President Donald Trump said in a Sunday interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he has been fully briefed on a recording that purports to hold part of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but he declined to listen himself because it’s a “suffering tape.”
“We have the tape. I don’t want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape,” Trump said of the audio recording that Turkey claims is strong evidence that contradicts Saudi Arabia’s stated role in Khashoggi’s death.
“Why don’t you want to hear it, sir?” Wallace asked the president.
“Because it’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape,” Trump answered. “I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it, in fact I said to the people ‘should I?’ They said, ‘you really shouldn’t, there’s no reason.'”
“I know exactly – I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it,” he added.
CIA Director Gina Haspel has also heard the tape, in which someone reportedly says “tell your boss,” a reference investigators believe directly links Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to The Washington Post contributor’s death.
After weeks of speculation from global leaders suggesting the order to kill Khashoggi, who’s writings were often critical of the crown prince and the kingdom, came from the top levels of the Saudi government, the CIA concluded Friday that they are confident that bin Salman did order the murder.
“It was very violent, very vicious and terrible,” Trump added about the audio recordings.
Wallace asked Trump if he believes bin Salman lied to him when he told the president he had no involvement in Khashoggi’s death. (RELATED: 5 Of Khashoggi’s Accused Killers Facing The Death Penalty As Saudi Arabia Says Crown Prince Had Nothing To Do With It)
“I don’t – I don’t know, you know, who could really know?” Trump responded. “But I can say this: He’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge.”
“Do you live with [bin Salman’s claims] because you need him?” Wallace asked.
“Well, will anybody really know?” Trump answered.
“You saw we put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia,” the president continued. “But at the same time, we do have an ally, and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”
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