The United States received a $100 million payment from Saudi Arabia Tuesday, the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father King Salman in Saudi Arabia to discuss the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. While the $100 million payment had been brokered earlier this summer and is related to U.S. military efforts in Syria, the timing of its delivery appeared highly suspicious, with one U.S. official telling The New York Times, “The timing of this is no coincidence.” Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was tortured and murdered by a squad of 15 Saudi hit men, who dismembered his body. Video and audio recordings from inside the consulate reportedly show Khashoggi was beaten, tortured and beheaded, with his fingers cut off and his body dismembered. This is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking about his visit to Saudi Arabia.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “They made no exceptions to who they would hold accountable. They were just—they were very clear, they understand the importance of this issue, they’re determined to get to the bottom of it and that they will conduct the report. And we’ll all get a chance to see it. They each promised that they would achieve that for us.”
Reporter: “And did they say that Mr. Khashoggi is alive or dead?”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “I don’t want to talk about any of the facts. They didn’t want to, either, in that they want to have the opportunity to complete this investigation in a thorough way.”
Khashoggi’s suspected murder has caused a diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, particularly for Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has close ties to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This is Kushner refusing to answer a CBS reporter’s questions Tuesday.
Errol Barnett: “Hey there, Jared. Errol Barnett with CBS. Any comment on [inaudible]? This is my credential right here.”
Jared Kushner: “I don’t give a damn who you are. There’s a time and place.”
The Secret Service later had to defend itself for how its agents handled the incident, saying they did not intend to impede media access. Kushner has cultivated an extremely close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, dining with him in Washington and Riyadh and hosting one-on-one phone calls with him outside of normal diplomatic channels.