By MARIAM KHAN
In an extraordinary statement, President Trump on Tuesday defended Saudi Arabia in the face of mounting pressure over the slaying of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime,” Trump said in his statement.
“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi,” Trump said in the statement.
He went on: “Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
Trump issued the statement without referencing any conclusions in the latest CIA assessment on Khashoggi’s murder, which he had said would be completed Tuesday.