The Jig Is Up

Grind for November 20th, 2018
“We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.” – Stephen Hawking

A Knife In The Dark

The Headline

CIA says Prince Salman ordered killing of Jamal Khashoggi

The Grind

As announced on Friday, the CIA has concluded that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed on orders from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The CIA assessment contradicts Salman’s claims and could endanger President Trump’s efforts to maintain ties with the kingdom.

The Implication

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd. The Saudi government initially denied all knowledge of the incident, but later claimed Khashoggi died during a “fistfight.”

The Trump Administration sanctioned 21 Saudi officials in October and sanctioned 17 more last Thursday. Prince Salman was not among them.

And while President Trump says he would like to believe that Salman was not involved, the CIA insists the crime “would not and could not have happened” without the his involvement.

“The assessment that the Crown Prince ordered the murder is not surprising, but it significantly undermines the administration’s effort to whitewash the Saudi Prince,” explains former CIA official Bruce Riedel. “It raises the question of why Prince Salman has not been sanctioned by the Treasury Department.”

Meanwhile, Saudi officials continue to insist that Salman was not involved; and on Thursday, the nation’s top prosecutor said he would seek the death penalty against five suspects in the case.

On Friday, Turkish officials said they had audio recordings and phone intercepts proving Khashoggi’s death was the result of a planned assassination.

Winner Winner

The Headline

Rick Scott confirmed winner of Senate contest after two recounts

The Grind

Among the most hotly-contested midterm races was outgoing Florida governor Rick Scott’s (R) attempt to unseat Senator Bill Nelson (D).

Initial results showed Scott in the lead by more than 56,000 votes, but a machine recount dropped his lead to 12,603 votes.

The slim difference triggered a statewide recount.

Scott was finally confirmed the winner this weekend after volunteers and staff recounted more than 65,000 ballots by hand. The second recount determined Scott’s lead over Nelson was just 10,033 votes.

The Implication

Scott’s victory will further boost the GOP’s control of the Senate, which at this point is split 53-47 (before the election, it was 51-49).

Democrats now have control of the House, however, which will make it harder for Republicans to pass legislation during Trump’s final two years.

Replacing Rick Scott as governor of the Sunshine State is former US Representative Ron DeSantis (R), whose narrow victory over Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) triggered a machine recount.

DeSantis was determined to have won by less than half a percentage point.

“I remain humbled by your support and the great honor the people of Florida have shown me as I prepare to serve as your next governor,” said DeSantis in a statement.

DeSantis said he intends to focus on “bringing people together to secure Florida’s future” and invited Mayor Gillum to “join me in the days ahead in a conversation about the future of our great state.”

Did you know… The human brain uses approximately as much energy as a 10 watt light bulb.