A day after news came out that U.S.’s Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at the behest the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), US President Donald Trump says he has been briefed on the recording that contains audio proof of Washington Post columnist’s killing - but says he will not listen to it himself.
While speaking to Fox News in an exclusive interview, Trump said, "It's a suffering tape, it's a terrible tape." "I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it," he told Fox. "It was very violent, very vicious and terrible." He said he was advised not to hear it.
The U.S. State Department said it will release a report on the journalist’s death on Tuesday, November 20. "Recent reports indicating that the US government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Saturday. "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."
But despite there being a growing pile of proof against the top leaders in Saudi Arabia in the death of Khashoggi, the US President seems unwilling to censure Riyadh. During his Fox interview, Trump defended his actions. "You saw we put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia," Trump said. "But at the same time we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good."
Hours after the Fox interview, Trump also said MBS told him directly he had nothing to do with Khashoggi's killing. Trump also said he wonders: "Will anybody really know?"
Saudi Arabia has refuted the claim and denied Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had any knowledge of the murder. This despite the fact that Saudi Arabia has admitted Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi authorities have also announced that Riyadh was seeking the death penalty for five people accused of "ordering and committing" the murder.