White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Tuesday he had urged Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to be transparent about the circumstances surrounding the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Taking questions at a Time magazine forum, Kushner was not specific about when he had spoken to the crown prince about the October killing of Khashoggi, a U.S.-based journalist, inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
But Kushner spoke to Salman by phone in the days after the death and met with him in Riyadh during a February tour of Gulf capitals.
“The advice I gave was, be as transparent as possible,” Kushner said. “We have to make sure there is accountability for what happened.”
Khashoggi’s death at the hands of Saudi agents in Istanbul sparked an outcry and tarnished the crown prince’s image.
The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency believes the crown prince ordered the killing, which Saudi officials deny.
President Donald Trump has been criticized by U.S. lawmakers for not taking a stronger stand against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s killing.
“Look, I’m not going to dispute American intelligence services’ recommendations,” Kushner said when asked about the intelligence community’s conclusion.
Trump has said the U.S. partnership with Saudi Arabia is important for the U.S. economy and for maintaining stability in the region.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Bernadette Baum)