And Trump once again defended Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” order the killing of The Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump’s comment came after the White House reportedly barred CIA chief Gina Haspel and other intelligence officials from briefing U.S. senators about Khashoggi’s killing. Today’s briefing will instead be led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—a staunch defender of the Saudi royal family. The CIA has concluded with “high confidence” that Crown Prince bin Salman is directly implicated in ordering Khashoggi’s murder, and Gina Haspel has reportedly heard audio of the killing intercepted by Turkish intelligence. At the White House, national security adviser John Bolton told reporters Tuesday he hasn’t heard the tape and would not be listening to it.
John Bolton: “No, I haven’t listened to it. And I guess I should ask you: Why do you think I should? What do you think I’ll learn from it?”
Reporter: “Well, you’re the national security adviser. You might have access to that sort of intelligence.”
John Bolton: “Yeah. How many in this room speak Arabic?”
Reporter: “You don’t have access to an interpreter?”
John Bolton: “Well, you want me to listen to it? What am I going to learn from—I mean, if they were speaking Korean, I wouldn’t learn any more from it, either.”
President Trump has also said he won’t listen to the tape, calling it a “suffering tape.”