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In Call to White House, Prince Bad-Mouthed Khashoggi

Saudi prince accused him of belonging to Muslim Brotherhood, say reports
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2018 1:39 PM CDT
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.   (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

(Newser) – In public, the Saudi crown prince has condemned the killing of Jamal Khashoggi while the journalist was in Saudi hands. Specifically, Mohammed bin Salman called the death a "tragedy" and a "heinous crime that cannot be justified." But in private, the crown prince expressed a different view about Khashoggi, report the Washington Post and the New York Times. Bin Salman spoke on the phone to Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton after Khashoggi was reported missing and described him as a "dangerous Islamist" who belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood, per the Post. Both newspapers say the call took place before the Saudis acknowledged that Khashoggi died while in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

The stories do not report the reactions of Bolton, who has long opposed the Muslim Brotherhood, or of Kushner, and there's no indication that either agreed with the sentiment. Khashoggi's family insists he did not belong to the group. "He denied such claims repeatedly over the past several years," says a family statement. "Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible. To claim otherwise would be ridiculous.” The White House, meanwhile, has concluded that the crown prince is likely to keep his grip on power despite the controversy and will not cut ties with him, according to the Times. (A top Turkish prosecutor says Khashoggi was strangled immediately upon entering the building.)

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