Jared Kushner warned Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Monday that it was critical he come clean about the kingdom’s involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Bin Salman should “be fully transparent,” Kushner said during an interview with CNN contributor Van Jones on Monday, repeating advice he said he told his royal counterpart.
“The world is watching,” said the White House adviser and husband of President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka. “This is a very serious accusation and a very serious situation and take this very seriously.”
Beyond that, Kushner stuck closely to the Trump administration’s wait-and-see approach to the unfolding bipartisan furor over murdered Washington Post columnist, saying repeatedly that President Trump was still assessing all the facts. Kushner — like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — took pains to cite the importance of U.S.-Saudi relations.
“We have to be able to work with our allies and Saudi Arabia has been a very strong ally in pushing back against Iran’s aggression,” he said. “We have a lot of terrorism in the region. The Middle East is a rough place. It’s been a rough place at the wrong time. We have to pursue our strategic objectives.”
Kushner sat for a wide ranging discussion that touched upon prison reform, Middle East peace, the Khashoggi murder and more, underscoring his informal title as “secretary of everything.”
On prison reform, Kushner spoke at length about his role in the the First Step Act, which recently passed the House of Representatives by a substantial bipartisan majority. Kushner said it was a first step which showed the Trump administration’s commitment to prison reform.
Kushner said — believe it or not — the issue resonated with President Trump.
“This is an issue that’s really hit his hard,” said Kushner, who argued that the real estate billionaire identified incarcerated prisoners as part of the forgotten people who make up his political base.
“I think he sees it as a fairness issue,” said Kushner.