Biden administration releases the report on the Saudi assassination that Trump covered up

Biden administration releases the report on the Saudi assassination that Trump covered up
President Donald Trump walks with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, along the West Colonnade of the White House, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly approved the mission that killed American resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the U.S. intelligence community has assessed in a document released Friday under President Joe Biden.

The brief report, which had been required by Congress for release under President Donald Trump, had instead been covered up. Though it was widely reported and believed that the crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi's brutal murder at a consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the administration had not officially taken this position, and Trump cast doubt on it.

During her confirmation hearing, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines had promised to release the report on Khashoggi's murder.

"Absolutely, I will follow the law," she said.

Trump had refused to release the report, which he believed would be damaging for his allies in the Saudi government.

"I saved his ass," Trump told journalist Bob Woodward of bin Salman. "I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop."

Woodward pressed Trump: "Do you believe that he did it?"

"No, he says that he didn't do it," Trump said.

But the 4-page assessment is unequivocal.

"We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," it said.

The report continued: "We base this assessment on the Crown Prince's control of decision-making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman's protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince's support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi."

"The more surprising thing than any detail in this Khashoggi report is the great lengths Trump went to (including blowing off a requirement in the Intel Appropriation) to refuse to release it," said Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist. "Think about the sensitive stuff that Trump had released in a failed attempt to undermine the Russian investigation (and/or to burn US sources on Russia). Simply unprecedented disclosures. Now compare it to this 4 page report telling us what we knew."

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