President Donald Trump thanked Saudi Arabia for lower prices on oil shortly after he suggested that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 'could very well' have known about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, who died in the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul on 2 October.
Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 21 November 2018
MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 21 November 2018
On Tuesday, US oil prices dropped to their lowest level since October 2017 after Trump's statement, in which he stressed that Washington would remain Riyadh's 'steadfast partner':
"After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm," he said.
He earlier said that the US would not be taking any punitive measures against Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case, stressing that US intelligence was still assessing all information related to the killing.
"It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn't! We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region," Trump said.
At the same time, President Trump underscored that he would be open to considering proposals by Congress if they were consistent with the 'absolute security and safety of America'.
Last week, The Washington Post reported that the CIA had named the crown prince as the person who had given the order to kill Khashoggi; the claims were quickly dismissed by both Trump and the State Department as 'inaccurate'.
Riyadh described the killing as a 'rogue operation,' and arrested 21 suspects, having charged 11 of them. Five of the accused face the death penalty.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist of Saudi origin, was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate General in the Turkish city of Istanbul on 2 October. After weeks of reports that he could have been murdered inside the building, Riyadh confirmed his death.
The Saudi Prosecutor General's Office announced on 15 November that the journalist had died in the consulate after being "forcibly restrained, and injected with a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose that led to his death".