Trump Pal Tom Barrack Defends Khashoggi Murder

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21:  on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images North America

Trump confidante Tom Barrack defended the Saudi state murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a panel discussion Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, according to The Gulf News, an English language newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates.

Asked about Khashoggi’s murder, Barrack said “whatever happened in Saudi Arabia, the atrocities in America are equal, or worse …”

Barrack went on to argue that Western criticism of Khashoggi’s murder was part of a history of high-handed misunderstanding by the Western powers tracing back to the Sykes-Picot agreement, the secret protocol by which Britain and France agreed to carve up thee Arab Middle East in the aftermath of World War I.

“The atrocities in any autocratic country are dictated by the rule of law,” Gulf News reporter Ed Clowes quoted Barrack as saying. “So for us to dictate what we think is the moral code there, when we have a young man and regime that is trying to push themselves in to 2030, I think is a mistake.”

Barrack is a longtime friend and confidante of President Trump and played a key role both in his 2016 campaign and the Trump-Russia scandal that grew in its aftermath. It was Barrrack who helped usher Paul Manafort into the campaign in early 2016. Barrack was back in the news last week for his role as chairman of the Trump inaugural committee, which is now the subject of a federal probe.

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