Rep.-elect Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) accused President Donald Trump of believing “foreign dictators” over the U.S. intelligence community in a Friday-morning CNN interview.
Malinowski, who served in the State Dept. during the Obama administration and was elected to Congress weeks ago, said it is “very, very dangerous” that the president allegedly refuses to accept reports from the CIA that top Saudi Arabian officials ordered the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump "believes foreign dictators … over the conclusions of our own intelligence community, and that's not just a ridiculous thing that we should laugh at. It's very, very dangerous to our national security," says New Jersey congressman-elect, Democrat Tom @Malinowski. pic.twitter.com/eZzrfgHHaN
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) November 23, 2018
CAMEROTA: Let’s just look at the president’s position [on Khashoggi] a little bit more closely, if I can paraphrase him accurately. Basically what the administration feels is there are a lot of human rights abuses all over the world, and yes, this was a hideous, gruesome murder from what we can tell. But this was one man, not a U.S. citizen, and so is it that important to blow up the alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, where Saudi Arabia can help the U.S. in other venues, over this?
MALINOWSKI: Oh my goodness. First of all, it’s not just a human rights abuse. This is something that happens very rarely. Saudi Arabia reached out across its borders and murdered somebody who was lured from the United States to go into one of its embassies in Turkey. This is something we cannot allow to become the new norm — dictators killing their critics on foreign soil. The United States is full of thousands and thousands of refugees from countries like Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia, who are critics of those governments. Do we want them to start being murdered in Washington, New York, Paris, and London? It’s really important to send a signal that this is a line you can’t cross.
As for Saudi Arabia, when they help us it’s because it is in their interest, not because they’re close allies of the United States. They are going to continue to help us on Iran because they are threatened by Iran and they need help there. This is not about blowing up the relationship. It’s about sanctioning an individual. It’s about separating our relationship with Saudi Arabia with this incredibly volatile, unpredictable young man [Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud], who is campaigning to be the ruler of this country for the next 50 years.
CAMEROTA: You were in the Obama State Department. You are one of the people who went to Congress with intelligence to try to get their attention that Russia was interfering in the 2016 election. As you know, President Trump has been very reluctant to admit or get his arms around this. What does it mean to you that he’s using that same sort of logic now with a dictator, where he believes their denials and their word over the CIA and U.S. intelligence officers?
MALINOWSKI: It seems like the President instinctively sympathizes with powerful leaders, who are accused of moral transgressions. I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out why that is. The result is that he believes foreign dictators, whether it’s Putin or the crown prince of Saudi Arabia or Kim Jong-un, over the conclusions of our own intelligence community. And that is not just a ridiculous thing that we should laugh at, it’s very, very dangerous to our national security.