President Donald Trump attempted to move on from the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday, saying in a statement that the United States needed to move on with its relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the statement read.
“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi,” it added. “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!”
Last weekend, the CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi, various outlets reported.
The Trump statement — which opened with a reminder that the world was a “very dangerous place” — accused Khashoggi of affiliating with the “Muslim Brotherhood.”
The statement from the White House firmly suggests that President Trump will continue to back the current leadership of the country.
The position from Saudi Arabia has repeatedly shifted as new developments unfolded. The Kingdom has now admitted that an assassination was undertaken by rogue elements within the regime. The country has remained firm throughout, however, that the royal leadership was unaware of the plot — something most neutral observers and the U.S. CIA now say is impossible.
Last week, Saudi Arabia charged 11 in connection to the killer with kingdom prosecutors saying they would seek the death penalty.