Saudi crown prince made accusations about slain journalist in call with Kushner, Bolton: report

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi of being affiliated with a “terrorist” organization in a call with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton, according to a new Washington Post report.

The crown prince, who has come under increased scrutiny following the journalist’s killing, said Khashoggi was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an accusation that Khashoggi had refuted for years. 

{mosads}The call reportedly took place days after Khashoggi’s disappearance on Oct. 2, before Saudi Arabia acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

A Saudi official on Wednesday denied that the crown prince made such claims, telling the Post that “no such commentary was conveyed.”

Khashoggi’s family, in a statement to the Post, denied the allegation that Khashoggi was involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. 

“Jamal Khashoggi was not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Khashoggi’s family said. “He denied such claims repeatedly over the past several years. Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible. To claim otherwise would be ridiculous.”

“Although he sympathized with certain objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood, he also sharply disagreed with many of their positions, especially toward Saudi Arabia,” the family added, according to the Post.

Trump administration officials, including Bolton, have long been opposed to the organization. Riyadh declared it a terrorist organization following the Arab Spring. In 2015, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, then a congressman, co-sponsored a resolution urging the State Department to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, the Post notes.

A Turkish prosecutor on Wednesday said Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month, adding that he was later dismembered.

Saudi Arabia this month released an official statement acknowledging that Khashoggi was murdered and blaming it on a brawl between the Washington Post journalist and Saudi agents operating without their government’s authorization.

They later changed their story, saying the slaying was premeditated.  

Lawmakers and analysts have largely written off the Saudis’ explanation, saying it contradicts previous statements by Saudi leadership and likely could not have happened without some form of authorization from the crown prince. 

Many of those suspected of being involved in Khashoggi’s murder were part of the crown prince’s security team or have close ties to Saudi leadership, according to multiple reports. 

Much of the international criticism has been focused on Crown Prince Mohammed, who U.S. lawmakers have accused of orchestrating, or at least knowing about, the journalist’s slaying. 

Kushner, in particular, has been criticized for his warm relationship with the crown prince. 

Tags Jamal Khashoggi killing Jared Kushner Mike Pompeo Muslim Brotherhood Saudi Arabia
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