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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Audio reportedly includes horrific details of Khashoggi's death

  • In posthumous final column, Khashoggi calls for Arab press freedoms

  • Rod Rosenstein defends Mueller probe, calls it 'appropriate and independent'

  • Don McGahn is out as White House counsel

  • YA classic Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is being made into a movie

Turkish officials released details Wednesday from an audio recording that purportedly proves that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed minutes after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. The audio, as described to The Wall Street Journal, includes the voice of a Saudi forensic specialist, who reportedly told witnesses to listen to music while he dismembered Khashoggi. The recording also reportedly shows that Khashoggi had his fingers severed and was later beheaded. President Trump said he has asked for the audio evidence "if it exists." He defended Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, saying it wasn't fair to condemn the country before it completes its investigation. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, "totally denied any knowledge" of Khashoggi's fate, said Trump.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times

The Washington Post published Jamal Khashoggi's presumptive final column on Wednesday night, appended with a somber note from Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah. Attiah wrote that she received the column, titled "What the Arab World Needs Most is Free Expression," from Khashoggi's translator and assistant one day after he was reported missing and presumed murdered in Istanbul earlier this month. "This column perfectly captures his commitment and passion for freedom in the Arab world," she wrote. "A freedom he apparently gave his life for." In his column, Khashoggi, widely believed to have been murdered by the Saudi government, said that Arabs without a free press are "unable to adequately address, much less publicly discuss, matters that affect the region and their day-to-day lives."

Source: The Washington Post

During an interview Wednesday with The Wall Street Journal, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is "appropriate and independent," and when everything is over, "the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources." He would not speculate on when the investigation might be finished, but did note that the probe has already uncovered a massive effort by Russians to interfere in the election. Rosenstein also would not comment on a report that he suggested secretly recording President Trump, an allegation he has denied, or how that affected their relationship.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Wednesday was Don McGahn's last day as White House counsel, The Associated Press reports, after a 21-month tenure. In an interview with AP on Tuesday, President Trump said Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone would replace McGahn, and the president reportedly had a 20-minute farewell meeting with McGahn on Wednesday. McGahn served as the Trump campaign's general counsel, and in August, Trump announced McGahn would leave after Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court. During his time in the White House, McGahn pushed for young conservatives to fill the Supreme Court, and reportedly threatened to quit in 2017 when Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He also cooperated with the Mueller investigation, sitting for about 30 hours of interviews.

Source: The Associated Press, CNN

The Judy Blume classic Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret was first published in 1970, and after decades of turning down producers, the author has agreed to turn the book into a movie. Blume granted the rights to producer James L. Brooks and Kelly Fremon Craig, who collaborated on the 2016 movie The Edge of Seventeen. Fremon Craig will adapt and direct Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, a book that she told Deadline is "a right of passage for women and girls." Margaret is a sixth grader dealing with moving from New York City to New Jersey, her parents having different faiths, making new friends, boys, and the changes that come with growing up.

Source: Deadline
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