President Donald Trump Said
President Donald Trump said he had spoken with CIA Director Gina Haspel on Saturday. The agency’s finding that Saudi Crown Prince Md. Bin Salman had ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And that there will be a “very full report” on the matter.
CIA had assessed with high confidence the Saudi leader’s role, based on multiple sources of intelligence. But the president had already been shown evidence of the prince’s alleged involvement in the killing. And privately he remains skeptical, president Trump aides said. He has also looked for the ways to avoid pinning the blame on Prince.
Trump spoke with Haspel and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his California flight to tour areas damaged by the wildfires there. While touring fire damage in Malibu, Trump confirmed that he had spoken with Haspel. Asked about reports that the CIA had assessed involvement by Mohammed, the president said: “They haven’t assessed anything yet. It’s too early.”
“It’s a horrible thing that took place, the killing of a journalist,” he said, adding that there would be an “a report on Tuesday” that will address what, “we think the overall impact was and who caused it, and who did it.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a statement Saturday that did not directly address the CIA’s findings of Mohammed or mention him.
“Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” she said. “There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts. In the meantime, we will continue to consult Congress, and work with other nations to hold accountable those involved in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”
CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination. Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no knowledge of the operation. The CIA’s latest findings contradict that assertion.
CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination
The president’s skepticism has put him at odds with the findings of the CIA and senior intelligence officials.
Haspel and John Bolton, the national security adviser, have briefed Trump on the intelligence community’s findings, with Haspel offering pieces of evidence that show lieutenants of Mohammed were directly involved in the killing, according to people familiar with the matter.
[Saudi Arabia distances crown prince from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi]
In conversations with his intelligence and national security advisers, the president has seized on the question of whether the evidence shows that Mohammed “ordered” Khashoggi’s death, asserting that his advisers haven’t offered him definitive proof. He has also asked CIA and State Department officials where Khashoggi’s body is and has grown frustrated that the journalist’s remains haven’t been found.
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