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National security adviser John Bolton said Tuesday he had no need to listen to recordings taken during the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"What do you think I'll learn from it?” Bolton asked reporters at the White House. “Unless you speak Arabic, what are you going to get from it?"
“People who speak Arabic have listened to the tape and given us the substance of what is in it. We’re very satisfied that we know what the tape picked up, and it was factored into the president’s position,” he continued.
In the first formal White House briefing on-camera since Oct. 29, and just the fourth since Labor Day, Bolton and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders avoided questions about Khashoggi's death and defended the administration's response to the murder of the American resident.
Last week, President Donald Trump vowed to stand by the rulers of Saudi Arabia despite the CIA's finding that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had likely ordered Khashoggi's killing.
The journalist, who had been a vocal critic of Saudi leadership, was killed inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey last month.
“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” the president wrote in an unusual statement released last week.
Trump said the administration had taken “strong action” on the killing with sanctions and said preserving relations with Saudi Arabia was also important.
Sanders echoed that sentiment Tuesday, saying it was not yet clear if the crown prince had been somehow involved in Khashoggi's killing. She said the president still had "a great deal of faith" in the American intelligence community, despite his remarks dismissing their reported finding.
"What we have seen is a number of individuals who we know are tied to that, and those individuals have been sanctioned," Sanders said.
Bolton added the president would not meet with the Saudi crown prince at the upcoming G-20 summit as Trump had previously suggested he might.
"The bilateral schedule is full to overflowing," Bolton said.