Trump doesn’t want to hear ‘suffering’ Khashoggi’s murder tape

Updated 19 Nov 2018

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US President Donald Trump says he has been fully briefed on an audio recording of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder but does not want to listen to it himself. — AP/File photo
US President Donald Trump says he has been fully briefed on an audio recording of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder but does not want to listen to it himself. — AP/File photo

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump says he has been fully briefed on an audio recording of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder but does not want to listen to it himself.

“Because it’s a suffering tape. It’s a terrible tape,” he said in an interview with Fox News Sunday. “It was very violent, very vicious and terrible.”

The CIA has reportedly concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s assassination in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2.

But the State Department has called those reports “inaccurate”, and Trump on Saturday told reporters that the US would release “a very full report” on the matter as early as Monday. He was interviewed by Fox on Friday.

Asked whether the crown prince had lied to him in denying any role in the killing, Trump said: “I don’t know. Who can really know? But I can say this, he’s got many people ... that say he had no knowledge.”

“He told me that he had nothing to do with it. He told me that, I would say, maybe five times at different points, as recently as a few days ago.”

Trump acknowledged that people close to the prince “were probably involved” but added, “I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”

Asked whether he would go along with moves in the US Congress to cut off US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen or halt arms sales to the kingdom, Trump equivocated. “I want to see Yemen end. It takes two to tango and Iran has to end also,” he said. “I want Saudi to stop but I want Iran to stop also.”

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2018