A top Saudi Arabian official has come up with a new spin to explain the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in that nation's Turkish consulate.
During an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir attempted to defend the conduct of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, placing the events that led to Khashoggi's death as far away from the royal leader's sphere of responsibility as possible.
"We had an individual who came to the consulate. He was approached by members of the Saudi security team. They told us that he left the consulate. They came back to Saudi Arabia and filed a report to that effect," Al-Jubeir told Baier. He added that once the Saudi government had concluded that the Turkish authorities' conclusions about the death of Khashoggi differed from what the Saudi security team had told them, the crown prince asked Mohammed bin Salman asked for an investigation.
"He discovered there were discrepancies. We discovered that he was killed in the consulate," Al-Jubeir told Baier. "We don't know, in terms of details, how. We don't know where the body is. The public prosecutor then put out orders to detain 18 individuals for questioning and possibly facing trial, and the king also dismissed a number of senior officials in this area."
Al-Jubeir claimed that they were determined to get to the bottom of it.
"The individuals did this out of the scope of their authority. There were not people closely tied to him. This was an operation that was a rogue operation," Al-Jubier explained.
He later added, "When you have a situation like this, you want the information you put out to be as accurate as possible."
The Turkish government has repeatedly claimed that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Arabian consulate in what appeared to have been (based on the behavior of the individuals believed to have been responsible) a premeditated act.
During a phone interview with The Washington Post on Saturday, President Donald Trump tried to defend Saudi Arabia, as well as his own son-in-law's seemingly close relationship with the powerful crown prince.
"Nobody has told me he’s responsible. Nobody has told me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point . . . I would love if he wasn’t responsible," Trump told the Post. When asked about the relationship between Mohammed bin Salman and Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and adviser, Trump tried to downplay any possible ties of friendship and instead focused on the fact that they are a similar age.
"They’re two young guys. Jared doesn’t know him well or anything. They are just two young people. They are the same age. They like each other, I believe," Trump told the Post. He also explained why he is opposed to canceling a $110 billion arms sale to the Saudi government.
"It’s the largest order in history. To give that up would hurt us far more than it hurts them. Then all they’ll do is go to Russia or go to China. All that’s doing is hurting us," Trump told the Post.
“With that being said, something will take place,” Trump added.