Bolton on why he hasn’t listened to Khashoggi tape: I don’t speak Arabic

National security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that there was no point in him personally listening to the audio that allegedly captures Jamal Khashoggi’s murder by Saudi operatives because he doesn’t speak Arabic.

“No, I haven’t listened to it,” Bolton told a reporter regarding the tape that Turkish authorities reportedly shared with the CIA. “I guess I should ask you why you think I should, what you think I’ll learn from it.”

“Well, you’re the national security adviser,” the reporter answered.

{mosads}”How many in this room speak Arabic?” Bolton asked the White House press briefing room of journalists, prompting few to raise their hands.

“You don’t have access to an interpreter?” the reporter pressed.

“Well, you want me to listen to it? What am I going to learn?” Bolton replied. “I mean if they were speaking Korean I wouldn’t learn any more from it either.”

“Well I think an interpreter would be able to tell you what’s going on,” the reporter returned.

“Well then I can read a transcript,” Bolton said. “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?”

The Trump administration has come under heavy criticism over its response to the Washington Post contributor’s October murder in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Though the U.S. sanctioned several individuals accused of coordinating and executing the plot to assassinate Khashoggi, President Trump issued a statement last Tuesday in which he indicated that the U.S. government will remain allies with Saudi Arabia.

The president has dismissed reports that the CIA has high confidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman was involved in Khashoggi’s murder.

“I hate the crime and I hate what is done and I hate the cover-up,” Trump said last Tuesday. “And I will tell you this, the crown prince hates it more than I do.”

Trump also told Fox News that he does not plan to listen to the tape.

“We have the tape. I don’t want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape,” Trump said earlier this month. “It’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it. There’s no reason for me to hear it.”

Tags Donald Trump Jamal Khashoggi Khashoggi tape National Security adviser John Bolton Saudi Arabia
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