President Trump thanks Saudis for lower oil prices, a day after he defended kingdom over Khashoggi murder

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President Donald Trump defended his decision not to punish Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or cut arms sales to Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. insisting it would be “foolish” to cut ties. (Nov. 20)
AP

A day after indicating he would do nothing to Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump on Wednesday thanked the Saudis for lowering oil prices through more production.

“Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World,” Trump tweeted. “Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!”

The thank-you tweet – done from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., where he is spending Thanksgiving weekend – came after Trump – in seeming defiance of the U.S. intelligence community – said he saw no reason to hold the Saudis accountable for the death of Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post.

“It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said in a written statement, adding that he would not change the U.S. business relationship with the key Middle East ally.

In an unusual statement filled with exclamation points – “the world is a very dangerous place!” – Trump declared that “the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.”

Lawmakers pointed out that intelligence agencies have determined that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had knowledge of plans to kill Khashoggi, and may have well have authorized the operation to get rid of the journalist.

“I never thought I’d see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia,” tweeted Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Corker said he and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, the committee’s top Democrat, sent a letter to Trump “requiring that he specifically determine whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman is responsible for the murder” of Khashoggi.

Some members of Congress said they would work to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a frequent ally of Trump, said Saudi Arabia may be a “strategic ally,” but the Crown Prince’s behavior has made him “beyond toxic” to the relationship.

“I firmly believe there will be strong bipartisan support for serious sanctions against Saudi Arabia, including appropriate members of the royal family, for this barbaric act which defied all civilized norms,” Graham said.

More: ‘Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!’ Trump says US will stand by Saudis despite Khashoggi murder

More: ‘I bet you’d be on my side if I had killed a journalist’: Michelle Wolf claps back at Trump

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  • Turkish police stand guard as they cordoned off an underground car park, Oct. 22, 2018, in Istanbul, after they found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate, three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate. 1 of 36
  • People look from their window at an underground car park cordoned off by Turkish police, Oct. 22, 2018, in Istanbul.2 of 36
  • Turkish forensics arrive at an underground car park cordoned off by Turkish police, Oct. 22, 2018 in Istanbul, after they found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate, three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate. 3 of 36
  • Security personnel guard Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the son of Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom announced early Monday, to express condolences for the death of the journalist killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by officials that allegedly included a member of the royal's entourage.4 of 36
  • Turkish forensics leave an underground car park cordoned off by Turkish police, Oct. 22, 2018, in Istanbul, after police found an abandoned car belonging to the Saudi consulate, three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate. 5 of 36
  • Security personnel guarding Saudi Arabia's consulate are seen behind barriers blocking the road leading to the diplomatic mission, in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. 6 of 36
  • In this image made from a March 2018 video provided by Metafora Production, Jamal Khashoggi reacts as a cat jumped on his lap, while speaking in an interview at an undisclosed location. Eighteen days after Khashoggi disappeared, Saudi Arabia acknowledged early Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, that the 59-year-old writer has died in what it said was a fistfight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.7 of 36
  • A security guard walks outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Saudi Arabia claims Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in a fistfight in consulate, finally admitting that the writer had been slain at its diplomatic post. The overnight announcement in Saudi state media came more than two weeks after Khashoggi, 59, entered the building for paperwork required to marry his Turkish fiance, and never came out.8 of 36
  • A security guard stands outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Saudi Arabia claims Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in a fistfight in consulate, finally admitting that the writer had been slain at its diplomatic post. 9 of 36
  • A woman stands next to police barriers, in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, on Oct. 20, 2018. Saudi Arabia admitted on October 20, 2018 that critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its Istanbul consulate, saying he died during a brawl, as Turkey vowed to release the full findings of its own investigation. 10 of 36
  • Media and TV journalists gather in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, on Oct. 20, 2018. 11 of 36
  • Head of the Turkish - Arab Media Association Turan Kislakci (C) speaks to media in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 20, 2018. 12 of 36
  • Sherine Tadros, head of New York (UN) Office of Amnesty International, speaks during a news conference at the United Nations, Oct. 18, 2018. Members from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, The Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders make an appeal regarding the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.13 of 36
  • Turkish forensic officers leave the Saudi consulate after they conducted a new search over the disappearance and alleged slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi, in Istanbul, early Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. 14 of 36
  • Turkish forensic officers arrive at the Saudi consulate to conduct a new search over the disappearance and alleged slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi, in Istanbul, early Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Khashoggi inside the consulate on Oct. 2. 15 of 36
  • Turkish police officers prepare to enter the residence of the Saudi consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi to conduct a search after the disappearance and alleged slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi, in Istanbul, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. 16 of 36
  • Turkish forensic search for evidence at the garage of Saudi Arabia's Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi, Oct. 17, 2018, in Istanbul. 17 of 36
  • A Turkish police officer walks inside the property of the residence of the Saudi consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi as Turkish police conduct a search after the disappearance and alleged slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi, in Istanbul, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018.18 of 36
  • Security members of the consulate wait in front of the gate door of the Saudi Arabian consulate, Oct. 17, 2018, in Istanbul. 19 of 36
  • A Turkish police officer searches inside the residence of the Saudi consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi as Turkish police conduct a search after the disappearance and alleged slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi, in Istanbul, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018.20 of 36
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday Oct. 16, 2018. Pompeo also met on Tuesday with Saudi King Salman over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished two weeks ago during a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.21 of 36
  • A security member is seen inside the entrance of the Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. A Turkish forensics teams finished a search for evidence inside the Saudi Arabia Consulate in Istanbul early Tuesday morning, over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.22 of 36
  • Turkish forensic police officers arrive for investigation at the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul, Oct. 16, 2018. 23 of 36
  • A Turkish forensic police officer searches for evidence as he works on the rooftop of the Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul, late Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. 24 of 36
  • Turkish forensic police officers arrive for an investigation at the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul, Oct. 16, 2018. 25 of 36
  • Two trucks are loaded with evidence from Turkish forensic police officers as they take part in the investigation of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 16, 2018. 26 of 36
  • A Saudi investigation delegation enters the consulate before Turkish forensic police and investigation delegation arrive at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 15, 2018 in Istanbul.27 of 36
  • Tawakkol Karman, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2011, gestures as she talks to members of the media about the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.28 of 36
  • A security guard walks in the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared Oct. 2, 2018, while on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, sparking an international uproar involving the kingdom, Turkey and the United States that remains unresolved. 29 of 36
  • This image taken from CCTV video obtained by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet and made available on Oct. 9, 2018, claims to show Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.30 of 36
  • A demonstrator dressed as Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman protests outside the Saudi Embassy in Washington, Oct. 8, 2018. 31 of 36
  • Security guards stand outside the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.32 of 36
  • The shadow of a security guard is seen on the entrance door of the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 12, 2018.33 of 36
  • Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate, Oct, 8, 2018 in Istanbul.34 of 36
  • A security guard speaks with colleagues at the entrance of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. 35 of 36
  • A bird flies next to Saudi Arabia's flag at the roof top of their consulate building in Istanbul, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. Veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared over a week ago while on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, sparking an international uproar involving the kingdom, Turkey and the United States that remains unresolved. 36 of 36

 

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