Trump issues new statement on Jamal Khashoggi -- and he repeats Saudi smears of him as a Muslim Brotherhood operative
US President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman shake hands at the White House on March 14, 2017. Trump heads to Saudi Arabia this weekend on his first foreign trip since taking office (AFP Photo/NICHOLAS KAMM)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a new statement on murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in which he repeated smears circulated by Saudi government officials that painted him as an operative for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Although Trump condemned Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he made sure to include statements made to him by Saudi officials about the late journalist's purported political alliances.

"Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an 'enemy of the state' and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that -- this is an unacceptable and horrible crime," the president said.

Despite this, the president also defended the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, all while casting doubt on whether Salman actually knew about the plot by Saudi intelligence officials to kill Khashoggi.

"Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but 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. "That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran."

Read the whole statement below.