Trump rejects evidence, stands by Saudi Arabia

US President Donald Trump said: "In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
US President Donald Trump said: "In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump defied the country's intelligence agencies and a growing body of evidence to declare his unswerving loyalty to Saudi Arabia, asserting that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's culpability for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi might never be known.

In a statement that appeared calculated to end the debate over the US response to the killing of Mr Khashoggi, the President said: "It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did, and maybe he didn't. We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi."

He added: "In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

His statement came only days after the CIA concluded that the Crown Prince, a close ally of the White House, had authorised the killing of Mr Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2018, with the headline 'Trump rejects evidence, stands by Saudi Arabia'. Print Edition | Subscribe