Khashoggi Murder: Trump ‘Exonerates’ Saudi; Says Whatever The Truth Be, Its $450 Billion Investment Alone MattersUS President Donald Trump (R) with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump has firmly reiterated that he will not allow the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi to jeopardise his country’s strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia. Trump argued that the kingdom’s strategic importance far outweighs the “horrible crime” perpetrated against Khashoggi.

Trump described Saudi Arabia a “steadfast partner” and insisted “we may never know” who was responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.

In his statement, Trump tacitly defended the Islamic kingdom from charges that it orchestrated the killing of Khashoggi. “King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

In his statement, Trump also added that “crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder.” US has sanctioned 17 Saudis suspected to be involved with the murder but has not punished Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who, Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA, believe to have orchestrated the attack.

Trump pointed out that Saudi has agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. “This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, as much as $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great US defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!”

Khashoggi, a former aide of Saudi royalty who later became a trenchant critic of the the Saudi royal family and was living in voluntary exile in the US, was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on 2 October.

After repeated denials, the Saudi government admitted that he was murdered at the consulate in what they claimed was a “rogue operation” they had not authorised.

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