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- White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in an Axios on HBO interview that aired Sunday would not blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
- “Look, it’s a horrific thing that happened…Once we have all the facts, then we’ll make a policy determination, but that would be up to the Secretary of State to push on our policy,” Kushner said.
- Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2018.
- The CIA has reportedly concluded Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s killing and the Senate unanimously approved a measure blaming the Saudi crown prince for his death.
- Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist who had been living in the US and writing for The Washington Post prior to his killing.
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White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in an Axios on HBO interview that aired Sunday would not blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi’s death, maintaining the Trump administration’s unwavering support for the controversial leader and going against widely held views in Washington and beyond.
The CIA reportedly concluded with “high confidence” that Prince Mohammed was behind the killing of the Saudi journalist, who was brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. Khashoggi had been living in the US and writing columns for The Washington Post at the time of his killing. Khashoggi was often critical of the Saudi royal family in his writing.
The Senate also unanimously approved a measure that the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, ordered Khashoggi’s death.
But Kushner, who has fostered a close relationship with Prince Mohammed, is apparently not in agreement and said he wants to wait for the “facts.”
During the interview, which aired exactly eight months after Khashoggi was killed, Kushner also declined to echo calls from Khashoggi’s fiancee for the murdered journalist’s body to be released to his family. It’s still not clear where Khashoggi’s body, which was reportedly dismembered, ended up after he was killed.
“Look, it’s a horrific thing that happened…Once we have all the facts, then we’ll make a policy determination, but that would be up to the Secretary of State to push on our policy,” Kushner said.
Trump on Sunday evening also would not blame Prince Mohammed when questioned by reporters at the White House. “When did this come up again?” Trump said. “What are you back … are you back four months ago? No.”
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and President Donald Trump continue to stand by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and won't blame him for the death of Jamal Khashoggi. pic.twitter.com/4glUYr4Yxi
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) June 3, 2019
The Trump administration has faced widespread criticism for standing by the Saudi royal family, and particularly Prince Mohammed, following Khashoggi’s killing.
Prince Mohammed and Kushner’s relationship has repeatedly been called into question since Khashoggi’s death, as the crown prince has reportedly boasted he has the president’s son-in-law in “his pocket.”
Bolstered by uproar over Khashoggi’s killing, Congress earlier this year passed a resolution to end US support for Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war. Despite bipartisan support for the resolution, Trump issued the second veto of his presidency against it.