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Trump doubles down on defense of Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi death

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donald trump
President
Donald Trump speaks to reporters following his teleconference
with troops from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.,
Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018.

Associated
Press/Susan Walsh


  • President Donald Trump on Thursday doubled down on his
    defense of the Saudi crown prince in the murder of Saudi critic
    Jamal Khashoggi, disputing the CIA’s reported assessment that the
    royals had ordered Khashoggi’s killing.
  • From his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said Crown
    Prince Mohammed bin Salman regretted Khashoggi’s death more than
    Trump did, according to pool reports.
  • When asked by reporters who should be held responsible for
    Khashoggi’s death, Trump said “maybe the world should be held
    accountable because the world is a vicious place.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday disputed the CIA’s reported assessment that
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had ordered the killing of a
journalist, saying that the intelligence agency never reached a
conclusion.

Trump’s remarks contradict the reporting of multiple news outlets
that say the CIA concluded with “high confidence” that Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered that Jamal
Khashoggi be murdered.

From his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said Thursday that
the Saudi crown prince regretted the incident more than Trump
did, according to pool reports.

“So I hate the crime and I hate what is done and I hate the
cover-up,” he said. “And I will tell you this: the crown prince
hates it more than I do.”

Read more: A huge question looms over Trump
after the CIA reportedly concludes the Saudi crown prince ordered
Jamal Khashoggi’s killing

When asked by reporters who should be held responsible for
Khashoggi’s death, Trump doubled down on the notion that rebuking
Saudi Arabia more harshly would cost the US.

“Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is
a vicious place,” Trump said. “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 had prompted bipartisan condemnation on Tuesday after he
released a statement refusing
to blame Saudi Arabia’s leadership for Khashoggi’s death, saying
the US-Saudi relationship was “paramount.”

“The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one
that our country does not condone,” Trump said in the statement.
“In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight
against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast
partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country,
Israel and all other partners in the region.”

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