Crown prince dis­par­aged Khashoggi in phone call

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - By JohnHud­son, Souad Mekhen­net and Carol D. Leon­nig

Saudi Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Salman de­scribed slain jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi as a dan­ger­ous Is­lamist days af­ter his dis­ap­pear­ance in a phone call with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s son-in-lawJared Kush­ner and na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser John Bolton, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sion.

In the call, which oc­curred be­fore the king­dom pub­licly ac­knowl­edged killing Khashoggi, the crown prince urged Kush­ner and Bolton to pre­serve the U. S.Saudi al­liance and said the jour­nal­ist was a mem­ber of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, a group long op­posed by Bolton and other se­nior Trump of­fi­cials.

The at­tempt to crit­i­cize Khashoggi in pri­vate stands in con­trast to the Saudi govern­ment’s later pub­lic state­ments de­cry­ing the jour­nal­ist’s death as a “ter­ri­ble mis­take” and “ter­ri­ble tragedy.”

“The in­ci­dent that hap­pened is very painful, for all Saudis,” Mo­hammed, the king­dom’s de facto leader, said dur­ing a panel dis­cus­sion last week. “The in­ci­dent is not jus­ti­fi­able.”

The Saudi am­bas­sador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, de­scribed Khashoggi last month as a “friend” who ded­i­cated “a great por­tion of his life to serve his coun­try.”

In a state­ment re­leased to The Wash­ing­ton Post, Khashoggi’s fam­ily called the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the colum­nist as a dan­ger­ous Is­lamist in­ac­cu­rate.

“Ja­mal Khashoggi was not a mem­ber of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. He de­nied such claims re­peat­edly over the past sev­eral years,” the fam­ily said. “Ja­mal Khashoggi was not a dan­ger­ous per­son in any way pos­si­ble. To claim oth­er­wise would be ridicu­lous.”

A per­son fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sion said Bolton did not sig­nal that he en­dorsed the crown prince’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Khashoggi dur­ing the call.

bin Salman

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