Tom Barrack—the close friend and key ally of Donald Trump—has thrown his support behind Saudi Arabia over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, saying it’s a “mistake” to criticize the kingdom over the murder and that atrocities carried out in the U.S. are “equal, or worse.” Barrack was speaking at an event in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, and was asked by CNN’s Becky Anderson about how Saudi Arabia’s reputation has been damaged in the wake of Khashoggi’s brutal murder. He joked that he would only answer if “you don’t make me a guest at the Ritz,” referring to the Ritz-Carlton hotel where Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman detained dozens of public figures as part of his dubious “anti-corruption” drive. Barrack went on, referring to Khashoggi: “Whatever happened in Saudi Arabia, the atrocities in America are equal, or worse... The atrocities in any... country are dictated by the rule of law... So for us to dictate what we think is the moral code there, when we have a young man and regime that is trying to push themselves into 2030, I think is a mistake.” Barrack’s ties to Trump go back decades and he served as a top fundraiser for Trump’s 2016 campaign and as chairman of his inaugural committee.
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