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President Donald Trump bragged to the veteran journalist Bob Woodward that he protected Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) from congressional scrutiny after the brutal assassination of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
That’s according to Woodward’s upcoming book, “Rage.” The book, a copy of which was obtained by Insider, is slated for release on September 15.
Woodward conducted 18 wide-ranging interviews with the president for the book, as well as interviews with multiple senior White House officials and former administration officials. Still, Trump last month slammed the book as “a FAKE, as always, just as many of the others have been.”
Woodward wrote that Trump called him on January 22 shortly after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. During the conversation, Woodward pressed the president about Khashoggi’s gruesome murder.
The longtime Washington Post columnist was known for his criticism of the Saudi kingdom. The 59-year-old journalist was assassinated and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, after going there to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage.
The CIA concluded a little over a month later that MBS had personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder.
“The people at the Post are upset about the Khashoggi killing,” Woodward told Trump on January 22, according to his book. “That is one of the most gruesome things. You yourself have said.”
“Yeah, but Iran is killing 36 people a day, so —” Trump began, before Woodward redirected the conversation to Khashoggi’s murder.
Woodward wrote that he continued pressing Trump about MBS’s role in ordering Khashoggi’s killing, which has been widely reported on.
“I saved his a–,” Trump said in 2018, amid the US outcry following Khashoggi’s murder, according to the book. “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop.”
During his January 22 conversation with Woodward, the president said, “Well, I understand what you’re saying, and I’ve gotten involved very much. I know everything about the whole situation.”
Trump added that Saudi Arabia spends billions of dollars on US products. He also stressed MBS’s claim of innocence, despite the fact that US intelligence and other foreign intelligence agencies have concluded otherwise.
“He will always say that he didn’t do it,” Trump said of MBS. “He says that to everybody, and frankly I’m happy that he says that. But he will say that to you, he will say that to Congress, and he will say that to everybody. He’s never said he did it.”
“Do you believe that he did it?” Woodward asked.
“No, he says that he didn’t do it,” Trump replied.
“I know, but do you really believe —” Woodward began before Trump cut him off.
“He says very strongly that he didn’t do it. Bob, they spent $400 billion over a fairly short period of time,” the president said. “And you know, they’re in the Middle East. You know, they’re big. Because of their religious monuments, you know, they have the real power. They have the oil, but they also have the great monuments for religion. You know that, right? For …read more
Source:: Business Insider