Bolton Fires Back After Reporter Asks If He’s Listened To Khashoggi Tape
National Security Advisor John Bolton rejected a reporter’s question asking if he listened to the audio recording of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi during a Tuesday afternoon press conference before Sarah Sanders started taking questions.
The reporter began by asking the following:
The Turkish leader — they’ve been very critical of the U.S. position backing Saudi Arabia with the respect to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Are you concerned that will affect the relations with the U.S. ally, and I wanted to follow up — the audio intelligence of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi — have you heard that tape? And does it conclusively point to the crown prince as ordering the killing of Jamal Khashoggi?
A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul, Turkey, and killed Khashoggi in an organized hate crime against his religious beliefs. He was strangled to death immediately upon entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and was later dismembered, Turkish prosecutors said last month. (RELATED: Saudi Arabia Allows Inspection Of Consulate Where Khashoggi Is Said To Have Disappeared)
The reporter continued to ask one more question before Bolton had a chance to respond: “Finally, is it true the White House is blocking Gina Haspel from speaking to senators about that audio intelligence on Wednesday?”
Bolton responded, “Let me take the question of the tape first. No, I haven’t listened to it. I guess I should ask you — why you think I should? What do you think I’ll learn from it?”
The reporter followed up, “Well, you’re the national security advisor; you might have access to that sort of intelligence.”
“How many in this room speak Arabic?” Bolton shot back.
The journalist followed up, “You don’t have access to an interpreter?”
“You want me to listen to it? What am I going to learn from … if they were speaking Korean, I wouldn’t learn any more from it either,” Bolton retaliated. “Then I can read a transcript.”
The reporter asked, “So, you don’t think it’s important to hear that?”
“I’m just trying to make the point that everybody who says, why don’t you listen to the tape? Unless you speak Arabic, what are you gonna get from it? The president has spoken to our position on this issue. He’s spoken very clearly and that is our position,” Bolton fired back.