White House: claim Jared Kushner gave Saudi permission to arrest Jamal Khashoggi is 'false nonsense'

Daily Mail Online 1 month ago

A White House official dismissed as 'false nonsense' Monday a claim that Jared Kushner gave permission to Saudi ruler Mohammad bin Salman to arrest Jamal Khashoggi before he was killed and dismembered.

The claim was made in a report in Cockburn gossip column of the U.S. edition of British conservative news magazine The Spectator. 

The report also claimed that Turkish intelligence intercepted the call and President Recep Erdogan then used the information to force Donald Trump to remove his troops from northern Syria.

The report claims that investigators on the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee are aware of these allegations and are planning to dig further into them while pursuing the impeachment inquiry over Trump's dealings with Ukraine.    

It also claims that the number of intelligence 'whistleblowers' who have given or are willing to give evidence to the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment inquiry is seven. 

However it counts two of those 'whistleblowers' as Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, and Tim Morrison, the NSC's director for European and Russian Affairs, both of whom gave evidence under subpoena to the impeachment probe and who both listened to Trump's call to Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Morrison, however testified that he was not concerned that the call contained anything illegal. 

That would leave three other 'whistelblowers' -although the Spectator acknowledged of its own report: 'Whether any of is true is another matter.'

Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist who at one point was considered close to the ruling Saudi royal family but later became disillusioned by its powerful young prince.

Jared Kushner
Jared Kushner (left) is claimed to have given Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) the green light to arrest a Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi
Khashoggi (above) was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018
Khashoggi (above) was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018
A CCTV image purportedly showing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi and his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz at an apartment building in Istanbul, Turkey, just hours before his death in the Saudi Arabian consulate
A CCTV image purportedly showing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi and his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz at an apartment building in Istanbul, Turkey, just hours before his death in the Saudi Arabian consulate

In October 2018, Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to sort documents before he was to be married to his Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz. He never emerged.

The Turkish government said it has evidence that Khashoggi was killed and his body was dismembered.

The Central Intelligence Agency and other Western governments believe that bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's killing.

In recent interviews with American media outlets, bin Salman said he bears responsibility for the Khashoggi killing 'because it happened under my watch.'

But he denies ordering the murder.

'It happened under my watch,' he told PBS. 'I get all the responsibility, because it happened under my watch.

After initial denials, the official Saudi narrative blamed the murder on rogue operatives.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left), it is claimed, got wind of the alleged Kushner-MBS phone call and then used the information to force President Trump to remove American troops from northern Syria. A White House official dismissed the claim as 'false nonsense'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left), it is claimed, got wind of the alleged Kushner-MBS phone call and then used the information to force President Trump to remove American troops from northern Syria. A White House official dismissed the claim as 'false nonsense'

The public prosecutor said the then-deputy intelligence chief ordered the repatriation of Khashoggi, a royal insider who became an outspoken critic, but the lead negotiator ordered him killed after discussions for his return failed.

Eleven Saudi suspects have been put on trial in secretive proceedings but only a few hearings have been held.

A United Nations report has called for Prince Mohammed and other senior Saudi officials to be investigated.

The fallout from the killing has damaged the international reputation of the 33-year-old and there have been rumours of a growing rift between him and his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Kushner, who is a top White House aide whose portfolio includes diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, has defended MBS.

His ties with the Saudi prince have come under scrutiny after it was learned that the two communicated through text messages on WhatsApp. 

The Presidential Records Act prohibits senior White House officials from using non-official email or messaging accounts for government business.

Democrats in Congress have sent letters demanding that the White House provide documents about senior aides' use of private email and text services.

Trump's decision to remove US troops from northern Syria, allowing Turkey to launch a military offensive against the Kurds, was heavily criticized
Trump's decision to remove US troops from northern Syria, allowing Turkey to launch a military offensive against the Kurds, was heavily criticized

The Trump administration has refused to condemn the Saudi prince despite its spy agencies saying he is responsible for Khashoggi's death.

Both Republicans and Democrats slammed Trump last month after he agreed to Erdogan's request to remove American forces from the northern Syria region which shares a border with Turkey.

Erdogan then sent Turkish troops into Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria, triggering a humanitarian crisis.

The Republican president is under increasing pressure as the House of Representatives forges ahead with its investigation of whether Trump solicited help from Ukraine as he seeks re-election next year.

Leaders of the Democratic-controlled House expect to begin public hearings in the next few weeks.

The inquiry was launched on Sept. 24 after a whistleblower complaint from the unidentified U.S. intelligence official who was concerned the president's actions on Ukraine were illegal and jeopardized national security. 


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Jared Kushner's (left) phone call with Mohammed bin Salman (top right) about the arrest of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi (bottom right) was allegedly intercepted by Turkey.
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