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Fully briefed on Khashoggi tapes, but advised not to listen it: Trump

Fully briefed on Khashoggi tapes, but advised not to listen it: Trump
Highlights

US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he has been fully briefed on an audio recording related to the brutal killing of the dissident Saudi...

Washington: US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he has been fully briefed on an audio recording related to the brutal killing of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but was advised against listening to those "suffering" tapes.

Khashoggi, 59, who wrote for The Washington Post, was killed last month inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where he had gone to collect papers related to his marriage.

Turkish investigators say they have audio recording of his killings, which it has shared with key partners including the US.

In an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News, which was aired on Sunday, Trump for the first time acknowledged that he has been briefed on the audio recording of the Khashoggi's murder.

Trump said he hasn't listened to it, as he was advised not to hear the "suffering tape", according to the news channel.

A day earlier, Trump spoke with the CIA chief on the agency's assessment of the killing of Khashoggi.

He expects a full report on it by Tuesday.

In the interview, Trump defended his policy on Saudi Arabia, saying "We have put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia. But at the same time, we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good."

He also said it "takes two to tango" to resolve the conflict in Yemen, where Iranian-backed insurgents are facing off against Saudi-backed forces, noting that "I want Saudi to stop, but I want Iran to stop also".

A day earlier he told reporters in California that it (Khashoggi's murder) was a horrible thing that took place.

"It's a horrible thing that took place, the killing of a journalist...It should never have happened," Trump told reporters travelling with him to California.

Asked about the reports that the CIA had assessed involvement by the Saudi Crown Prince, the President said, "they haven't assessed anything yet. It's too early. That was a very a premature report."

"We'll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday," the US President said.

He then said more definitely that there would be "a report on Tuesday."

The report will address what "we think the overall impact was and who caused it, and who did it."

"In the meantime we're doing things to some people that we know for a fact were involved and we're being very tough on a lot of people," he added.

Saudi Arabia had offered a series of contradictory explanations for Khashoggi's death. After repeated denials, Riyadh finally admitted Khashoggi had been murdered at the compound of its Istanbul Consulate but blamed it on a "rogue" operation.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had assessed with high confidence the role of the Saudi leader, based on multiple sources of intelligence.

The CIA found that 15 Saudi agents flew on government planes to Istanbul and carried out the killing at the Saudi consulate, the report said, adding that it could complicate President Trump's efforts to preserve US ties with one of the closest American allies in the region.

"The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved," a US official familiar with the CIA's conclusions, told the daily.

Saudi Arabia has denied any such linkage.

Fatimah Baeshen, a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, said that the claims in the CIA's "purported assessment are false. We have and continue to hear various theories without seeing the primary basis for these speculations."

According to the report, it is CIA assessment that the crown prince who is the defacto ruler of the country would survive the crisis.

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