Donald Trump says he will not listen to 'vicious' Jamal Khashoggi killing tape
Donald Trump has said he has been fully briefed on a "vicious and terrible" audio recording of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but does not want to listen to it himself, SKY News reported.
The US president - who said he expects a full report into the death to be released by Tuesday - told Fox News Sunday that he could not bring himself to listen to it after hearing about its contents.
"I don't want to hear the tape, (there is) no reason for me to hear the tape," he said.
"It's a suffering tape. It's a terrible tape. It was very violent, very vicious and terrible."
Turkey has long maintained that it was in possession of a recording of the death, which it said had been shared with officials from Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, the US and the UK.
But while Mr Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both insisted they are determined to hold accountable those responsible for the murder, the White House has been reluctant to jeopardise its relationship with Riyadh.
Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One for a visit to fire-ravaged California, Mr Trump said Saudi Arabia remained a "truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development".
He denied the US had reached a conclusion on who was responsible for the murder of Mr Khashoggi, amid reports that the CIA has concluded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination.
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According to The Washington Post, for which Mr Khashoggi was a columnist, the CIA found that 15 Saudi agents flew on government planes to Istanbul and carried out the killing at the Saudi consulate on 2 October.
Mr Khashoggi had been at the consulate to obtain documents so he could marry his Turkish fiancee.
The Post also claimed the CIA had information that Prince Mohammed's brother - the Saudi ambassador to the US - told the late journalist by phone it would be safe to go to the consulate and get the papers he needed.
The ambassador, Prince Khalid bin Salman, swiftly denied that he had spoken with Mr Khashoggi on the phone or that he suggested he go to Turkey "for any reason".
"The last contact I had with Mr Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26 2017," he tweeted.
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"I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim."
It came as Saudi prosecutors sought the death penalty for five suspects charged with the murder of Mr Khashoggi, with public prosecutor Saud al Mojeb revealing that 21 people were in custody and 11 were indicted and facing trial.
His office later said that so far as Saudi Arabia was concerned, the highest-level suspect was former deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al Assiri - and that the crown prince had no knowledge of the killing.
Jamal Khashoggi was killed on 2 October
Via SKY News
My view: Trump is in denial, he knows the truth and I am sure behind the scene, he'll question the Crown Prince's integrity to lead Saudi Arabia, his reputation has been tarnished, because of Khashoggi's savage murder. I don't blame Trump for refusing to listen to the horrific audio. I also think Trump is making excuses for a dictator like MBS and trying to protect Trump gulf clubs, hotels and other businesses, so when he's kicked out of the White House in 2020, he'll have the Crown Prince's shoulder to cry on. It's baffling how the angelic looking MBS allegedly ordered the "vicious" murder of a human being. The Saudi King should appoint one of his daughters as Crown Princess, it's time for a woman to lead the government.