The world was rocked in October by the sudden disappearance of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he had entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Within weeks of his October 2 disappearance, it was confirmed that the Washington Post journalist had been killed inside the consulate, and so began a slew of accusations leveled at the Saudi Arabian government and just as many denials out of Riyadh.
While the Saudis’ story has changed numerous times since October 2, they finally admitted Khashoggi had died at their hands, and investigations began around the world to determine who had ordered his murder. In the United States, the CIA concluded after their investigation that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was responsible, with “zero chance” that he had nothing to do with it. But since then, Washington has made it clear that those in the White House don’t take their own intelligence agency’s investigation as their singular resource.
As reported by Haaretz, Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, recently advised Mohammed bin Salman on how to survive the fallout from Khashoggi’s death. Despite protocols for communication with foreign leaders, Kushner continued to meet informally with the Saudi Crown Prince following the murder.
On Monday night, Kushner appeared on Fox News speaking to Sean Hannity, vowing that the U.S. would get to the bottom of Khashoggi’s brutal killing.
Jared Kushner downplays MBS' role in Khashoggi murder on Hannity https://t.co/tOyOCQdc3C
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 11, 2018
Both Kushner and Hannity ignored the evidence already collected and investigated by the CIA during their discussion, with Kushner instead insisting “we’re hoping to make sure that there’s justice brought where that should be.” This is very much in line with the Trump line of thinking that has refused to implicate the crown prince in the murder.
According to Kushner, intelligence agencies in the United States are still investigating the killing.
One report from a Saudi source states that Kushner gave “advice about how to weather the storm, urging him to resolve his conflicts around the region and avoid further embarrassments.” Apparently, a delegation of Saudis also identified Kushner as “a crucial focal point in the courtship of the new administration” in the early days of Trump’s presidency.
Despite the attitude from the White House, U.S. senators are “considering multiple pieces of legislation” that would formally rebuke the Saudi crown prince for his part in Khashoggi’s brutal slaying. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker explained on Thursday that a number of plans are taking hold, including “condemning the crown prince for Khashoggi’s murder, a bill to suspend arms sales to the kingdom, and a resolution to call on President Donald Trump’s administration to pull back U.S. help for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.”
According to Corker, all three of these plans have momentum and support behind them from the Senate. The decision regarding Yemen is set to be voted on next week already.