Angus King: John Bolton engaging in ‘deliberate ignorance’ about Khashoggi killing tape

Angus King: John Bolton engaging in ‘deliberate ignorance’ about Khashoggi killing tape
© Greg Nash

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) on Wednesday said national security adviser John Bolton is engaging in "deliberate ignorance" by not listening to the audio of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing, saying it is because he doesn't speak Arabic. 

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“I am pretty sure somewhere in the United States there are people that could translate that tape for him,” King said in an appearance on CNN's “New Day.” “Of course he should listen to it.”

"That, to me, is a deliberate ignorance to not want to listen to what is important evidence in a serious case," the senator added.

 

Bolton said Tuesday during a press briefing that he hadn't listened to the audio which Turkish officials have said captures the killing of Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. 

"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?" 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE also said earlier this month that he hadn't listened to the tape and wasn't planning to do so, telling Fox News's Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" that there was "no reason for me to hear the tape."

"Because it’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape," he said at the time. "I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it. In fact, I said to the people, 'Should I?' They said, 'You really shouldn’t, there’s no reason.' I know exactly — I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it."

Trump has since faced criticism for declining to significantly punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's killing in their consulate in Istanbul in October.

The president said in a statement last week that the U.S. would maintain a "steadfast" relationship with the kingdom and expressed doubt Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman was involved in the killing, despite reports that the CIA has high confidence that the crown prince ordered the assassination.