Donald Trump's administration is helping the Saudi Crown Prince cover up the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a former CIA officer turned CNN analyst claims.
CNN intelligence analyst Bob Baer said that the White House is scrambling with the apparent evidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly involved in the murder of the Washington Post journalist. Baer claimed that Saudi Arabia is too volatile for the White House to push the Crown Prince out of power, so instead of creating new instability in the Middle East, the White House is forced to help cover up his alleged involvement with Khashoggi's murder.
"Frankly the White House at this point doesn't know what to do," Baer said.
"We have a psychopath in Riyad controlling this country."The Trump administration has been hesitant to directly condemn Saudi Arabia and especially Crown Prince Mohammed for Khashoggi's death. In the days after it was first reported that Khashoggi was murdered by a team of Saudi agents, Donald Trump said he did not want the killing to jeopardize a multi-billion dollar arms deal that the United States has struck with Saudi Arabia.
And on Tuesday, National Security Adviser John Bolton said that audio recording of Khashoggi's murder that Turkish officials said links Saudi Arabia to his murder did not directly implicate Crown Prince Mohammed.
"That's not the conclusion that I think the people who heard it have come to," Bolton said at a press briefing in Singapore (via the Washington Post).After initially denying any knowledge of involvement in Jamal Khashoggi's murder, Saudi officials have since offered a series of changing explanations for how he was killed. They initially said he died in a fist fight, then said Khashoggi was killed unintentionally before finally admitting that his killing was premeditated.Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has taken a more direct stance on the killing, blaming Saudi Arabia and saying the murder was ordered from the "highest levels" of the Saudi government.
Erdogan said he has called on Saudi Arabia for an explanation but has not yet gotten a response.
"The crown prince says, 'I will clarify the matter, I will do what is necessary.' We are waiting patiently," he said.
Meanwhile, there is increasing evidence that there was much-advanced planning of Jamal Khashoggi's murder. A recent report from the New York Times claimed that last year, Saudi officials had sought information about using private companies to assassinate Iranian enemies.