Trump issued a written statement yesterday explaining that, despite all the evidence, he has chosen to side with the Saudi regime over Jamal Khashoggi’s killing.
Subtitled, “America First,” the statement was reportedly awash in exclamation points.
The president’s insistence on continuing to support the Saudi regime comes after the CIA confirmed that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was almost certainly the decision-maker behind Khashoggi’s assassination.
The CIA has joined Turkey in accusing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The assertion that the Crown Prince — known as MBS — was indeed responsible for the death of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi is in direct contradiction with the Saudi government’s claims.
More than a dozen Saudi officials have been arrested in connection with the murder, a handful are facing the death penalty, and the monarchy has named a senior intelligence official as the leader of the hit-team.
The Washington Post is reporting that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told White House officials that Jamal Khashoggi was a terrorist.
According to the report, bin Salman, better known as MBS, was on a call with White House advisor Jared Kushner and National Security Advisor John Bolton when he made the accusation.
The crown prince falsely claimed that Khashoggi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that the Saudi government has classified as a terrorist organization.
The Saudi government is refusing requests made by Turkey to extradite the individuals suspected of assassinating Jamal Khashoggi.
Because the murder was committed in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has requested that the suspects be extradited to Turkey for trial.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has said instead that the 18 suspects will be tried in Saudi Arabia following an investigation conducted by the Saudi government.
The United Nations has called for the launch of an international investigation into the disappearance and apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
The call for an investigation comes after the Saudi government finally admitted that Khashoggi was in fact killed in a premeditated act of violence after initially claiming that he was killed in a fist fight.
All this is occurring even as the Turkish government has made it clear that they have not yet released the full extent of materials related to Khashoggi’s disappearance and murder, insinuating that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could force the Saudi’s hand if they refuse to cooperate.
After weeks of denial, the Saudi government has acknowledged Jamal Khashoggi’s death and claim that he was killed in a fist fight.
Since very few, if any, fist fights end in dismemberment and the smuggling of body parts out of a country, all evidence points to the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directing his inner circle to take the fall for his operation.
The Saudi government has said that 18 of its citizens have been detained in connection with the murder.
Tensions are rising as the Saudi government tries to play off Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination as an “interrogation gone wrong.”
Khashoggi was a loyalist Saudi journalist who had written critiques of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was living in exile in the United States as a result of his writings.
According to a Turkish official who spoke with CNN, Khashoggi was assassinated inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and his body was dismembered using a bone saw before the pieces were smuggled out of the country.
The Trump administration is facing its first diplomatic crisis following confirmation that Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated by Saudi operatives.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was reportedly lured to Saudi Arabia by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, with a document Khashoggi needed for his upcoming wedding.
Both the president and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have enjoyed cozy relationships with the Saudi royal family, so this incident may cause more than just diplomatic tension.