President Donald Trump tweeted his full-throated support of Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who insists he was totally unaware his operatives sent to interrogate and kidnap Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi intended to kill him and cut up his body to get him out of the country in diplomatic pouches.
The Saudi royal family is expected to acknowledge they did send people to Istanbul to interrogate Khashoggi and abduct him when he showed up at the Saudi consulate more than two weeks ago, to get papers he needed in order to marry his fiancée. But the royal family will insist more than a dozen operatives flown to Turkey were not authorized to kill him and cut him up, and will call that “rogue” behavior – a concept for which Trump played canary in the coal mine one day earlier in a pop-up presser on the White House lawn.
“Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who tally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate,” Trump tweeted this afternoon.
“He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the call and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter,” Trump’s tweets continued, adding, “Answers will be forthcoming shortly.”
Trump needed to get those tweets out in advance of his taped interview with Fox News’ Trish Regan for tonight’s edition of her Fox Business Network show.
Regan, understandably, asked Trump whether he still plans to send Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Saudi Arabia for an upcoming high-profile Saudi investment conference despite the “controversy surrounding missing Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
“What we have right now is Mike Pompeo, who’s terrific, who’s doing a great job, Secretary of State, is with the King right now and the Crown Prince literally as we speak and we’re trying to find out what went on,” Trump answered.
“And a lot will be determined — he hasn’t gotten back to me. He’s going to probably over the next couple of hours — sometime prior to your show, but he will be getting back to me. And you’ll start hearing what is happening.”
Trump told her “We’re all looking at it together,” referencing Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the U.S.
“It depends whether or not the King or the Crown Prince knew about it in my opinion, No. 1 what happened but whether or not they knew about it. If they knew about it, that would be bad.”
And now, Trump has answered that question, tweeting his endorsement of MBS’ claim he did not know about it: