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President Donald Trump says US ally Saudi Arabia's crown prince told him directly that he had nothing to do with the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but Trump says he "really wonders ". (November 18)
AP

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump made a comprehensive defense against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, casting doubt on US intelligence briefing that the Crown Prince of the Kingdom knew about the murder of Washington Post's columnist, Jamal Khashoggi.

It's a good thing the Crown Prince knew about this tragic event – maybe he did it and maybe not! "Trump said in an unusual statement with eight paragraphs that was pervaded with exclamation points and the statement read:" The world is a very dangerous place! "

Trump's statement seemed to end the debate on how his government was dealing with Khashoggi has handled killing – and preventing legislators in Congress from passing laws that would impose a tougher punishment on Saudi Arabia.

"The United States intends to remain a trusted partner of Saudi Arabia, To ensure the interests of our country, Israel and Israel All other partners in the region, "said Trump.

When he went to Florida on Tuesday afternoon, Trump said he would give up Saudi Arabia" would be a terrible mistake "and quit the promise The regime plans to buy billions of dollars worth of weapons produced in US weapons.

"We will make hundreds of billions of dollars do not give up, "he said. Experts like Jonathan Caverley of Naval War College said Trump surpassed possible arms sales to the regime.

Critics said that Trump's statement is causing the Saudi government to get out of hand because of the brutal killing of an American resident, sending a disastrous signal to other dictatorships around the world that they have the opportunity to commit human rights abuses. They beat the president for questioning the CIA's conclusion that Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder.

"President Trump's habit of engaging with murderous foreign dictators over American intelligence is a stain on our democracy that undermines the American ideal," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H., member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. "Congress must now stand up with the determination of both parties to condemn the brutal killings of Jamal Khashoggi and pass legislation to respond to these and other Saudi crimes."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Trump's statement sounded like a "PR firm to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."

Corker and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the committee, responded with the Forcing Administration to determine if the Crown Prince was responsible for Khashoggi's assassination , The senators used a provision in the Magnitsky Act to trigger this rating.

Trump cited the CIA's assessment of Salman's role in Khashoggi's assassination, but emphasized the royal family's rejection and their portrayal of Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist – a characteristic that the journalist's family strictly denies.

"Representatives of Saudi Arabia say Jamal Khashoggi is a" public enemy "and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that," said Trump. "King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman energetically deny any knowledge of planning or executing the killing of Mr. Khashoggi."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Trump's decision, saying it was in America's national security interests. Pompeo pointed out that last week the United States imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi people in connection with Khashoggi's killing, and said the country needed Saudi Arabia's support for its campaign to isolate Iran.

"It's a mean, evil world out there" Pompeo said when asked about the Crown Prince, who came under fire for bringing dissidents together and waging a bloody war in Yemen. "It is the President's responsibility to ensure that we pursue a policy that promotes America's national security."

The Senate may vote on legislation next week that would force the Trump government to withdraw all US military support for the Saudi Arabia-led bombings in Yemen. It is not clear if such a move could pass, but the legislature is considering a number of other proposals in response to Khashoggi's killing.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Congress should stop US arms sales and other foreign aid to Saudi Arabia and impose sanctions on the Crown Prince.

"Khashoggi, an American resident and columnist for an American newspaper, was killed by Saudi government agents at a Saudi consulate," she said. "This was a premeditated murder, plain and simple."

In his testimony, Trump accused lawmakers pushing for harsher measures to be politically motivated.

"I understand that there are members of the congress who want to go in a different direction for political or other reasons," said Trump, adding that he would consider "what ideas are presented to me", but only if they protect US security "Quite simply, it's called America First!"

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi regime who fled his homeland to the United States last year, was killed on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He had gone to the diplomatic facility to obtain the documents he needed for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

Turkish officials said they have evidence that Khashoggi was brutally murdered and mutilated by Saudi agents at the consulate. Saudi officials repeatedly denied that Crown Prince Salman was involved in Khashoggi's death.

They offered changing accounts of Khashoggi's fate – first claiming that he had left the Consulate unscathed, and finally conceding that he had been murdered there. Khashoggi's remains were not found.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told US reporters Tuesday that his government has not yet determined who ordered Khashoggi's assassination.

Once a decision has been made, "Turkey will not hide it." "We'll tell," said Cavusoglu, who was in Washington to meet Pompeo.

Cavusoglu said he had spoken with Pompeo about requesting an international investigation, but Trump's foreign minister suggested that they wait until both Turkey and Saudi Arabia had finished their work separately.

Cavusoglu said he was not worried about Trump's decision not to hear any sound recordings of Khashoggi's murder – the Turkish government told US officials.

"It's very disgusting," he said of the tape He confirmed that he had heard. He said one of the Saudi activists, a coroner, "seemed to enjoy cutting people to pieces"

Contri Buting: David Jackson

More: "Traitors, you will be held accountable!": Parts of Khashoggi band unveiled

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More: CIA concludes that the Saudi Crown Prince has ordered Jamal Khashoggi's assassination

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