President Donald Trump on Thursday said that the CIA did not reach a conclusion about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, adding during a teleconference with military members that Salman “regretted the death more than I do.”
The president had previously declined to confirm or deny reports that the CIA had concluded the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s assassination. When asked who should be blamed instead, Trump said “maybe the world” because it’s a “vicious, vicious place,” and referenced oil prices as a reason not to punish Saudi Arabia further, according to pool reports.
Later, he responded to a question on the crown prince’s potential involvement: “Whether he did or whether he didn’t, he denies it vehemently. His father denies, the king, vehemently. The CIA doesn’t say they did it. They do point out certain things, and in pointing out those things, you can conclude that maybe he did or maybe he didn’t.”
Trump brushes aside CIA assertion that crown prince ordered killing, defends him and Saudi Arabia https://t.co/5u6xgOk0vG
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 23, 2018
The CIA reportedly has a recording in which the Saudi crown prince can be heard giving the order to “silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible” https://t.co/31oCEgtf6w
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 22, 2018