Woodward: Trump Suggested He Covered Up For Saudi Royal Implicated In Murder
According to Bob Woodward’s new book, President Donald Trump boasted that he protected Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from congressional scrutiny after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered in 2018.
Despite the CIA concluding that MBS personally ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, Trump has maintained that he believes the prince’s denial of involvement. The journalist was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, when he went to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage.
Business Insider reports,
Woodward wrote that Trump called him on January 22 shortly after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. During the conversation, Woodward pressed the president about Khashoggi's gruesome murder.
"The people at the Post are upset about the Khashoggi killing," Woodward told Trump on January 22, according to his book. "That is one of the most gruesome things. You yourself have said."
"Yeah, but Iran is killing 36 people a day, so —" Trump began, before Woodward redirected the conversation to Khashoggi's murder.
"I saved his a--," Trump said in 2018, amid the US outcry following Khashoggi's murder, according to the book. "I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop."
Trump went on to say during the January 22 interview that he doesn’t believe MBS was involved:
"He says very strongly that he didn't do it. Bob, they spent $400 billion over a fairly short period of time," the president said. "And you know, they're in the Middle East. You know, they're big. Because of their religious monuments, you know, they have the real power. They have the oil, but they also have the great monuments for religion. You know that, right? For that religion."
Business Insider noted that after Khashoggi’s murder, Trump “repeatedly used executive power to block or bypass congressional efforts to cut ties with Riyadh” and “also bypassed Congress to push through an arms sale of roughly $8 billion to the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, and he later vetoed several resolutions blocking the sale.”