Donald Trump on Thursday doubled down on his faith in the Saudi Arabian government’s explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying that the world is a vicious place and so maybe the world at large bears responsibility, CBS News is reporting. Trump also claimed that the CIA did not conclude that Saudi Arabia’s royal family had a hand in Khashoggi’s death, when in fact, the intelligence agency did allegedly conclude that very thing.
Speaking to reporters after a Thanksgiving Day phone call with overseas troops, Trump reiterated his belief, which he originally expressed on Tuesday, that he believes Saudi Arabia’s explanation for the death of the dissident journalist – namely, that neither Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman nor his father had anything to do with it.
He then went on to suggest that Jamal Khashoggi’s death was the result of something larger.
“Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place.”
Khashoggi, who had written extensively about his displeasure with his former homeland, and indeed, with the Middle Eastern and Muslim worlds at large, for a variety of reasons. One of his favorite topics was the Arab world’s suppression of the freedom of the press.
Khashoggi went into the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul on October 2 in order to obtain some paperwork he needed. He never came out; later investigation revealed that he was tortured, murdered, and dismembered by 18 Saudi nationals. The Saudi Arabian government, and specifically Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have “vehemently” denied that the repressive Middle Eastern regime ordered his death.
This is a selfie Jamal #Khashoggi took when I first took him to the @washingtonpost newsroom and showed him around. He was so happy to be back in a newsroom after being banned from writing in Saudi Arabia.
— Karen Attiah (@KarenAttiah) November 21, 2018
As reported by the Inquisitr, there’s an audio recording that purports to be of the murder, which supposedly implicates the Saudi crown prince. Trump has reportedly refused to listen to it. Similarly, according to a companion CBS News report, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has concluded that the Saudi royal family is likely behind the killing; Trump said on Thursday that the CIA “never concluded” that Saudis were behind the Khashoggi killing, even though they did seem to conclude that very thing.
Meanwhile, Trump has made statements that seem to suggest that his reason for siding with the Saudi government is because to do otherwise would jeopardize the USA’s relationship with the oil producer.
“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 has also ordered that there will be no sanctions or other further punishment against Saudi Arabia over the killing.