On CNN Friday morning, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, without citing evidence or sources, suggested that President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner may have played a role in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Let me get to the point that I think is most disturbing right now,” Castro said to CNN reporter Poppy Harlow in Friday’s interview. “The reporting that Jared Kushner may have with U.S. intelligence delivered a hit list — an enemies list — to the crown prince, to [Mohammed bin Salman], in Saudi Arabia and that the prince then may have acted on that, and one of the people that he took action against is Mr. Khashoggi.”
Harlow interjected, saying CNN had not reported such a claim. No other major American media outlets have reported it, either.
“I’ve seen reporting to that effect,” Castro said on CNN, without giving details. “That needs to be investigated.”
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Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist and writer for the Washington Post, disappeared Oct. 2. He was last seen entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. No video evidence has surfaced of him leaving the consulate and audio and video recordings reviewed by Turkish officials suggest Khashoggi may have been killed and dismembered inside — a claim the Saudi government has vehemently denied.
Soon after the interview, Castro further elaborated on his claims, but didn't provide any more details about reports he said he has seen.
“To be clear, I did not intend to accuse Jared Kushner of orchestrating the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. But based on several press reports, the close relationship between Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman is a source of concern for the U.S. intelligence community and those of us who want a transparent American foreign policy," he said in a statement sent to The Texas Tribune. "This is especially problematic given the President and his family’s business enterprises and the possibility that they profit from these foreign entities. For these reasons, Congress should open an investigation to see whether Jared or any other Administration official shared any U.S. intelligence with the Saudis that led to any political persecution, including the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.”
Castro also tweeted out a list of articles Friday morning highlighting Kushner's relationship with Mohammed bin Salman, including one article by the Intercept that cited three sources saying Kushner and the crown prince discussed "the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince." A Kushner spokesman vehemently denied that such a conversation occurred. None of the articles Castro tweeted explicitly mentioned the "hit list" that the congressman mentioned in his CNN appearance.