Donald Trump refuses to listen to an audio recording of the actual murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi Arabian death squad, a tape that provides key evidence that could link the brutal assassination of the 60-year-old Washington Post columnist directly to the Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Trump himself admitted that he will not listen to the tape in an interview Sunday with Fox News, as reported by Axios.
“I don’t want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape,” Trump said in the interview, as quoted by CNN’s Jim Sciutto. “It was very violent, very vicious and terrible.”
“It’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape… I know exactly, I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it,” Trump added, according to Axios.
As Inquisitr has reported, the leader of the 15-man hit team is believed to have phoned Bin Salman’s private office four times. The tape reveals, according to an account by the New York Times, that apparently in one of those calls, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb — an officer in the Saudi intelligence services — instructed the person on the other end to “tell your boss” that “the deed was done.”
The “boss” is believed by United States intelligence officials to be “MBS,” that is, Bin Salman himself, according to the Guardian.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has reportedly concluded that Bin Salman personally ordered the killing of Khashoggi, but Trump said that he does not necessarily accept the CIA’s conclusion, according to a Politico account of Trump’s Sunday interview.
“I don’t know. Who could really know?” Trump said when asked if he believed that Bin Salman was implicated in the Khashoggi killing. “But I can say this, he’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge.” Trump also repeated his previously stated assertion that when he spoke to Bin Salman, the prince denied any link to the murder.
Khashoggi was killed in brutal fashion by the Saudi death squad inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2. The tape reveals that he was killed by a plastic bag being pulled over his head, and Khashoggi can be heard pleading with his killers, “I’m suffocating! Take this bag off my head! I’m claustrophobic,” according accounts cited in an earlier Inquisitr report.
But Trump also indicated in the interview that even if he learns that Bin Salman was involved, he may not do anything significant about it. “At the same time we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally,” he said, quoted by CBS correspondent Mark Knoller.
The evidence that Bin Salman may have ordered the killing of Khashoggi and that Trump chooses to take no action against him — and may have even known about the Prince’s involvement — carries chilling implications, according to former Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, who served under President Barack Obama, writing on his Twitter account.
“We are faced with the real possibility that Trump has had info from his own intel community that MBS was responsible for murdering a journalist who wrote for the Washington Post and lied about it / tried to help MBS get past it. Must be investigated,” Rhodes wrote.
“It’s not just a question of what they do now. It’s whether they’ve been lying for weeks to cover for MBS,” Rhodes added on Twitter. “For the CIA to have a high confidence assessment now, they’ve likely had info implicating MBS for a while. Yet Trump / Pompeo stood by MBS. Why?”