Donald Trump bragged to journalist Bob Woodward that he protected Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from congressional scrutiny after the assassination of dissident Jamal Khashoggi, according to reports.
"I saved his ass," Mr Trump reportedly said in 2018 during one of the 18 interviews he granted Mr Woodward as part of his research for his upcoming book Rage. "I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop."
US intelligence agencies concluded that the crown prince, or MBS as he is known, personally ordered the killing of Mr Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and longtime critic of the Saudi royal family, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in the October of 2018.
The brutal murder shocked the world and was quicky condemned by leaders across the world. However, Mr Trump refused to condemn the prince, calling the country "a great ally".
A United Nations investigation later concluded that Mr Khashoggi was the victim of a "premeditated extrajudicial execution", for which the "state of Saudi Arabia is responsible."
Earlier this week, a Saudi court sentenced eight suspects over the death in a closed trial.
Mr Trump repeatedly used executive power to block and bypass Congress's efforts to cut ties with the kingdom after Mr Khashoggi's murder.
Last year, he vetoed a bipartisan bill to end US support for the Saudis in Yemen. More recently, Mr Trump has moved to circumvent a decades-old arms-control pact in order to sell weaponised drones to the Saudis and to other countries in the region, sparking backlash from both sides of the aisle in Congress.
According to Business Insider, which has seen a copy of the book, Mr Woodwood, who helped expose the Watergate scandal that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, asked the US president: "Do you believe that he (MBS) did it?"
"No, he says that he didn't do it," Mr Trump replied. "I know, but do you really believe —" Mr Woodward said before Mr Trump cut him off.
"He says very strongly that he didn't do it," Mr Trump said. "Bob, they spent $400 billion over a fairly short period of time," he added, making reference to the billions of dollars Riyadh spends on US defence products.
Mr Trump has not responded to the specific claims.
In an on-the-record interviews with Mr Woodward for the book, Mr Trump admits to minimising the threat from the coronavirus at the outset of a pandemic which has gone on to take some 200,000 lives in the US.
"I wanted to always play it down," he said in one conversation with the former Washington Post reporter, who is now an associate editor at the paper. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."
The president also told Mr Woodward that he understood early on that the virus was "deadly stuff" and far more dangerous than the common flu. At the same time, he was reassuring the public the virus would just "disappear."
Why Mr Trump agreed to conduct more than a dozen on-the-record interviews with Woodward is something of a mystery, particularly after his previous book portrayed Trump in a much less than flattering light.
Mr Woodward's Fear: Trump in the White House published in 2018 painted a portrait of an angry, paranoid leader and a White House which Mr Trump's own chief of staff described as "Crazytown."
The Telegraph, September 10, 2020
September 13, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. Another Woodward Reveal.
Saudis flew planes into the World Trade Center on 9/11. The GOP protected them. Texas Oil interests.
Jamal Khashoggi, an American journalist, was murdered, cut into pieces, by orders from the Saudi Crown prince, MSB. Trump and Kushner protected him. Personal gain.
#InFrontOfOurEyes #NeverForget #BidenHarris2020