Journalist says Khashoggi told her Saudis 'wanted him out of the picture'

Robin Wright, a writer for The New Yorker, said on Wednesday that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi told her that he believed Riyadh wanted him "out of the picture" due to his criticism of the country's monarchy.

"We had many conversations over the past year, and in August he told me that he thought the Saudis wanted him 'out of the picture.' I quoted him as saying that," Wright told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising."

"What's striking, I think, is that even though he realized the monarchy was very unhappy with him, I don't think he realized the extent to which it was prepared to go to literally get him out of the picture," she continued. 

Wright discusses Khashoggi's comments in her latest piece for The New Yorker.

Saudi Arabian officials say Khashoggi was killed in a physical altercation at the country's consulate in Istanbul after initially denying being involved in his disappearance.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHong Kong police arrest pro-democracy media tycoon: aide Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran Trump puts trade back on 2020 agenda MORE announced on Tuesday the department was taking steps to punish Saudi officials suspected of being involved in Khashoggi's killing.  

While Khashoggi was highly critical of the Saudi Arabian monarchy, Wright referred to him as a "reluctant dissident" on Hill.TV. 

"He was a reluctant dissident. This was a man who for most of his life supported the monarchy, supported the House of Saud, and I think he still did in many ways," Wright said. 

"But he had particular concerns and deepening concerns about the tactics and policies of Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, and a young man who could determine the future of Saudi Arabia for 30 or 40 years," she continued. 

"So in the last year, year and a half of his life, he had become more critical, and that had led the government to pressure him, to silence him on Twitter, to silence his columns, to pressure his family, and with the arrest of many of his friends, Jamal felt that this was the moment to leave the kingdom," she said. 

— Julia Manchester