While President Donald Trump has expressed reluctance to confront Saudi Arabia on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and noted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman assured him that he was not involved, the CIA has now reached what it considers a clear finding that the Crown Prince ordered the savage murder and then lied to Trump and the world (while having all of his own henchmen arrested).
Given the history of torture and brutality by the Saudi Prince, it was a laughable suggestion that his closest aides would take on such an premeditated murder without his approval. The CIA’s assessment found that the Crown Prince ordered the murder involving a team of 15 Saudi agents in Istanbul. The assessment was based on a wide array of evidence including a phone call from the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman. Khalid told Khashoggi that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.
This would also mean that Khalid later joined his brother in lying to the public about the conspiracy.
There was also a call Maher Mutreb, one of the Crown Prince’s closest security official, who was involved in the murder and called Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Mohammed, to informed him that the operation had been completed.
So what now? We have a Crown Prince who murdered a Washington Post columnist and then lied directly to the President and the world — while arranging for his henchmen to be executed. While Trump has been criticized for his expressions of respect and friendship for some of the world’s greatest dictators, this presents an even starker moral dilemma. This morning when confronted with the CIA assessment, Trump again cited the jobs and economic power of Saudi Arabia.