Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report

Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE has privately bristled that the relationship between his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump throws support behind criminal justice bill Trump says he will decide Nielsen's fate 'shortly' McConnell outlines hurdles to criminal justice reform MORE and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is a liability amidst the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, officials told The Washington Post.

Khashoggi, a Saudi-born columnist and U.S. resident and wrote for The Washington Post, was last seen entering the consulate on October 2. Saudi officials said yesterday that he died during a fistfight, yet that claim was met with widespread speculation.

Mounting evidence suggests that Khashoggi, who was critical of the Saudi royal court, was killed at Mohammed’s order as part of his crackdown on dissent. 

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Trump told reporters Friday the Saudi explanation was credible, and has said that while he hasn’t decided on a response, no punishment would impact arms sales to the kingdom.

The crown prince has held long meetings with Kushner, who reportedly promoted MBS within the administration as a potential partner in the region. While the White House has leaned on the Kushner-Mohammed relationship to further its Middle East policies, the administration is reportedly questioning if the partnership is worth tying itself to MBS’ tainted image. 

CNN reported earlier this week that Kushner’s private correspondence with Mohammed on private channels, including through the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp, raised concerns among administration officials.

A White House spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that Kushner "has always meticulously followed protocols and collaborated with colleagues regarding the relationship with [Crown Prince Mohammed] and all of the other foreign officials with whom he interacts.”