Trump: Allowing FBI to Investigate Khashoggi Murder Would Jeopardize Saudi Arms Sales

Says murder 'really didn't come up' in talk with Saudi Crown Prince

The Saudi murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi remains a major issue internationally, and a major subject in Congressional votes on US-Saudi relations. A recent UN report suggested that a proper FBI investigation could really go a long way toward clarifying the situation.

President Trump has rejected the idea, however, and once again suggested that this would jeopardize US arms sales to the Saudis, since the general consensus is that the Saudi Crown Prince ordered the murder.

Trump dismissed the murder in the first place over fears of “over $100 billion” in arms sales, and is now saying they’re going to spend $400 billion to $450 billion “over a period of time, all money, all jobs.”

Trump spoke with the Crown Prince last week, roughly at the time the UN report that once again blamed him for the murder came out. Trump, however, said that the murder “really didn’t come up” in their conversation.

It’s not clear which is the more disturbing possibility here, if President Trump was pressured once again by the Crown Prince to cover up this murder, or if he’s moved on so far from being bought off on that murder that he didn’t bother to bring it up in a week when both a UN report on the murder was coming and the Senate was voting against arms sales specifically because of that murder.

Either way, Trump’s comment underscores that the administration’s policy on Saudi Arabia, and the Khashoggi murder, are continuing to be driven exclusively by how much money the president thinks he can get out of the kingdom for trying to maintain an increasingly crumbling status quo.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.