President Trump on Saturday professed to be “very angry” over the murder last year of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate, but the president again declined to pin responsibility on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he called “my friend.”
Trump said nothing about Khashoggi at a photo op Salman before their meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit here, ignoring shouted questions about the matter from reporters. In brief remarks, Trump called it a “great honor” to be with the crown prince and noted that “Saudi Arabia is a good purchaser of American products.” Salman returned the compliment.
But asked at a news conference later in the day whether he raised the issue with Salman privately, Trump said Riyadh has prosecuted “13 people” in connection with Khashoggi’s death and suggested more prosecutions were coming.
Still, Trump again defended Salman, saying there was no “finger directly” pointing at him, despite a U.N. report that concluded there was, in fact, credible evidence tying the plot to the royal family. Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile after writing columns that criticized the Salman family; he was abducted and dismembered after visiting the consulate in October 2018 to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. [Continue reading…]