Trump Backs Away From Crown Prince, Tells Advisers He Barely Knows Him

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29:  President Donald Trump is seen through a window speaking on the phone with King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the Oval Office of the White House, January 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Sunday, President Trump is making several phone calls with world leaders from the Oval Office.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: President Donald Trump is seen through a window speaking on the phone with King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the Oval Office of the White House, January 29, 2017 i... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 29: President Donald Trump is seen through a window speaking on the phone with King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, in the Oval Office of the White House, January 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Sunday, President Trump is making several phone calls with world leaders from the Oval Office. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Since President Trump met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the heels of his return from a meeting with Saudi officials, Trump has begun privately distancing himself from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The New York Times reported. 

Trump has told allies that he “barely knows” bin Salman, in the Times’ words, while simultaneously attempting to whitewash his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner’s relationship with the crown prince, despite reports that the two are so close that they text through private channels like WhatsApp.

During an interview with the Times on Thursday, Trump reportedly said he trusted reports from his intelligence community that suggest the death of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi may have been orchestrated by high-level Saudi officials. If those beliefs are proven true, Trump acknowledged it would be damaging for relations with the kingdom.

Read the full report here. 

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