Trump stands by Saudi crown prince amid Senate pressure

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE on Tuesday doubled down on his support for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, even as members of the Senate push for action in response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump said in an interview with Reuters that Saudi Arabia has been a "very good ally," while declining to say whether he thought the crown prince was responsible for the killing of Khashoggi, who was a Washington Post columnist.

“He’s the leader of Saudi Arabia. They’ve been a very good ally,” Trump said.

ADVERTISEMENT

When Reuters asked if standing by the Saudi kingdom meant standing by the crown prince, he added: “Well, at this moment, it certainly does." 

The CIA has reportedly concluded that it has high confidence the crown prince ordered the murder.

Trump has faced pressure from a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers to condemn and penalize the crown prince over the killing, but the president has refused to do so.

He said in a statement last month that the U.S. would maintain a "steadfast" relationship with Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi's death.

"In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran," Trump said at the time. "The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region."