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Kushner Says Trump Administration Still Gathering Facts on Jamal Khashoggi

The Trump Administration continues to gather facts regarding the death of journalist and Saudi Arabia dissident Jamal Khashoggi, adviser Jared Kushner said Monday in rare public remarks.

“We are more in the fact-finding phase,” said Kushner, who is also the president’s son-in-law, at a conference held by CNN during an interview with activist and host Van Jones. He added: “Once we have all the facts we will make an assessment.”

Kushner more or less repeated the Trump line on what is believed to be a horrific assassination of a working journalist and free-speech advocate, and he declined to suggest potential U.S. sanctions or pushback against what is widely believed to be the October 2 killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. The Saudi Arabian government at first denied his death  but acknowledged last week that Khashoggi died inside the consulate.

“We have to deal with what seems to be a terrible situation,” Kushner noted.

The adviser, who is married to Ivanka Trump, indicated the administration is mindful of U.S. ties to Saudi Arabia and the ways it can help with Iran, which the Trump White House has perceived as a strong threat. Yet he also indicated officials were aware of inconsistencies in the Saudi story so far: “We have our eyes wide open,” he said.

Speaking at the CNN conference later in the day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed back on the Trump administration’s handling of the Saudi situation, calling it “an embarrassment” and and noting that the issue at the center of it all, freedom of the press, “is the guardian of the fate of our democracy.”

 

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