President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the gruesome murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, telling reporters at Mar-a-Lago over Thanksgiving:
“[The CIA] didn’t conclude. No no, they didn’t conclude. I’m sorry. No they didn’t conclude. They did not come to a conclusion. They have feelings certain ways. I have the report … they have not concluded, I don’t know if anyone’s going to be able to conclude the crown prince did it.”
Now, however, the CIA has shared a report with the Wall Street Journal which directly contradicts the president’s comments. That report contains intelligence intercepts in which bin Salman boldly stated:
“We could possibly lure [Khashoggi] outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements.”
The Journal goes on to note:
“The electronic messages sent by Prince Mohammed were to Saud al-Qahtani, according to the CIA. Mr. Qahtani supervised the 15-man team that killed Mr. Khashoggi and, during the same period, was also in direct communication with the team’s leader in Istanbul, the assessment says. The content of the messages between Prince Mohammed and Mr. Qahtani isn’t known, the document says. It doesn’t say in what form the messages were sent.”
This is just the latest information that would seem to prove Trump is willing to let the crown prince get away with murder even though he initially said he would consider taking actions against Saudi Arabia if there was proof of the kingdom’s connection to Khashoggi’s death. Trump has repeatedly defended bin Salman, suggesting that the crown prince may or may not have played a role in the murder, but asserting he takes bin Salman’s word.
Democrats, who take control of the House in January, say they will hold hearings on Kahashoggi’s murder and have also threatened to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia if it can be proven that bin Salman ordered the journalist’s murder.
Featured Image Via C-SPAN