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Trump’s Son-in-law ‘Advised’ Saudi Prince After Khashoggi Murder

09 December 2018

Their connection, though, has been pivotal since the start of the Trump administration.

The US president has condemned the brutal slaying as a "horrible crime ... that our country does not condone".

After Kushner visited Saudi Arabia with Trump in June 2017, bin Salman ousted his cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and replaced him as crown prince.

Last month, Trump told reporters that "foolishly canceling" arms sales to Saudi Arabia worth billions of dollars would only benefit Russian Federation and China, which would be next in line to supply the weapons.

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Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

A White House spokesman told the Times in a statement, "Jared has always meticulously followed protocols and guidelines regarding the relationship with MBS and all of the other foreign officials with whom he interacts", referring to the crown prince by his initials.

Reviewing documents, emails and messages, the report said bin Salman and his advisers had cultivated the relationship with Kushner for more than two years in a bid to enlist American support for the Saudi prince's hawkish regional policies and consolidation of power.

Kushner's support for Prince Mohammed in the moment of crisis is a striking demonstration of a singular bond that has helped draw President Trump into an embrace of Saudi Arabia as one of his most important global allies.

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Martin Indyk, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an ex-Middle East envoy, said the relationship between Kushner and MbS constitutes the foundation of the Trump policy not just toward Saudi Arabia but toward the region.

That included Riyadh's inclusion in a yet-unpublished Israel-Palestinian peace plan and U.S. support for a Saudi-led boycott of Qatar and for Riyadh's interventions in the Yemen civil war.

The Saudi government has denied bin Salman's involvement.

Little has come so far of the Saudi promises to invest in USA infrastructure and to sign huge contracts with Washington over four years for weapons and other products.

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The main interest of Kushner is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. President Trump has dismissed such evidence, however, suggesting last month that even if the prince did personally order the killing, the US would still maintain a close relationship with its wealthy ally. A slide-show presentation obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia and supporter of Iran-backed Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah, detailed certain strategies for courting Kushner. An earlier report by The Intercept said Mohammed had "bragged" about Kushner being "in his pocket".

Trump’s Son-in-law ‘Advised’ Saudi Prince After Khashoggi Murder