Asserting that he has the right to ignore "congressional committee requests," Donald Trump on Friday refused to provide Congress with his administration's report on the murder last year of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whose brutal killing is believed to have been ordered by Saudi Arabia's ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a New York Times report.
By refusing to issue the report, Trump missed a deadline legally required under the Magnitsky Act, a law governing sanctions on foreign individuals who participate in human rights violations, the Times reported.
Trump's refusal to issue the legally required report came the day after Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos revealed a blackmail attempt against him by the Trump-linked tabloid National Enquirer newspaper. In a Medium.com essay describing what he says was the Enquirer blackmail and extortion attempt against him, Bezos — the world's richest person at a net worth of more than $133 billion — directly linked the blackmail attempt to an explained Enquirer concern with Saudi Arabia.
Bezos also owns the Washington Post, the paper where Khashoggi was a columnist. The paper has continued its own investigation into his grisly murder, which as the Inquisitr has reported, was carried out by a Saudi hit team inside the country's embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2. Khashoggi's body has never been recovered, with audio evidence showing that the Saudi assassins dismembered his body and somehow disposed of or destroyed the remains.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly expanded his investigation into the Trump presidential campaign to cover large and unexplained donations to Trump's inaugural committee by Saudi-connected donors, ABC News reported.
Contacts between the Trump campaign and Saudi Arabia in 2016 include an August 3 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and Middle Eastern emissaries who said that the Saudi prince was "eager to help his father win election as president," as the Inquisitr has reported.
Despite the conclusions of intelligence agencies and international investigators that the highest levels of the Saudi government were directly involved in the Khashoggi murder, Trump has never fully embraced their conclusions, saying "we may never know all of the facts" about the brutal murder of the outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia's government, and affirming that the United States maintains its "relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," CNBC reported.
The National Enquirer, owned by close Trump friend and supporter David Pecker, has a history of aiding Trump, most recently in the case of Karen McDougal, a former Playboy centerfold model who said that she had sexual affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007. During the 2016 campaign, the Enquirer paid McDougal $150,000 for her story which it then refused to publish, as the Inquisitr earlier reported.
While no direct evidence has yet emerged linking Trump to the alleged blackmail attempt on Bezos, experts have asserted that the attempt appears to bear Trump's signature.
"That this story could involve the Saudis — who we know the Trumps agreed to collude with on August 3, 2016; and who (Mueller appears to believe) illegally funneled money to the Trumps in January 2017 at the very latest; and for whom Trump is now covering up a murder — I mean, wow," wrote Seth Abramson, author of the bestselling book, Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America, on Twitter.
A Washington Post reporter who covered the Bezos blackmail allegations said on Thursday that private investigators hired by Bezos believe that "a government entity" obtained the Amazon founder's private and intimate digital communications with a woman who was not his wife, according to the Hill, with some experts speculating that the "entity" may be part of the Saudi government.
"Much remains mysterious about the Enquirer's actions, and in particular its connections, if any, with President Trump and the government of Saudi Arabia — a possibility that Bezos alluded to in his blog post," wrote Post columnist Max Boot on Friday. Both the Saudis and Trump are aggrieved at the Post, and Trump wrongly blames Bezos for the newspaper's accurate but unflattering coverage of him.
In a Twitter message on January 13, in which he gloated about the Enquirer exposure of Bezos's extramarital affair, Trump referred to the Amazon founder as "Jeff Bozo."