Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby on Monday suggested that Saudi Arabia has some kind of “leverage” over President Donald Trump that would allow the country to skate on accusations that its top officials ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
During a discussion of the Trump administration missing a Congressional deadline to report its findings on the Khashoggi murder, Kirby said that the administration was dragging its feet in issuing a report on the killing because it would likely be bad news for Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been accused of personally orchestrating Khashoggi’s assassination.
“They are slow rolling this,” he said. “This whole episode shows you the degree to which this administration has gone all in on Saudi Arabia. It shows you the degree to which their Middle East policy is about Iran, and they see Saudi Arabia as the biggest counterweight against Iran.”
Kirby then explained how the Trump administration is so dependent on the Saudis that the country likely now believes it can get away with anything.
“They have leverage over Trump,” he said. “I think they are absolutely seeing signs from the Trump administration that they’re going to continue to get away with this. It’s what both sides are doing — the Saudis and the Trump administration — just playing for time.”
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