In spite of evidence suggesting that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered the assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and official White House adviser, continued speaking to the crown prince and even offered him advice.
According to reporting from CNN, Kushner offered bin Salman direct advice over the phone on “how to weather the storm” following revelations that Khashoggi was murdered, a Saudi source stated.
The correspondence between the two is problematic for two reasons. First, it violates White House protocol on speaking with foreign leaders, as every correspondence between White House staff and prominent officials from other governments is supposed to be monitored by the National Security Council.
A White House spokesman denied that Kushner violated such protocols in the wake of the report.
“Jared has always meticulously followed protocols and guidelines regarding the relationship with MBS and all of the other foreign officials with whom he interacts,” that spokesman said.
It’s also problematic for another reason. It’s widely accepted as fact at this point that bin Salman ordered the hit against Khashoggi, who had penned many columns against some of the reforms and crackdowns on those who have resisted them in his nation. Khashoggi became a U.S. resident non-citizen following his voluntary expulsion from Saudi Arabia.
The President's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, continued to have private conversations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The New York Times reports https://t.co/4ICTCaDNCq pic.twitter.com/aBqX1aBsOX
— CNN (@CNN) December 9, 2018
Kushner, giving advice to a government leader on how to handle the exposure of the assassination of a U.S. resident, is incredibly worrisome. It is especially so given the overwhelming evidence that intelligence officials and U.S. lawmakers have seen or heard that ties MBS directly to the murder.
Intelligence communities from around the world, including the CIA itself, have all made statements confirming that the crown prince ordered the assassination of the journalist. Even U.S. senators who have seen the same documented evidence as the CIA have come out and said that bin Salman definitely was involved.
In spite of those statements, Trump and officials in the White House have continued to tout the line of skepticism, believing that there is no evidence strong enough that ties the crown prince to Khashoggi’s death.
While other countries around the world are imposing sanctions or other penalties on Saudi Arabia for this incident, in which a journalist utilizing his universal freedom of the press was murdered for doing so by the nation he was critical of, the U.S. is taking a different, more alarming approach. Kushner’s friendship with bin Salman seems to be one reason why we haven’t acted in a more proactive manner, defending the rights of journalists and condemning Khashoggi’s assassination.
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.