In interviews with Washington Post columnist Bob Woodward, President Trump boasted of protecting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman from Congressional retaliation after the killing of fellow Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Business Insider reported based on an advance copy of Woodward’s forthcoming book “Rage.”
The CIA concluded that Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the Saudi royal family, was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in Oct. 2018 on the orders of Bin Salman.
Woodward told Trump in a January 22 interview that Post staffers were “upset about the Khashoggi killing,” according to the book, adding, “that is one of the most gruesome things. You yourself have said.”
Trump reportedly shot back that Iran “is killing 36 people a day,” and said of Bin Salman, “I saved his ass,” and “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop.”
Woodward writes that Trump said he knew “everything about the whole situation,” and was “involved very much,” with Trump noting the billions of dollars in trade between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and proclaiming Bin Salman’s innocence, according to Insider.
Pushed repeatedly by Woodward on whether he agreed with the intelligence community’s conclusion that Bin Salman ordered the killing, Trump reportedly insisted “he says that he didn’t do it,” adding, “they spent $400 billion over a fairly short period of time,” and “they have the oil.”
Trump has taken a number of steps to circumvent Congress’ efforts to hold Saudi Arabia accounting for the killing. In Jun. 2019, he vetoed a bipartisan bill intended to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia, after bypassing Congress to push arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Yeah. Khashoggi. I thought it was a terrible crime. But if you look at other countries, many other countries. You look at Iran, not so far away from Saudi Arabia, and take a look at what they’re doing there,” Trump told the New York Times in January 2019, adding “some terrible things are happening in Venezuela.”
What To Watch For
“Rage” is slated to be released on Sept. 15, but it has already made massive waves, most notably surrounding revelations that Trump acknowledged the deadliness of coronavirus as early as February and admitted to “playing it down” to avoid panic.
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