Saudi diplomat says Biden ‘took Saudi Arabia’s assurances’ on Khashoggi ‘at face value’ after Biden publicly dismissed them

During an interview that aired on Friday’s edition of CNN’s “Situation Room,” Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir, who was inside President Joe Biden’s meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, claimed that while Biden mentioned the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Biden “mentioned that he took Saudi Arabia’s assurances at face value” and that he believes Biden has accepted Saudi Arabia’s explanation. Al-Jubeir also cast doubt on whether the US intelligence community specifically concluded that MBS was responsible for the murder while casting doubt on the credibility of the intelligence community and claiming that presidents say that during the campaign election “sometimes this is not reflected in terms of being in power”. because they have access to more intelligence, they have access to the fuller and broader picture when they do these things.

Al-Jubeir said: “At the beginning, during the reception, the president mentioned that it was a problem. He mentioned that he had taken Saudi Arabia’s assurances at face value. … [T]he crown prince explained to him that this was a tragedy for Saudi Arabia and that those responsible for it had been investigated and confronted [the] law and now pay the price for the crime that has been committed and us – the conversation then evolved into official discussions.

Host Wolf Blitzer then asked, “So did you get the sense, Minister, that President Biden accepted your explanation for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?

Al-Jubeir replied: “I believe so. But I–yes, I believe it.

Blitzer then asked: “And he didn’t pick it up again all the way -.”

Al-Jubeir intervened to say, “What is there to raise, Wolf?

Blitzer replied, “The American intelligence community, as you know, has concluded that the crown prince ordered, did order the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Al-Jubeir said, “I don’t believe it was specified in those terms, firstly. Second, it was an assessment. Third, we know what the intelligence community’s assessment was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has investigated this crime. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has held those responsible accountable and they are paying the price for the crime they committed as we speak.

Blitzer then said, “President Biden, as a candidate, certainly believed in the US intelligence assessment.”

Al-Jubeir replied, “Wolf, you and I had a similar conversation regarding what President Trump said when he was on the campaign trail. What’s going on – what people say during the election campaign sometimes doesn’t translate into terms of being in power because they have access to more information, they have access to a fuller and broader picture when they do these things.

After the meeting, President Biden said he raised Khashoggi’s murder and believed the crown prince was responsible.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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