White House: No plans for Trump, Saudi crown prince to meet at G-20

President TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries MORE has no plans to formally meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at an upcoming global summit, national security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday.

Bolton told reporters at the White House that Trump's meeting schedule at the Group of 20 summit "is full to overflowing at this point," citing sit-downs with the leaders of Germany, Japan, Argentina, India and South Korea.

Trump also plans to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, two leaders who have faced criticism for human-rights abuses, and Chinese President Xi Jinping for a highly anticipated trade discussion. 


White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said it is possible that Trump and Crown Prince Mohammed could speak informally on the sidelines of the summit, which starts Friday in Argentina.

"I don't think there's any time for us to add anything additional. Whether or not there's interaction, I'm not gonna rule that out," she said.

The summit comes amid heightened scrutiny of the U.S.-Saudi relationship following the killing last month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.

Tuesday's briefing grew contentious when Bolton said he has not listened to the tape of Khashoggi's murder that has been shared with the CIA, asking a reporter, "What do you think I'll learn from it?"

He also claimed he would learn little from the tape because he doesn't speak Arabic.

"How many in this room speak Arabic?" he responded to the reporter. "I'm just trying to make the point that everybody who says, 'Why don't you listen to the tape' — unless you speak Arabic, what are you going to get from it?"

Trump angered lawmakers and U.S. allies last week when he released a controversial statement indicating he has no plans to punish Crown Prince Mohammed for the killing. He also disputed reports that the CIA concluded that the crown prince was responsible for ordering the operation to kill Khashoggi.

Sanders backed up the president's claim, saying "we haven’t seen definitive evidence from our intelligence community that ties" the crown prince "directly" to the killing. 

The president has said he does not want to do anything to hurt the U.S.-Saudi alliance, citing what he said are economic benefits from oil sales and arms deals.

Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, fled Saudi Arabia for the U.S. over fears of retaliation for his criticism of the kingdom's royal family.

Updated at 2:56 p.m.