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Trump exploited murder of Khashoggi to divert attention from daughter, says new book

US President Donald Trump's daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump hosts an event to mark the first anniversary of the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) Initiative in the Franklin Room of the Department of State in Washington, United States on February 12, 2020 [Yasin Öztürk / Anadolu Agency]
US President Donald Trump's daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump in Washington, US on 12 February 2020 [Yasin Öztürk /Anadolu Agency]

In one of the many bombshell revelations made by John Bolton in his new book, The Room Where It Happened, the former national security advisor claims that US President Donald Trump used the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to divert attention from his daughter Ivanka Trump’s misuse of public office.

According to Bolton, who was ousted by Trump last year from the White House, the US president exploited the global outrage over the murder of Khashoggi to conceal information that would have jeopardised his re-election bid. Trump was obsessed with his 2020 presidential election chances, reveals Bolton, and saw an opportunity in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder to divert attention from a domestic scandal.

Trump made headlines with a bizarre comment after it was discovered that 15 Saudi assassins had brutally murdered Khashoggi and cut the Washington Post journalist’s body into pieces. “The world is a very dangerous place!” said Trump standing by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” he added contradicting the CIA who believed that the 34-year-old authorised the killing.

READ: Movie biopic to be made on the murder of Saudi Jamal Khashoggi

The remarks were met with condemnation. Trump was accused by Democratic lawmakers of undermining his own intelligence agencies and failing to confront Saudi Arabia over its human rights violation.

Bolton has suggested that Trump’s intention was in fact to cause such outrage and divert attention. A story about his daughter Ivanka using her personal email for government business was also in the news at the time. Trump allegedly said: “This will divert from Ivanka… If I read the statement in person, that will take over the Ivanka thing.”

The suggestion is that having waged war against Hilary Clinton during the 2016 election for doing the same thing this revelation about Ivanka would have led to accusations of hypocrisy.

In another of the many explosive claims – including offering favours to dictators – Trump apparently praised President Xi Jinping of China’s internment of Uyghur Muslims in detention camps. “According to our interpreter,” Bolton writes, “Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do.” At the time at least one million Uyghur Muslims were being held in the camps in which there have been mass accusations of torture and abuse.

READ: The US has no right to claim leadership of the free world

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