No point in listening to Khashoggi murder audio, John Bolton says
Nov 27, 2018 2:13 PM EST
National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that he sees no point in listening to the audio of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi because he doesn’t speak Arabic.
“I’m very satisfied that we know what the tape picked up, and it was factored into the president’s decision, and he’s announced his position very clearly,” Bolton said in the first White House press briefing in a month.
President Trump has vigorously defended his decision not to further punish the Saudis over the death of Jamal Khashoggi, even after the CIA concluded — as CBS News has reported — that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed the assassination. Mr. Trump issued a statement last week claiming the U.S. stands with the Saudis, claiming the U.S. may never know what happened.
Bolton denied a Guardian report that the White House is blocking CIA Director Gina Haspel from briefing senators on the murder. That is “certainly not” the case, Bolton said. He claimed the president isn’t planning on meeting with Salman at the G20 in Argentina later this week.
The White House also defended the president’s silence so far on Russia’s seizing of Ukrainian ships near Crimea. The attack has sparked global condemnation. But asked whether Mr. Trump will respond personally, Bolton said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has already spoken out on the matter, and the administration is sticking with that statement.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also took to the podium, addressing a slew of topics — including the violent situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. The U.S. recently used tear gas at the border as the caravan of migrants looked to cross. Asked if the White House regrets that tear gas affected children, Sanders said they certainly don’t want children to be hurt, under any circumstances.
“Certainly no one wants women or children or any individuals to have this happen, which is why we have encouraged them to follow the law,” she said.
The White House also defended the administration’s economic policy after General Motors announced a massive round of layoffs on Monday. Later in the same day, the president claimed at a rally in Mississippi that he had found the “magic wand” to bring back manufacturing jobs.
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow insisted that, although GM’s massive layoffs are “brutal,” the job losses won’t affect the economy more broadly. Kudlow said the U.S. is considering adding “certain subsidies regarding electric cars” to keep GM business from going to China.
Moments later, Mr. Trump tweeted that he is considering cutting all subsidies for GM.