On Thursday, Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor announced that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi had been premeditated, suggesting that the regime was revamping its official story once again.
Previously, the Saudis had claimed that Khashoggi had died in an accident after getting in an altercation with Saudi officials at the Turkish consulate.
Even as the regime's explanation changes again, the blame continues to be directed at Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, a high-level intelligence chief.
A new report in the Daily Beast suggests that Al-Assiri had deep connections to team Trump. The Major General met with top members of the Trump transition team in 2017, including then Trump advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn would go on to resign from his post as National Security Advisor after it was revealed that he misled the FBI and Vice President Mike Pence about his contact with Russian officials during the campaign.
According to the Daily Beast, Al-Assiri and Flynn discussed regime change in Iran.
An Israeli social media strategist Joel Zamel also attended the meetings, as did George Nader, a Lebanese-American close to the United Arab Emirates. Trump's team baldly discussed toppling the Iranian regime, the Beast reports, strategizing how to use "economic, information, and military tactics for weakening the Tehran government."
Former acting CIA director John McLaughlin explained why the discussions were unusual—and not particularly well thought-out.
"It smacks of covert action planning, which is the most sensitive thing the U.S. government does and is so uniquely the province of the sitting president,” he told the Daily Beast.
Information about the meeting comes from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.