Kushner meets with Saudi crown prince for first time since Khashoggi killing

Kushner meets with Saudi crown prince for first time since Khashoggi killing
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Democrats set for Lone Star showdown Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan MORE met this week with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the first time since the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The White House said in a statement that Kushner and the crown prince “discussed increasing cooperation between the United States and Saudi Arabia” and “efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians” during their meeting Tuesday in Saudi Arabia.

The statement made no mention of Khashoggi, whose killing in October 2018 inflamed tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

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Kushner has come under fire for his close relationship to the Saudi crown prince, whom U.S. intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded ordered Khashoggi’s slaying inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Once an ally of Saudi royalty, Khashoggi emerged as a vocal critic of the crown prince’s rule, including in his columns for The Washington Post.

While the meeting Tuesday is the first known face-to-face discussion between Kushner and Crown Prince Mohammed in more than four months, they continued to talk even after the killing of Khashoggi, according to The New York Times.

The Saudi government has denied that the crown prince and King Salman had any involvement in the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death.

Kushner is touring several Arab countries in an effort to build support for his plan to end the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The trip includes stops in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman in addition to Saudi Arabia.

But many were watching to see if Kushner had any interactions with the crown prince amid scrutiny of the White House’s response to the Khashoggi killing last fall.

The Trump administration imposed sanctions and travel bans on several Saudi officials deemed responsible for the operation, but not on Crown Prince Mohammed or his father, the king.

Earlier this month, the White House missed a deadline imposed by Congress to identify all people behind the operation, possibly including the crown prince, and decide whether to slap new sanctions on them under the Global Magnitsky Act.

The White House justified the decision by saying the request overstepped separation of powers under the Constitution.