Former president Donald Trump cracked a joke about the grisly murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives, according to a new report.
The October 2018 murder of the U.S.-based journalist set off a crisis inside the White House, and Trump personally called Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father King Salman seeking answers about the slaying in Turkey, reported Yahoo's "Conspiracyland" podcast.
"The president had multiple calls with MBS and with King Salman, specifically asking them, did you know anything about this?" said Kirsten Fontenrose, then the director of Gulf affairs at the National Security Council. "The president would flat-out ask, I mean, up to a dozen times on any individual phone call, whether it was with King Salman or with MBS or both of them, 'Did you have any knowledge of this operation?' 'Did you know this was going to happen?' 'Did you give this order?'"
The royal duo repeatedly insisted they knew nothing of Khashoggi's murder and assured Trump, using his first name, that they would fully investigate the crime, but the ex-president became fixated on the conclusion by U.S. officials that the Saudi-born journalist's body was hacked up with a bone saw.
"I mean, he would go back to it and back to it and back to it, trying to press them and telling them, you know, 'This will change everything, you guys. We've got to know. We're with you. We're standing behind Saudi Arabia ... but we've got to get to the bottom of this. 'Was there a bone saw? Was there a bone saw?'" Fontenrose said.
He then joked about the gruesome detail.
"'I've been in difficult negotiations," Trump said. "I've never had to take a bone saw.'"
Trump turned at one point to then-secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and joked again, which drew a chuckle from the Cabinet official.
"'Have you ever had to take a bone saw into negotiations?'" Trump said, according to Fontenrose. "'No Mr. President, ha ha,' and pressing, pressing, pressing, and every time, 'No, no, no, Donald, we didn't know anything about it. We're still trying to get to the bottom of this.'"