President Biden on Saturday teased a Monday announcement regarding Saudi Arabia following the release of an official report that accuses Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the operation that killed Jamal Khashoggi.
Biden told reporters on the White House lawn, “There will be an announcement on Monday as to what we are going to be doing with Saudi Arabia generally.”
Biden was responding to a question from The Post about whether he would punish the 35-year-old crown prince, who is the de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom.
A report from US officials released Friday says the prince, commonly known by his initials MBS, ordered the 2018 hit on Khashoggi.
Biden spoke with the prince’s father, 85-year-old King Salman, on Thursday ahead of the damning report’s release.
On Friday, the Biden administration announced sanctions against dozens of Saudis identified as involved in Khashoggi’s murder, but none against the crown prince.
Khashoggi was a Virginia resident and a columnist for the Washington Post when he was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish authorities say Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered with a bone saw.
Former President Donald Trump argued that the US-Saudi strategic alliance was too important to risk by punishing Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s death, which occurred as the crown prince consolidated power.
But some advocates say the US should use its influence to force the prince’s resignation.
Saudi courts sentenced to death five people who allegedly were involved in Khashoggi’s death, but those sentences later were converted to 20 years in prison. Saudi Arabia’s legal system has not prosecuted the crown prince.
Biden already has shifted the US-Saudi relationship, including by ending US support for the long-stalled Saudi military campaign to restore Yemen’s President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was ousted in 2015 by an Iran-allied militia that still controls most of the country’s populated areas.