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Rogue killers or state murder? Riyadh gets benefit of doubt from Trump where Russia doesn’t

Washington has reacted with uncharacteristic calm following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Instead of slapping Riyadh with sanctions and tearing up deals, Trump has refused to pin the blame on anyone

Rogue killers or state murder? Riyadh gets benefit of doubt from Trump where Russia doesn’t

© Reuters / Jonathan Ernst

Turkey has flatly accused Saudi Arabia of murdering and dismembering Khashoggi when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain marriage documents. That was the last time the dissident journalist was seen — and Ankara says it has audio and video proof that he was murdered inside the building.

Trump on the other hand has been more circumspect, even suggesting that perhaps “rogue killers” were responsible for the suspected murder — a theory he proffered to journalists at the White House shortly after a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.

But the mostly low-key reaction from the Washington to the disappearance provides a stark contrast to how both Trump and his predecessors have dealt with unproven accusations made against other countries — most notably Russia.

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