When asked if President Trump was planning to meet with the Saudi Crown Prince while he was at the G20, White House National Security Advisor John Bolton replied in the negative: his schedule is too busy.
Moments later, Sarah Sanders was asked if Trump could have an informal interaction with Mohammed bin Salman. Sanders did not rule out the possibility.
Why a meeting with the prince is important: The leading Republicans have criticized President Donald Trump earlier this month for his statement of support to Saudi Arabia following the death and dismemberment of Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was a virulent critic of the Saudi government.
The official statement from the White House says: "Our intelligence agencies continue to evaluate all the information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince has learned of this tragic event – maybe it's the only time he's been there. did and maybe he did not! "
A senior US official and a close source told CNN that the CIA had concluded last week that the Crown Prince had personally ordered Khashoggi's assassination. According to the Washington Post, which released the first report on the CIA's assessment, US officials have great confidence in the report. The Saudi government has always denied that the leader was involved.
In his statement, the president wrote: "We may never know all the facts surrounding the assassination of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi", adding: "In any case, our relations with the Kingdom of Japan," he said. Saudi Arabia, ally in our very important fight against Iran ".
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Report by Dana Bash and Kate Sullivan