Trump suggests 'the world' is to blame for Khashoggi's murder, because it's 'vicious'

  • President Donald Trump on Thursday doubled down on his defence of the Saudi crown prince in the murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, disputing the CIA’s reported assessment that the royals had ordered Khashoggi’s killing.
  • From his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman regretted Khashoggi’s death more than Trump did, according to pool reports.
  • When asked by reporters who should be held responsible for Khashoggi’s death, Trump said “maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday disputed the CIA’s reported assessment that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had ordered the killing of a journalist, saying that the intelligence agency never reached a conclusion.

Trump’s remarks contradict the reporting of multiple news outlets that say the CIA concluded with “high confidence” that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered that Jamal Khashoggi be murdered.

From his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said Thursday that the Saudi crown prince regretted the incident more than Trump did, according to pool reports.

“So I hate the crime and I hate what is done and I hate the cover-up,” he said. “And I will tell you this: the crown prince hates it more than I do.”

Read more: A huge question looms over Trump after the CIA reportedly concludes the Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s killing

When asked by reporters who should be held responsible for Khashoggi’s death, Trump doubled down on the notion that rebuking Saudi Arabia more harshly would cost the US.

“Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place,” Trump said. “Do people really want me to give up hundreds of thousands of jobs – and frankly, if we went by this standard, we wouldn’t have anybody as an ally.”

Trump had prompted bipartisan condemnation on Tuesday after he released a statement refusing to blame Saudi Arabia’s leadership for Khashoggi’s death, saying the US-Saudi relationship was “paramount.”

“The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone,” Trump said in the statement. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.”

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