comScore

Trump Sides With Saudi Prince Over U.S. Intelligence in Khashoggi Killing: ‘We May Never Know…’

In a shocking statement released Tuesday regarding the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives in the consulate in Turkey, President Donald Trump praised Saudi Arabia, repeated the nation’s justification that Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state”, and refused to condemn or even acknowledge that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was the one who ordered the hit.

The statement (in full below), begins with two sentiments: “America First” and “The world is a very dangerous place.” It then goes on to praise Saudi Arabia for being an ally in the war on terror and for their financial commitments to the United States.

The statement also repeats Saudi claims against Khashoggi, with a lame caveat that it wasn’t the reason for the decision.

“Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood,” it reads, “but my decision is in no way based on that.”

In his statement, the President says that we don’t know what happened or if Mohammad bin Salman had anything do with it: “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t.” He adds that “we may neverknow all of the facts” (emphasis in original) about the murder.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported the CIA’s assessment that the Crown Prince ordered the killing.

Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia 

America First! 

The world is a very dangerous place!

The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may neverknow all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

[featured photo via Getty Images]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Mediaite: