Pelosi: 'Follow the money' to understand Trump-Saudi relations

Pelosi: 'Follow the money' to understand Trump-Saudi relations
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Stone judge under pressure over calls for new trial MORE (D-Calif.) on Monday urged people to "follow the money" when they assess President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE's attitude toward Saudi Arabia, suggesting the president has a conflict of interest when it comes to the kingdom. 

"I think we should follow the money when we look at what the attitude of the president is to Saudi Arabia," Pelosi said at a CNN event in New York City. 

“Do you think that he’s conflicted because of his investments?” CNN's Dana Bash asked.

"I do, and his hotels and … god knows what else," Pelosi replied.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pelosi made the comments during a discussion about the death of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish and Saudi authorities say was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish authorities claim Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents acting on orders from the government, but the Saudis insist top leadership had no knowledge of the operation. They released an official account over the weekend claiming Khashoggi was killed during a fistfight gone wrong with rogue Saudi agents. 

Intelligence officials and world leaders have cast doubt on this account, saying it would have been difficult to organize an attack in the consulate without any knowledge by top authorities. Many of the suspects in Khashoggi's death have been identified as members of Salman's security team. 

"I do think that it’s shameful how [the Saudis] are acting," Pelosi said. "They show up with a bonesaw and say, 'Oh, he started a fight.' No, they showed up with a bonesaw."

The president over the weekend offered his strongest condemnation of the Saudi kingdom yet, saying he believes they have engaged in "deception." However, he added that there is not yet evidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the attack. 

The president has faced weeks of criticism over his acceptance of Saudi Arabia's denials, with multiple lawmakers alleging that he has not taken a strong stance due to his business interests in the region. 

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Hillicon Valley: Democrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments | Lawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing | Democrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, in a Sunday interview questioned whether the Trump administration's rhetoric and actions toward Saudi Arabia may be influenced by the Trump family's finances. He called for Congress to look into the matter.

President Trump last week said he has "no financial interests in Saudi Arabia."

The president, a longtime real estate mogul, has for years had business ties to the Saudis, with Saudi businessmen spending significant amounts of money at his hotels and properties over decades. 

One Saudi royal billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, purchased Trump's yacht and a stake in New York's Plaza Hotel in the 1990s when Trump was in financial distress.