Biden says he has read report on Khashoggi murder
President Biden said Wednesday that he has read the report on the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Yes, I have,” Biden told reporters in the State Dining Room after signing an executive order on the economy, without elaborating further.
The Biden administration is expected to soon release an unclassified version of the report on Khashoggi’s death. Biden also said that he would speak with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, but did not offer a timeline or confirm reports that the call would take place on Wednesday.
“I’m going to be talking to him, I have not spoken to him yet,” Biden said.
The release of the report is likely to complicate the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. It is expected to find that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, who was a journalist for The Washington Post.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) will be releasing the report, which Reuters reported would happen on Thursday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Wednesday that Biden would speak with King Salman “soon” but did not offer a specific timeline.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines committed during her confirmation hearing to release the report on Khashoggi’s killing. Congress was briefed on the classified version of the report in 2018, but the Trump administration resisted calls to release an unclassified version, even after Congress passed legislation requiring the intelligence community to release an unclassified version of the report.
Reuters reported Thursday that the declassified report concludes that the crown prince approved and likely ordered Khashoggi’s murder. The Post reported in 2018 that the CIA concluded that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s assassination. Khashoggi had been critical of the Saudi government in his columns.
Biden is expected to diverge from the friendly relationship that former President Trump and his administration had with the Saudi government. Psaki said earlier this month that Biden would “recalibrate” relations with the Saudis, including by speaking with King Salman rather than his son, the crown prince.
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