Trump Disputes CIA’s ‘High Confidence’ Findings on Khashoggi’s Murder: Saudi Crown Prince ‘Denies it Vehemently’


President Trump held a press scrum on Thanksgiving Day where he tripled down on his decision to take Saudi Arabia’s side over Jamal Khashoggi‘s murder.

Trump has drawn a great deal of criticism for deciding not to punish Saudi Arabia on the matter, especially since multiple reports indicate the CIA has determined with “high confidence” that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s execution. As Trump took questions from reporters about this, the president insisted that Salman “hates [the situation] more than I do,” and he also challenged the CIA’s conclusions about what Salman knew about what happened at the Saudi consulate of Istanbul.

“They have not concluded. Nobody’s concluded. I don’t know if anyone is going to be able to conclude that the crown prince did it…Whether he did or whether he didn’t, he denies it vehemently. The CIA doesn’t say they did it. They do point out certain things, and in pointing out those things, you can conclude that maybe he did or maybe he didn’t.”

As Trump continued to cite the royal family’s denial of any involvement in Khashoggi’s murder, he suggested that the U.S. can’t afford to punish an ally like Saudi Arabia when it might endanger job numbers and assistance in dealing with the Middle East.

“I will tell you this: The crown prince hates it more than I do and they have vehementally deny it,” Trump said. “The CIA points it both ways. As I said, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. But I will say very strongly that it’s a very important ally. And if we go by a certain standard, we won’t be able to have allies with almost any country.”

Watch above, via MSNBC.

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