Washington DC [USA]: In an unprecedented turn of events, it was revealed that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of United States President Donald Trump, had reportedly offered advice to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely known as MBS, about how to “weather the storm” following the demise of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Kushner and the Saudi crown prince held one-on-one chats, despite formal White House procedures for contacts with foreign leaders. The duo has been long known to have an informal relationship, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
“Jared has always meticulously followed protocols and guidelines regarding the relationship with (the crown prince) and all of the other foreign officials with whom he interacts,” a White House spokesperson said.
A Saudi source said that Trump’s son-in-law offered “advise about how to weather the storm, urging him to resolve his conflicts around the region and avoid further embarrassments.”
White House aides underscored that Kushner, who is also Trump’s senior advisor, has called on his father-in-law to throw his weight behind the Saudi crown prince and continue to maintain the “good relationship” with Saudi Arabia even after Khashoggi was killed, as per the report.
Senior officials are worried that Trump’s advisor could be “easily manipulated” by the Saudis, given his political inexperience.
On October 2, Khashoggi was reported missing after he stepped into Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul to collect paperwork that would allow him to get married to his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who later said that he never appeared from the building.
After days of denial, Saudi Arabia later confirmed its role in Khashoggi’s killing after facing massive pressure from Turkey over their investigations on the issue. But their contradictory statements have led to international uproar led by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has demanded Riyadh to come clean and accept their role in the scribe’s death.
Although Khashoggi was killed by Saudi rogue operatives, according to Riyadh, Kushner and the Saudi crown prince continued to communicate with each other, according to two former senior US officials and two people briefed by the Saudi officials.
Investigations into Khashoggi’s killing are still going on in both Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Trump has refused to sever ties with “key ally” Saudi Arabia over the journalist’s demise, despite a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report that concluded the Saudi crown prince to be behind Khashoggi’s death.