Kushner 'justified Khashoggi's murder, calling him a terrorist'
The property developer turned Middle East envoy labelled slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi a "terrorist" in an off-the-record conversation with a reporter, according to Vanity Fair.
The Fire and Fury author's follow-up book Siege, to be released on June 4, follows the second year of the Trump presidency, containing interviews with some 150 people close to the White House.
Khashoggi's gruesome murder and dismemberment in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is known to have been carried out by state security forces and ordered by Mohammed bin Salman himself, according to the CIA and Turkish intelligence.
After some initial criticism from the White House, Trump and his son-in-law downplayed their outrage over the extra-judicial killing.
Kushner, who is known to have close contact with MbS following the killing, spoke of Khashoggi to a reporter, saying: "This guy was the link between certain factions in the royal family and Osama. We know that. A journalist? Come on. This was a terrorist masquerading as a journalist."
Read more: The full story of why MbS might have wanted Jamal Khashoggi dead
In the days following Khashoggi's disappearance, MbS reportedly spoke with Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton on the phone, warning them the writer was a "dangerous Islamist".
Khashoggi had been in self-imposed exile since 2017, writing a column for the Washington Post until his death in October 2018. He had previously served as a spokesman for the Saudi royal family, however in his later journalism became more critical of the regime's human rights abuses and war in Yemen.
Khashoggi had known and interviewed former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden several times. After bin Laden's assassination in 2011, Khashoggi lamented the once "beautiful and brave" man had "surrendered to hatred and passion."
Despite expressing sympathy for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement in his early years, he championed secularism and democracy in his later writings.
A statement given by Khashoggi's family in 2018 said his characterisation as a proponent of terror was false.
"Jamal Khashoggi was not a dangerous person in any way possible. To claim otherwise would be ridiculous," the statement said.
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