The Washington Examiner reports that, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi Arabian prince who had a role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. According to the CIA, the prince persuaded Khashoggi to visit the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul where an operation was in place to have him murdered.
Pompeo discussed plans for “countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities” in the Middle East with Khalid.
“The secretary congratulated the minister on his new role and looked forward to continuing to work together to advance the U.S.-Saudi partnership,” the State Department said.
Khashoggi saw the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a tyrant and worked on a social media campaign within the country to criticize the prince’s human rights record. Khashoggi was murdered by a team assembled by the crown prince’s advisers.
Khalid convinced Khashoggi to go to the Saudi consulate to get documents required for his upcoming marriage. After Khashoggi never rejoined his fiancee who waited outside of the facility, the prince said that Khashoggi’s “safety and security is a top priority for the Kingdom” and said he was a “friend” of the journalist.
Prince Khalid, the younger brother of the crown prince, left Washington to go to Riyadh during the crisis. He denied involvement in Khashoggi’s decision to visit the consulate.
The murder came in the midst of deal talks where President Trump was trying to arrange an Israeli-Arab partnership against Iran. Capitol Hill harshly criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for refusing to sanction the crown prince after the murder.
“Is there ever a time when we’re going to, as a country, insist, ‘You know what, we’re not going to do business as normal, and we are going to hold you to account'?” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., asked Pompeo at a hearing.
Pompeo responded by talking about the sanctions imposed on other individuals who carried out the murder. He continued that the administration is trying “to learn more facts” about the case.
“President Trump has made very clear that we will continue to work to identify those who are responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and hold them accountable,” he told Connolly. “I stand by that today.”