Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, on Monday sidestepped questions about the apparent murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, responding to a question about whether he believes the Saudi government’s denial that it ordered Khashoggi’s killing by saying the White House is “more in the fact-finding phase.”
Kushner said during a rare public appearance that the administration wants to “determine which facts are credible.” He dodged several questions about whether he trusts the Saudi government’s changing explanations about Khashoggi’s death and whether the U.S. would take action against the government.
“We’re getting facts in from multiple places,” Kushner told moderator Van Jones at the “Citizen by CNN” event.
Kushner, who speaks regularly to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said he told the leader “just to be transparent, to be fully transparent,” but that “we’ll see” if he follows that advice.
On Friday, officials claimed that Khashoggi was killed in a fistfight. Trump has continually taken the Saudi government’s denials at face value.
The Trump administration has faced condemnation for not responding forcefully to Khashoggi’s disappearance and eventual death, despite growing evidence that Saudi officials ordered the killing of The Washington Post contributor, who had long been critical of the Saudi government.
Kushner, whose wide White House portfolio includes being tasked with brokering peace with the Middle East, insisted that Saudi Arabia remains “a very strong ally” and that “we’ve made a lot of progress.”