U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to review a full report from his administration Tuesday about the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey last month.
Multiple U.S. news agencies have cited U.S. intelligence officials saying the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the October 2 killing.
The State Department said publicly Saturday no final conclusions had been reached.
Saudi officials have denied the crown prince had anything to do with Khashoggi’s killing, and Trump has called reports blaming the crown prince as “premature.”
A Saudi prosecutor cleared the crown prince of wrongdoing last week while calling for the death penalty for five men, announcing indictments against 11. The prosecutor said a total of 21 people had been detained in connection with the killing.
Germany’s foreign minister said Monday that Berlin will ban 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone because of their alleged links to Khashoggi’s killing. Heiko Maas said he had consulted with France and Britain before announcing the ban.
“There are more questions than answers in this case, with the crime itself and who is behind it,” Mass said on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Brussels.
Trump says he has been fully briefed on an audio recording of the killing of the dissident Saudi journalist inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul last month, but has no intention of listening to it because of the violence it depicts.
“It’s a suffering tape. It’s a terrible tape,” Trump told the Fox News cable television station in a White House interview that was recorded Friday.
“It’s very violent, very vicious and terrible,” Trump said.
Asked in the Fox interview if the crown prince lied to him about his involvement, Trump replied, “I don’t know. Who can really know?” adding, “He told me that he had nothing to do with it. He told me that, I would say, maybe five times at different points, as recently as a few days ago.”
Fox interviewer Chris Wallace asked Trump whether he would go along with moves in Congress to cut off U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen or halt arms sales to Riyadh.
Trump said it depends, “I want to see Yemen end. It takes two to tango and Iran has to end also. I want Saudi to stop, but I want Iran to stop also.”
Khashoggi, who wrote opinion columns for The Post and was a critic of the Saudi crown prince, was killed at the Saudi consulate while he was trying to get documents for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman. (VOA)