WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he declined to listen to a recording that captured part of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, calling it “a suffering tape” and “terrible.”
In an interview released on Sunday, Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” that he doesn’t have any interest in hearing the tape, which contains audio of the killing of Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in early October.
“Have you, one, either heard the tape yourself or been briefed on it, and if so, to your mind what does it show?” Wallace asked Trump.
“We have the tape, I don’t want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape,” Trump replied.
“Why don’t you want to hear it, sir?”
“Because it’s a suffering tape, it’s a terrible tape,” Trump said. “I’ve been fully briefed on it, there’s no reason for me to hear it, in fact I said to the people ‘should I?’ They said, ‘you really shouldn’t, there’s no reason.’ I know exactly — I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it.”
“It was very violent, very vicious and terrible,” Trump added.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made similar comments to a Turkish newspaper, calling the tape a “true disaster.”
Trump also said that he doesn’t know if Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was lying when he denied having any involvement in the murder of Khashoggi, a statement that conflicts with the CIA’s assessment on Friday that bin Salman personally ordered the killing of the journalist.
“I don’t — I don’t know, you know, who could really know?” Trump said. “But I can say this: He’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge.”
“Do you live with [bin Salman’s statement] because you need him?” Wallace asked.
“Well, will anybody really know?” answered Trump. “All right, will anybody really know? But he did have certainly people that were reasonably close to him and close to him that were probably involved,” Trump said.
“You saw we put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia,” Trump continued. “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.”