As usual for President Biden, there’s good news and bad news. In reverse order, the bad news is that some folks are upset about his decision last week advising a judge to declare immunity for Crown Prince Mohammed of Saudi Arabia from a lawsuit over his role in the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. In effect, Biden is now in place where Trump was when he downplayed the accusations against the Crown Prince.
Among those urging Biden to hold the Saudi leader “accountable” for the murder, is Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore). “The state department’s decision to intervene in the case undermined the ability to hold the Crown Prince accountable for his crime,” Wyden tweeted on Monday. “I call on @POTUS Biden to honor his commitment to hold MBS accountable and to reexamine our relationship with the Saudis.”
Biden’s decision counters the lawsuit filed by Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz declaring that the Crown Prince was legally immune from the complaint. Backing Biden’s position, the State Department said the Prince could not be sued in federal court because he is the sitting head of a foreign national government.
“In making this immunity determination, the Department of State takes no view on the merits of the present suit and reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” the department wrote in the court filing. Earlier in the year Wyden charged that Biden “cannot value Saudi oil more highly” than Khashoggi’s life.
The good news for Biden is that as the GOP prepares to take charge of the House and intensify its investigation of Hunter Biden, an independent analysis of the laptop he left at a computer repair shop “shows no evidence of tampering or fabrication,” said the reviewers commissioned by CBS News.
According to Brian Della Rocca, an attorney for the shop owner, who provided CBS with an “exact copy” of the laptop in their possession three years ago, it was “clean” since it predates the versions circulated by GOP operatives in their attack on Biden during the presidential run in 2020. They concluded there was no evidence that the data had been in any way modified and tampered with. What this amounts to is a dead end in the attempts to show that Hunter Biden’s various dealings and endeavors were of benefit to his father’s campaign.
It is doubtful that this will stop the Republicans in their pursuit to stain and discredit the Biden administration, and once sequestered in control of the House there is no telling how far they will go. And another Jan. 6 may be on the table if Trump loses his bid for the White House.