- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 20, 2018

A House Democrat on the intelligence committee is suggesting that the White House and top aide Jared Kushner maintained a “hit list” of dissidents for the Saudi kingdom to assassinate.

Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, who sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the supposed list included murdered Saudi dissident/journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudi Arabia ruling family admitted Friday its operatives had killed Mr. Khashoggi inside its consulate in Istanbul during what they described as a brawl.

Mr. Castro, appearing on CNN, floated the conspiracy that President Trump’s White House target Mr. Khashoggi in alliance with Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman, the country’s 33-year-old de facto ruler.

“Let me get to the point that is most disturbing right now,” Mr. Castro said. “The reporting that Jared Kushner may have with U.S. intelligence delivered a hit list, an enemy’s list to the crowd prince, MbS, 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.”

The CNN anchor then pushed back, saying the network had not reported such a White House plot.

The “reporting” to which Mr. Castro referred is likely a March 18 article in The Intercept online news site. It said Mr. Kushner provided bin Salman top-secret U.S. intelligence on the names of royal family members who opposed him.

Mr. Kushner through his attorney flatly denied that any such exchange took place.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders again denied The Intercept story in a tweet.

Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and point man on Middle East peace, has formed a close relationship with bin Salman as he seeks the oil kingdom’s endorsement of a Palestine-Israel peace plan. Saudi Arabia is also an arch enemy of Iran, which the Trump administration is confronting with new sanctions.

Mr. Castro is a vehement critic of the Trump administration who backs the Christopher Steele dossier. Republicans consider the Democratic Party opposition research dossier as a hoax, filled with lies about Trump supporters.

Saudi Arabia has long been an ally of the U.S. through both Democratic and Republican administrations. In September 2016, President Barack Obama offered the Saudis a $115 billion arms deal, the largest in the two countries’ 70-year alliance.




• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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