CNN host Jake Tapper on Sunday briefly sparred with White House communications director Kate Bedingfield over President Joe Biden's stance towards Saudi Arabia.
Biden had promised to hold senior Saudi leaders accountable for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi But has "declined to apply sanctions to the one the US intelligence community determined is responsible," CNN reported last month.
"President Biden will not directly sanction Saudi Arabian Crown Prince [Mohammed] bin Salman for his approval for of the operation to murder The Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi," Tapper said Sunday. "It's clear that President Biden believes maintaining America's relationship with the Saudis is more important than holding the crown prince directly responsible."
"Didn't the crown prince already make that calculation already?" Tapper continued. "That murdering Khashoggi was more important than the U.S.-Saudi relationship? Hasn't that decision that the murder is more important than the relationship already been made?"
"I would dispute the way you frame that," Bedingfield shot back. "I mean, President Biden has been very clear this was a horrific, unacceptable crime. It is not something that we as Americans are going to tolerate moving forward. He made that clear to the Saudi government. We made that clear at all levels of the administration. We've taken concrete step. We've sanctioned individuals and networks involved in that crime."
"But not MBS," Tapper interjected.
"But what we've done is we've also been transparent," Bedingfield said. "We have put forward the report that unequivocally details his role in this crime. That is something the previous administration didn't do."
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