- Saudi Arabia praised the Trump administration on Sunday for their “prudent” stance on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in October by Saudi agents.
- President Donald Trump and Jared Kusher have been keen to downplay any personal involvement by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
- This is despite reports asserting that the CIA is all but certain that Crown Prince Mohammed ordered the killing personally.
- The US Senate broke ranks with the president, and passed a resolution pinning the blame on the prince.
- Saudi Arabia – after changing its story several times – says that the death was a rogue operation, and is putting 18 people on trial for it.
Saudi Arabia has praised the “prudent” Trump administration for its stance on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, which has seen the president and other senior figures help Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman avoid any blame.
The quote appeared in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency on Sunday: “The Kingdom appreciates the prudent position taken by the United States Government and its institutions regarding the recent developments.”
Saudi Arabia was responding to a motion passed by the US Senate, which broke ranks with President Donald Trump to directly blame Crown Prince Mohammed for ordering the murder, a stance reportedly backed up by the CIA.
While praising Trump, the Saudi statement called the US Senate motion “baseless,” and characterised it as “blatant interference” in its domestic politics.
By contrast, Trump and his most senior aides have offered comfort for Crown Prince Mohammed even as damning headlines stacked up.
In October, Trump said in an interview “I hope that the king and the crown prince didn’t know about” the killing.
A few weeks later Trump prevaricated on who could have been to blame, saying of Crown Prince Mohammed “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” know about the killing.
Trump has compared the media’s pursuit of the story to accusations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and has suggested that “maybe the world should be held accountable.“
Last week Jared Kushner also studiously avoided mentioning the crown prince’s name when Fox News host Sean Hannity asked him about the murder last week. Kushner framed the killing as a distraction which was getting in the way of broader US ambitions in the Middle East.
When asked about the CIA’s assessment, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to implicate bin Salman too. He told reporters on November 28: “There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi.”
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied that Crown Prince Mohammed was involved in Khashoggi’s death, even as it changed other elements of its narrative around exactly what happened when he died.
The Kingdom maintains that his death at the hands of Saudi agents in the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, was a rogue operation.
18 people have been charged with involvement, five of whom could be put to death if found guilty.
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