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Trump stands with Saudi Arabia before CIA report on Khashoggi’s murder

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  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday released a lengthy defense
    of Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal
    Khashoggi.
  • Trump signaled he does not intend to personally call for
    significant changes to the US-Saudi relationship.
  • The president also would not state whether Crown Prince
    Mohammed bin Salman, the de factor ruler of the kingdom, was
    responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday released a lengthy defense of
Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal
Khashoggi.

In doing so, Trump signaled he does not intend to personally call
for significant changes to the US-Saudi relationship despite
bipartisan calls in Congress for America to reevaluate the
partnership in the wake of the brutal killing.

“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.”

Trump added that maintaining the US-Saudi relationship is
“paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism
throughout the world!”

The president also would not state whether Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman, the de factor ruler of the kingdom, was responsible
for Khashoggi’s death. Prince Mohammed is widely suspected of
orchestrating the killing.

“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny
any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr.
Khashoggi,” Trump said. “Our intelligence agencies continue to
assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown
Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and
maybe he didn’t!”

The president acknowledged there are calls in Congress for more
significant actions to be taken against Saudi Arabia and said he
would “consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if
they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of
America.”

This all comes less than a week after a bombshell report from The
Washington Post alleging the CIA had concluded with “high
confidence” that Prince Mohammed directly ordered Khashoggi’s
killing. 

The CIA was expected to deliver a report to Trump on Khashoggi’s
killing later on Tuesday. 

This is a developing story.  

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