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November 18, 2018

"I think the evidence is overwhelming" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Face the Nation Sunday. "I don't think we can sweep this under the rug."

Paul reiterated his push to end U.S. arms sales to the Saudi government in retaliation for Khashoggi's killing, decrying the administration's plan to sanction other parties involved. "I think sanctions are pretending to do something without really doing anything," the senator said.

"Most of these people [being sanctioned] are in prison, other than the crown prince," Paul continued. "We need to punish who ordered this, who's in charge. ... If the president wants to act strongly, he should cut off the arm sales" over Khashoggi and because of civilian deaths in the U.S.-supported, Saudi-led intervention in Yemen's civil war.

President Trump continues to express skepticism that MBS is implicated in Khashoggi's death, and he suggested in an interview airing on Fox Sunday he might keep a close alliance with the Saudi prince even if he is guilty of the journalist's murder. He has repeatedly resisted calls to end weapons deals with Riyadh, claiming the economic toll on the United States would be too high.

Watch Paul's comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

November 18, 2018

President Trump discussed possible changes among his top staff, the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and more in a Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace set to air at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern.

"I have three or four or five positions that I'm thinking about [changing]," Trump said of his Cabinet lineup. "Of that, maybe it's going to end up being two. But I need flexibility." He suggested dissatisfaction with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in particular.

On Khashoggi's death, Trump maintained his skepticism despite Friday's report that the CIA has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder. Even if MBS lied to his face, Trump said, "I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good." After all, Trump mused, "Who could really know [whether MBS lied]? But I can say this, he's got many people now that say he had no knowledge."

And asked by Wallace to grade his own presidency, Trump gave himself an A+ and inquired if a better mark is possible. "Look, I hate to do it, but I will do it," he said. "I would give myself an A+. Is that enough? Can I go higher than that?" Watch that clip below. Bonnie Kristian

November 11, 2018

The doctored video of CNN's Jim Acosta shared by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was "not altered," White House counsel Kellyanne Conway claimed on Fox News Sunday, just "sped up."

"They do it all the time in sports to see if there's actually a first down or a touchdown," she told host Chris Wallace. "So, I have to disagree with the, I think, overwrought description of this video being doctored as if we put somebody else's arm in there."

Independent expert analysis of the clip commissioned by The Associated Press found changing the speed of portions of the video is exactly how the alteration was accomplished. By speeding up one section and slowing another, the editing made Acosta's movement to block a White House intern's attempt to take away his microphone look more aggressive.

Watch Conway's full interview below; the Acosta video conversation is in the final minutes. Bonnie Kristian

November 4, 2018

The sanctions to be re-imposed on Iran Monday will leave no doubt as to the Trump administration's stance toward Tehran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday.

"[T]he sanctions that will be re-imposed tomorrow are the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran," Pompeo told host Chris Wallace.

"I am very confident that the sanctions that will be re-imposed this Monday — not only the crude oil sanctions, [but] the financial sanctions that are being put in place by the Treasury Department and over 600 designations of individuals and companies in Iran — will have the intended effect to alter the Iranian regime's behavior," he continued. "No one's going to argue that Secretary Pompeo isn't tough on Iran and no one is going to argue that President Trump isn't doing the same."

Trump, for his part, celebrated the sanctions with a Game of Thrones meme on Twitter Friday.

Watch the full interview below; the first half focuses on Iran, after which conversation turns to North Korea and Saudi Arabia. And read about the human cost of sanctions on countries like Iran here at The Week. Bonnie Kristian

November 4, 2018

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who would be the country's first black woman governor if she bests rival Brian Kemp (R) in Georgia, said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday she expects a fair election despite concerns about her state's electoral policies.

"We have seen unprecedented turnout in this race from people who normally do not engage and do not vote. Some of that has been driven by the conversations of voter suppression," Abrams said. "Because one of the best ways to encourage people to use something is to tell them that someone's trying to take it away."

Kemp is also Georgia's secretary of state, and in that capacity he administered an "exact match" policy that required voter registrations to precisely match official documents on file with the state. Kemp has purged 1.4 million voters' registrations since 2012, disproportionately affecting the state's black and Hispanic voters, and the exact match requirement prevented 53,000 of them from re-registering. A judge on Friday ruled against Kemp in a lawsuit concerning the policy.

Watch the full interview below; the election results discussion begins shortly after the one-minute mark. Bonnie Kristian

October 28, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is "more prepared than we've ever been" to keep the midterm elections free of tampering and fraud, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Fox News Sunday.

"The goal here ... is absolutely to assure Americans that their votes will count and their votes will be counted correctly," she told host Chris Wallace. "We will be setting up a virtual situation room on Election Day so we can very quickly support any incident response that's needed, and so we can share any information," Nielsen continued. "We are more prepared than we've ever been, and we will continue to prepare, not just for this election, but for every election to come in the future."

Some reports from Texas and Georgia have suggested faulty voting machines are changing people's input in early voting.

Nielson also addressed Saturday's deadly synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh — her department sent a security adviser to that synagogue in March — as well as the package bombing suspect and the migrant caravan coming up through Mexico. Wallace pressed Nielsen on how caravan members who are women or children could pose a security threat to the United States.

Watch the full interview below; discussion of the midterms begins around the nine-minute mark. Bonnie Kristian

October 21, 2018

Members of Congress were out in force Sunday weighing in on Saudi Arabia's "fist fight" explanation of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. And while they were united in varying degrees of skepticism about Riyadh's story, lawmakers did not put forward a unified theory of how to respond.

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) labeled the Saudi account "insulting," arguing no one "analyzing this with any type of intelligent background" would believe "a fist fight led to a dismemberment with a bone saw."

He argued for a broad rethinking of U.S.-Saudi relations, including arms sales, over Khashoggi, the war in Yemen, and Riyadh's record on religious liberty.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, on CNN explicitly accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of involvement.

Corker argued there "has to be a punishment" if MBS is implicated; on Friday, he mentioned sanctions as a possibility.

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on NBC the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. should be expelled until the matter is settled.

And Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, on ABC called for an inquiry into whether President Trump's financial ties to Saudi Arabia could be influencing his changeable response to Khashoggi's death.

Schiff said he expects Trump "to accept the crown prince's denials much as he has accepted [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's denials and [North Korean leader] Kim's denials." Bonnie Kristian

October 14, 2018

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai would like to know what, exactly, is going on in the Trump administration.

"Honestly, I've been talking to ambassadors of other countries in Washington, D.C., and this is also part of their problem," Cui said on Fox News Sunday of dealing with President Trump's team. "They don't know who is the final decision-maker. Of course, presumably, the president will take the final decision, but who is playing what role? Sometimes it could be very confusing."

Cui also addressed the escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing. "It's important to notice who started this trade war. We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests," he said. Cui argued trade has been mutually beneficial for China and the United States, concluding, "You have to look at the whole picture."

Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

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