt to another guilty-until-proven-innocent situation. “This is very similar to many of the witnesses we had in our Trump-Russia investigation,” he said. “Many times, we would ask a witness a question and they would take a timeout, consult with their lawyers for five to ten minutes, and then come back, and we figured you know what, we already know the answer because it was a pretty simple one.”
“That’s what’s so disturbing here is that the United States is actually a part of the explanation process with the Saudis,” Swalwell told Maddow.
By “explanation process,” he meant “cover-up.” Swalwell has claimed that, since the Saudis have not yet come up with an explanation for Khashoggi’s disappearance, that proves they murdered him.
Yet the congressman himself admitted that he has not yet been briefed on the situation.
“I’ve spoken with our staff, but away from Washington, I can’t be briefed at the highest level,” the congressman said. Rather than address his lack of knowledge, Swalwell immediately pivoted to another issue — his demand that the FBI investigate the disappearance.
“You know, I thought just a couple of days ago that the president was parroting what the Saudis wanted him to say, as to what happened, but now it seems more like the Saudis are parroting what the president wants them to say,” the congressman said. “He is, you know, really imploring on them to use this ‘deny, deny, deny’ approach that he always uses and seems to get away with.”
Swalwell would not explicitly accuse Trump of attempting to cover up Khashoggi’s murder, but he implied it. Continuing the guilty-until-proven-innocent angle, the congressman said, “It fits the pattern of every time Donald Trump is presented with overwhelming evidence, he thinks he can just deny his way out of it.”
Swalwell not only made bald accusations against Trump without evidence, but he even acknowledged that he hadn’t even been briefed on the subject. The Trump derangement syndrome is strong with this one.
Watch the video of his interview below.
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