Dem Congressman Claims Jared Kushner Coordinated Khashoggi’s Assassination with Saudi Crown Prince

|
Posted: Oct 19, 2018 2:00 PM
Dem Congressman Claims Jared Kushner Coordinated Khashoggi’s Assassination with Saudi Crown Prince

On Friday morning, Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro appeared on “CNN Newsroom” with anchor Poppy Harlow to discuss the alleged murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. During the course of the interview, Castro claimed that White House advisor Jared Kushner had given Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman a “hit list” of state “enemies” that was then used as the basis for the Saudis’ alleged assassination of Khashoggi.

Castro, who represents Texas’s 20thcongressional district, did not provide any evidence for this extraordinary accusation, only referring to vague “reporting” to support it:

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO [D-TX]: Let me get to the point that I think is most disturbing right now —the reporting that Jared Kushner may have, with U.S. intelligence, delivered a hit list, an enemies list, to the crown prince, to MBS [Mohammad bin Salman], in Saudi Arabia and that the prince then may have acted on that and one of the people that he took action against was Mr. Khashoggi.

To her credit, Harlow immediately jumped in and tried to pin down where Castro was getting his information while also making clear to CNN’s viewers that the network had no idea where Castro’s “reporting” was coming from:

HARLOW: [interrupting] Just to be clear congressman, we don’t have -- I just wanna be clear for our viewers, we do not have that reporting. I’m not sure where you’re getting that from, but you-

REP. CASTRO: There has been reporting to that effect. Sure, I’ve seen reporting to that effect.

HARLOW: Not CNN reporting.

After admitting that it was not CNN reporting that he was referring to, Castro moved on not by backing up his assertions, but demanding that congressional intelligence committees from both houses investigate his allegations:

REP. CASTRO: Sure, uh, but the long and short of it is that that needs to be investigated. This entire -- the entire timeline of what happened, of any sharing of American intelligence with the Saudis and how they may have used that intelligence needs to be investigated by the intelligence committee in the House and in the Senate.

After The Daily Beast correctly reported that Castro had accused Kushner of “orchestrating” Khashoggi’s alleged murder, the Texas representative took to Twitter to start damage control, saying that he “did not intend to accuse @jaredkushner of orchestrating anything” but still wants an investigation of his claims:

One of the reports that Castro cited as a basis for justifying an investigation was an article published earlier this year by The Intercept asserting that Kushner once gave “a handful of names of royal family members” who opposed the crown prince to the prince himself [emphasis mine]:

In June, Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upending the established line of succession. In the months that followed, the President’s Daily Brief contained information on Saudi Arabia’s evolving political situation, including a handful of names of royal family members opposed to the crown prince’s power grab, according to the former White House official and two U.S. government officials with knowledge of the report. Like many others interviewed for this story, they declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about sensitive matters to the press.

(…)

What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s spokesperson, denies having done so.

Given that Khashoggi was not a member of the Saudi royal family, there is no reason why he would have been one of the names from the president’s daily briefing, assuming of course that the Intercept’s reporting is accurate. If Khashoggi had been separately mentioned by Kushner at his meeting with MBS in Riyadh, The Intercept’s piece makes no mention of him specifically. (Because the report is from March 2018, this should not be surprising.)

A partial transcript of the short CNN segment follows below:

POPPY HARLOW: …Republican Senator Bob Corker, who of course chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that he is being blocked by seeing some of the key intelligence. He says there has been a clampdown on further intelligence updates to senators. The White House responded, saying: Look, that’s not from us. I know that you’re not in session right now and that you haven’t had a chance, correct me if I’m wrong, to see this intelligence that he’s talking about, but what is your reaction to that concern from your Republican counterpart?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO [D-TX]: I know, Poppy, that there’s been a lot of discussion about this. There’ll be more discussion on CNN and all the other networks today.

Let me get to the point that I think is most disturbing right now —the reporting that Jared Kushner may have, with U.S. intelligence, delivered a hit list, an enemies list, to the crown prince, to MBS, in Saudi Arabia and that the prince then may have acted on that and one of the people that he took action against was Mr. Khashoggi. And if that’s the case-

HARLOW: [interrupting] Just to be clear congressman, we don’t have -- I just wanna be clear for our viewers, we do not have that reporting. I’m not sure where you’re getting that from, but you-

REP. CASTRO: There has been reporting to that effect. Sure, I’ve seen reporting to that effect.

HARLOW: Not CNN reporting.

REP. CASTRO: Sure, uh, but the long and short of it is that that needs to be investigated. This entire -- the entire timeline of what happened, of any sharing of American intelligence with the Saudis and how they may have used that intelligence needs to be investigated by the intelligence committee in the House and in the Senate.