Saudi crown prince in UAE, first trip overseas since Khashoggi


Trump said media were guilty of "false reporting" on the CIA's assessment of the Khashoggi case.

President Donald Trump has disputed that US intelligence officials concluded that the de facto leader of American ally Saudi Arabia ordered the killing of a USA -based journalist critical of the kingdom's royal family.

Trump has been under fire for flip-flopping over the major U.S. ally in the Middle East. "Nobody's concluded. I don't know if anybody's going to be able to conclude that the Crown Prince did it", Trump said on Thursday.

"We found the US President's statement about MBS's involvement where he said 'Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, ' interesting".

President Donald Trump disputed that USA intelligence officials have definitively concluded that Saudi's crown prince ordered the murder of US -based columnist Jamal Khashoggi, while continuing to tout the importance of maintaining economic ties with the Kingdom. He has also refuted reports Central Intelligence Agency reached conclusions on the crown prince's involvement and declined the push to levy economic sanctions on the kingdom.

On Thursday, bin Salman began a tour of several Arab states, starting with the United Arab Emirates, in his first trip overseas since the killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey's city of Istanbul last month, which is blamed on him and battered his image overseas. I dislike it more than you do. Trump reiterated his backing Thursday, praising the country for being a strong ally, purchasing military equipment from USA companies, and keeping oil prices low.

Several lawmakers have indicated that the US has no "smoking gun" that proves the crown prince was responsible.

On Friday, Whiton appeared on Fox News for a discussion in which he defended Trump's decision not to punish the Saudi Royal Family - despite the CIA's "high confidence" findings that they orchestrated the Khashoggi hit-job.

Trump previously claimed that Mohammed bin Salman "could very well" have known about the incident but added that Washington will remain a "steadfast partner" of Riyadh in order to maintain the interests of the U.S. and its allies in the region.

"They said he might've done it". The U.S. has sanctioned 17 Saudis involved in the incident, including one of the crown prince's closest advisers who was sacked from his post after fallout from the killing.

"We have made that very clear", he told the BBC.

Their list of individuals does not include the crown prince, a spokesperson for the French ministry of foreign affairs said. The investigations were requested under provisions of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

He said he did not know if the Central Intelligence Agency would ever be able to conclude whether Prince Salman was responsible or not.