A Thursday report from Business Insider covered an excerpt from veteran reporter Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book, Rage, which includes 18 interviews with Donald Trump. In one discussion, the president allegedly boasted about protecting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman after the country’s apparent cover-up of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“I saved his a**,” Trump was quoted as saying in a January 22 interview. “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop.”
Trump received criticism for supposedly circumventing Congress in the wake of the murder to sell $8 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. During the interview with Woodward, Trump noted that Saudi Arabia has spent billions on American products and highlighted the crown prince’s claim of innocence.
“He will always say that he didn’t do it. He says that to everybody, and frankly I’m happy that he says that. But he will say that to you, he will say that to Congress, and he will say that to everybody. He’s never said he did it.”
Trump reportedly added that he doesn’t believe MBS killed Khashoggi and said the country understands that they rely on the United States for survival.
As reported by The New York Times, Saudi Arabia’s court announced on Monday that five of the eight defendants accused of their involvement in the assassination have been sentenced to 20 years in prison each. In addition, two were sentenced to 17 years each, and one was given 10 years. Although the Saudi court sentenced five of the men to death in December, the case was classified to allow Khashoggi’s heirs to pardon the men and spare them the death sentence.
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancée at the time of his murder, accused the Islamic theocracy of protecting Khashoggi’s killings.
“The Saudi authorities are playing out what they hope will be the final act in their well-rehearsed parody of justice in front of an international community far too ready to be deceived.”
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump previously pushed back on the idea of sanctions against Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the assassination and claimed that such a course of action would cost the U.S. $110 billion. But a subsequent fact-check from The Brookings Institute contended that there is no such deal amounting to that number.
The president also controversially vetoed a bipartisan bill to cut American support for Saudi Arabia in the Yemen War. According to Business Insider, the Saudi forces have murdered civilians using U.S.-made bombs.