Former CIA Director John Brennan suggested Wednesday night that President Trump is conspiring with Saudi leaders to make up a story about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. The Saudi journalist was last seen on October 2 walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkey says the Saudis killed him, but Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud deny the charge. Trump suggested that he has no reason not to believe him and cited our economic relationship.
That left Brennan with this theory.
“So they’ve been working to concoct a story that’s going to stand up to the scrutiny that will be immediately put on it," Brennan said on MSNBC. "How can they claim then that Mohammed bin Salman had no responsibility whatsoever. Is he looking for the scapegoats inside of Saudi Arabia? Has he already taken action against them?"
Still, if U.S. intelligence has damning information about Salman's role in Khashoggi's disappearance, "his story is going to fall apart,” Brennan said. That, he said, is why it's so important that the CIA and others brief the House and Senate intelligence committees so that they can "hold the administration's feet to the fire."
Congress is going to be integral in this, Brennan added. "Because if Mr. Trump and others are going to try in fact to gloss over this somehow," lawmakers won't let that fly.
On Twitter, Brennan said the U.S.-Saudi strategic alliance cannot prevent swift justice on the Saudi government.
Jamal Khashoggi’s apparent death at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul is an atrocity, and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s close ties to the White House must not stand in the way of a full and forceful U.S. response. https://t.co/XTonCQic7i— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) October 13, 2018
Brennan has long been an outspoken Trump critic, condemning the president's rhetoric and policymaking decisions every chance he gets.
Earlier this summer, Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance.