President Donald Trump visits a neighborhood impacted by the wildfires, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Paradise, Calif. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was "very vicious" but that he wants to stick with Saudi Arabia as a close ally in the Middle East. Under pressure to punish Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, Trump questioned the alleged role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who is the kingdom's de facto ruler.Trump said Saturday that the CIA assessment was "very premature" and in the Fox News interview he said it may never be possible to know who ordered Khashoggi's murder.Intelligence officials have been providing information to Trump for weeks about the journalist's death, and he was briefed again by phone Saturday by CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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