Trump bragged he ‘saved’ MBS after Khashoggi murder: Woodward book – Business Insider – Business Insider

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Trump said MBS told him he was innocent, and then stressed how important Saudi Arabia is as a US trading partner. The CIA found MBS ordered the murder.

  • President Donald Trump bragged to the veteran journalist Bob Woodward that he protected Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the assassination and dismembering of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • “I saved his a–,” Trump said amid the US outcry over Khashoggi’s killing, according to Woodward’s new book. “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop.”
  • The president also told Woodward he doesn’t believe MBS ordered Khashoggi’s murder, despite the fact that the US and other foreign intelligence services concluded he personally ordered the attack.
  • After Khashoggi’s murder, Trump bypassed Congress to sell roughly $8 billion in arms to the Saudis and the UAE, and vetoed a trio of resolutions blocking the sale as well as a resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump bragged to the veteran journalist Bob Woodward that he protected Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) from congressional scrutiny after the brutal assassination of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

That’s according to Woodward’s upcoming book, “Rage.” The book, a copy of which was obtained by Insider, is slated for release on September 15.

Woodward conducted 18 wide-ranging interviews with the president for the book, as well as interviews with multiple senior White House officials and former administration officials. Still, Trump last month slammed the book as “a FAKE, as always, just as many of the others have been.”

Woodward wrote that Trump called him on January 22 shortly after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. During the conversation, Woodward pressed the president about Khashoggi’s gruesome murder.

The longtime Washington Post columnist was known for his criticism of the Saudi kingdom. The 59-year-old journalist was assassinated and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, after going there to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

The CIA concluded a little over a month later that MBS had personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

“The people at the Post are upset about the Khashoggi killing,” Woodward told Trump on January 22, according to his book. “That is one of the most gruesome things. You yourself have said.”

“Yeah, but Iran is killing 36 people a day, so —” Trump began, before Woodward redirected the conversation to Khashoggi’s murder.

Woodward wrote that he continued pressing Trump about MBS’s role in ordering Khashoggi’s killing, which has been widely reported on.

“I saved his a–,” Trump said in 2018, amid the US outcry following Khashoggi’s murder, according to the book. “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop.”

During his January 22 conversation with Woodward, the president said, “Well, I understand what you’re saying, and I’ve gotten involved very much. I know everything about the whole situation.”

Trump added that Saudi Arabia spends billions of dollars on US products. He also stressed MBS’s claim of innocence, despite the fact that US intelligence and other foreign intelligence agencies have concluded otherwise.

Trump Saudis
President Donald Trump holds a chart of military hardware sales as he welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, March 20, 2018.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

“He will always say that he didn’t do it,” Trump said of MBS. “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.”

“Do you believe that he did it?” Woodward asked.

“No, he says that he didn’t do it,” Trump replied.

“I know, but do you really believe —” Woodward began before Trump cut him off.

“He says very strongly that he didn’t do it. Bob, they spent $400 billion over a fairly short period of time,” the president said. “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. They have the oil, but they also have the great monuments for religion. You know that, right? For that religion.”

“They wouldn’t last a week if we’re not there, and they know it,” he added.

Trump repeatedly used executive power to block or bypass congressional efforts to cut ties with Riyadh after Khashoggi’s murder.

He vetoed a bipartisan bill to end US support for the Saudis in Yemen. The war in Yemen has fostered a devastating humanitarian crisis, and the Saudi-led coalition has killed civilians using US-made bombs.

The president also bypassed Congress to push through an arms sale of roughly $8 billion to the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, and he later vetoed several resolutions blocking the sale. 

More recently, Trump has moved to circumvent a decades-old arms control pact in order to sell weaponized drones to the Saudis and other countries in the region, which sparked backlash from Democrats and Republicans in Congress. 

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