Trump bragged that he 'saved' the Saudi crown prince after Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder: book
After the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018, President Donald Trump’s critics argued that he was much too quick to defend Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and insist that he had nothing to do with the killing. Reports indicate the CIA soon concluded, though, that MBS was deeply involved in the execution.
Veteran journalist Bob Woodward, in his new book, “Rage,” reports that Trump bragged about saving MBS from the scrutiny of Congress during an interview in January.
“Rage,” due out September 15, is based in part on a series of interviews that Woodward — who is famous for his bombshell reporting on Watergate for the Washington Post in the 1970s — conducted with Trump from December through July. Business Insider, which has obtained a copy of the book, reports that Woodward discussed MBS with the president on January 22.
That day, Woodward told Trump, “The people at the Post are upset about the Khashoggi killing. That is one of the most gruesome things, you yourself have said.”
Trump, discussing his defense of the Saudi crown prince in 2018 and 2019, bragged to Woodward, “I saved his ass. I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop.”
In late 2018, the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that MBS himself ordered Khashoggi’s murder. But the Saudi crown prince insisted that he had nothing to do with it, and Trump took his word for it — stressing that he considered Saudi Arabia an important ally of the United States. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, normally a staunch defender of Trump, was outspoken about Khashoggi’s killing and described MBS as a “wrecking ball.”
During his January 22 conversation with Woodward, Trump said of MBS and Khashoggi’s murder, “He will always say that he didn’t do it. He says that to everybody, and frankly, I’m happy that he says that. But he will say that to you, he will say that to Congress, and he will say that to everybody. He’s never said he did it.” Woodward asked Trump whether or not he believed MBS was telling the truth, and the president responded, “He says very strongly that he didn’t do it….. And you know, they’re in the Middle East. You know, they’re big. Because of their religious monuments, you know, they have the real power.”
Trump, however, also told Woodward, “They wouldn’t last a week if we’re not there, and they know it.”