Trump on Khashoggi's Death: Maybe Blame the World

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 'hates it more than I do,' he says
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2018 1:30 PM CST
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President Donald Trump waves as he leaves the room following his talk with reporters and troops via teleconference from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – In a session with reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Thanksgiving, President Trump was pressed about Jamal Khashoggi's death and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's role in it, and the president didn't budge. The Washington Post reports he held his position of refusing to blame MBS. "He denies it vehemently," Trump said, declining to get more specific than "maybe he did, maybe he didn't [order it]." He continued, "I hate the crime, I hate the coverup. I will tell you this: The crown prince hates it more than I do, and they have vehemently denied it." As for the CIA's position, Trump said the agency had "feelings" but did not assign blame. "The CIA doesn’t say [he] 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."

So who is to blame? "Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a very, very vicious place," he said. Politico reports Trump was asked whether the CIA was in possession of a recording that would prove MBS was involved. "I don’t want to talk about it. You’ll have to ask them," he said. That question followed a Thursday report in Turkey's Hürriyet Daily News that claims the CIA has listened to a "smoking gun phone call" involving MBS. USA Today, which like other US media outlets could not verify the report, has a key line from it: "The crown prince gave an instruction to silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during [a] CIA wiretapping." (Trump also discussed closing the whole border with Mexico.)

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