'Maybe he did, maybe he didn't': Trump backs Saudis after killing

April FrancisNov 21, 2018

The statement came after Trump said he would be receiving a full report on the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last month, and after the Washington Post reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had assessed with high confidence that the Crown Prince ordered Khashoggi's death.

"Trump's statement began with the striking line:" The world is a very unsafe place!"

Perhaps most jarring is his casual observation that the Saudis viewed Khashoggi - a permanent USA resident - as an "enemy of the state" with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that claims by the Central Intelligence Agency that Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi's murder were false.

The US president says America plans to remain a "steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ' he asserted.

As he has in the past with Vladimir Putin, Trump put official denials of wrongdoing from Riyadh on a par with United States intelligence assessments.

Today, the Trump administration released an official presidential statement on Saudi Arabia and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The president acknowledged that members of Congress will demand repercussions on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's killing.

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Trump called the killing of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a "horrible crime" that the U.S. does not condone, but said Saudi Arabia is a "great ally" and cancelling billions in arms sales would only benefit China and Russian Federation, which would be glad to step in and make the sales.

The United States has refrained from blaming the crown prince for the murder.

"There was no surveillance within the consulate [and] we will not reveal the source of the recordings", Akar told the BBC.

The U.S. has sanctioned 17 Saudis for the killing of Khashoggi, including close aides of Prince Mohammed, and is set to make final conclusions this week.

Trump has for weeks resisted accepting mounting evidence of Saudi government involvement in the Khashoggi killing - and accusations that MBS ordered the hit.

He added that Turkey would not be making the recordings public but stressed that the decision would "depend on the situation" and at the "control of the public prosecution office". But he did not explain why he mentioned the smear against Khashoggi at all.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the move was "coordinated very closely with" states France and Britain and the broader EU. He argues the USA can't afford to alienate Riyadh due to oil and Iran.

Trump, however, pointed out that King Salman and the prince "vigorously deny any knowledge" of the murder, per the Washington Post.

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