BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:40 A.M.) -US President Donald Trump defended ties with Saudi Arabia despite its apparent involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as he left the White House on Tuesday.
Challenged on why he was siding with the Saudis instead of US intelligence agencies, Trump said it was in line with his “America first” policy.
“Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with me. What does have to do with me is putting America first. […] They’re buying hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of things from this country. If I say we’re going to cut it off, they will get the equipment, military equipment and other things, from Russia and China.”
The president acknowledged that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could have known about Khashoggi’s murder.
“The CIA has looked at it, they’ve studied it a lot. They have nothing definitive. And the fact is, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t,” he told journalists.
Reports emerged over the weekend that the CIA believes Crown Prince ordered the killing.
Khashoggi disappeared on 2 October during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Video credit: Ruptly