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18 Nov, 2018 19:14

‘It’s a suffering tape’: Sensitive Trump says he won’t listen to audio record of Khashoggi killing

‘It’s a suffering tape’: Sensitive Trump says he won’t listen to audio record of Khashoggi killing

Donald Trump said he has no desire to listen to an audio allegedly depicting the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, but added that he had been briefed that it was a “very violent, very vicious and terrible” recording.

“We have the tape. I don’t want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape,” the US president told the ‘Fox News Sunday’ program.

When asked by Chris Wallace why he doesn’t want to get acquainted with the critical piece of evidence in the killing of the journalist, who was a US resident and wrote for the Washington Post, Trump replied “because it’s a suffering tape.”

However, he assured the group that he was “fully briefed” on the contents of the recording. It’s a "very violent, very vicious and terrible" tape, Trump said, adding that "there’s no reason for me to hear it."

Khashoggi was brutally murdered and dismembered by a group of assassins at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Riyadh first claimed that it was unaware of the fate of the journalist, who was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) in his articles.

But with all evidence pointing at them, the Saudis eventually admitted that Khashoggi was accidentally killed during an interrogation gone wrong. The key piece of proof is claimed to be a recording from the journalist’s Apple Watch that he turned on as a precaution before entering the consulate.

Turkish authorities said they’ve obtained this gruesome audio and have shared it with several countries, including the US.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that the CIA concluded “with high confidence” that the killing of its columnist was ordered by the Crown Prince himself.

Wallace wondered if MBS was lying when he personally assured Trump that he had nothing to do with the crime.

Who can really know? But I can say this: he’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge.

Since the outbreak of the scandal, Trump has been reluctant to yield to calls for punishing Riyadh –coming from both sides of the aisle– and spoil relations with one of America’s key security and business partners.

In Sunday’s interview, he reiterated his commitment to “stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.”

READ MORE: Premature but possible? Trump awaits ‘full report’ on Khashoggi murder after CIA implicates MbS

Earlier this week, Washington sanctioned 17 Saudi officials, some close to the Crown Prince, over Khashoggi’s death, freezing their assets in the US and refusing them entry to the country. But the move was seen as an attempt to pander to global outrage, while delivering no real damage to the US-Saudi ties.

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