President Trump says he will be releasing a “very full report” on the Saudi murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Istanbul consulate within the next two days. Trump promised the report will include “who did it.”
The odds are this official report won’t implicate the Saudi crown prince, as the CIA already did that in their own assessment, leading President Trump to complain that it was “premature” for the CIA to make that conclusion.
Trump has repeatedly made it clear that he doesn’t want to see the Khashoggi murder threaten US arms sales to the Saudis. He has said the Saudis assured him the crown prince didn’t do it, and seems to be sticking to that in his comments.
As far as evidence to the contrary, the CIA has cited a phone call that lured Khashoggi to the consulate as a key part of the determination, as well as the reality that the crown prince is so heavily involved in everything done on behalf of the kingdom, they determined it was virtually unthinkable that he didn’t play a role.
The biggest piece of evidence in the whole incident, however, is an audio recording of the murder itself. Trump addressed the tape today, saying he already knows “everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it,” and that he sees no reason to listen to it himself. He did not elaborate on what went on in the tape.
This has been a recurring aspect of US treatment of the recording, with all top officials seemingly going out of their way not to hear it so they don’t have to speak to its contents publicly.