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The Trump founding chief asked about the killing of Khashoggi, joked and then defended Saudis

Asked if Khashoggi's murder damaged Saudi Arabia's reputation on the world stage, Barrack began with a joke before attributing public outrage over the US murder to a Western misunderstanding of the Saudi rule of law.

"As long as you do not make me a guest at the Ritz," Barrack joked, before answering a question from CNN's Becky Anderson at the MENA summit at the Milken Institute in Abu Dhabi.

"I believe that the problem with the incident in Khashoggi is the same as the misunderstanding of the West in the East that exists since Sykes – Picot, so the West is confused that the rule of law does not understand the rule right is in the Kingdom", he added.

Barrack did not elaborate on what he meant to be "a guest at the Ritz", but the comment seemed to be an indication of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh, which during the anti-kingdom of the kingdom became a lavish prison for high-ranking Saudis was transformed -Corrupt sweep in late 2017.

Legislators are planning to pressure Trump on Khashoggi, as Pompeo refuses to cover up a murder.

While Barrack did not name the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman by name, he praised the economic vision of the Kingdom's "young brilliant new leader" before attempting to justify the killing of Khashoggi.

"Whatever happened in Saudi Arabia, the atrocities in America are equal to or worse than the atrocities in Saudi Arabia, and the atrocities in any autocratic country are determined by the rule of law," he said.

"So, if we dictate what we think, the moral code will be there if we have a young man in a regime trying to push himself into the year 2030," Barrack added.

Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford said on Wednesday John Berman that Barrack's comments were unacceptable.

"There is no time when you can murder a journalist in a foreign country, dismember them and take their corpse and say it's somehow legitimate," Lankford said.

"It is never and always justified and does not correspond to the events in the United States where we stand up for the free press," he added.

Barrack issued a statement on Wednesday saying he had apologized "because he did not make it clear that I consider the murder reprehensible."

"I strongly believe that the bad deeds of a few can not be interpreted as the failure of a whole sovereign kingdom, and after having spent more than 40 years in the region, I can affirm that the rule of law and monarchies throughout the Middle East Confusing the region The West and support for change and the rule of law are essential as the torments and mistakes of major changes take place. "

"I love America and am itself a product of American freedom, of American leadership and of the American dream, I have always believed in it, and I continue to believe that the United States is the largest country in the world, but our history and our politics are in the Middle East East I was convinced that as a nation, we are constantly working to set a good example, and I believe we still do, "Barrack said.

Barrack, CEO of Colony NorthStar, is a Trump business partner who has helped to support Trump's political aspirations and publicly defended the president.

At the 2016 Republican National Convention, he said Trump was one of his "closest friends" and described him as "good enough, tough enough, smart enough and adept enough" to win the presidency.

Last summer, the New York Times reported that Barrack has maintained a strong network of contacts in the Persian Gulf for years and introduced several local employees to Trump before being named a Republican presidential candidate.

The Times reported a senior executive, reporting that Barrack's business had spent more than $ 7 billion on investments since Trump won the Republican nomination and 24% of that money was either from the United Arab Emirates or out Saudi Arabia came from. The report states that the Barrack company did not disclose the names of its investors.

In October, Barrack was a wave of top executives and US officials who withdrew from the Saudi Arabia Futures Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia as the controversy surrounding the death of Khashoggi increased.

NYT: The Saudi Crown Prince said he would use a bullet. on Khashoggi
Since then, the CIA has noted with great confidence that the prince has led the killing of Khashoggi by members of the inner circle of bin Salman.

However, the government has argued that there is no smoke weapon linking bin Salman to the murder, setting his defense in part by the way the intelligence works and the nature of the case. Agencies give their results a level of confidence that is presented to political leaders but does not provide any conclusions.

Barrack also served as chairman of the Trump Founding Committee, which was summoned by prosecutors in New York this month.

The far-reaching summons of the Manhattan US law firm requires that the committee hand out documents on virtually every donor or donor, a participant in a committee event, a paperwork on the legal requirements for donations and even the "possibility of" surrender. Donations from foreigners.

Barrack was not mentioned in the summons and was not asked for the investigation on Tuesday.

The dubious characters surrounding Trump

Barrack's comments on Khashoggi come when the legislature is working on a bipartisan effort to put more pressure on the White House after the government has failed to respond adequately to a congressional term that requires the president to decide whether or not Salman is responsible for the murder whether sanctions are imposed as a result.

Senator Bob Menendez, the senior Democrat in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN-Monday he was working with Republican Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, to "kick the government against Saudi Arabia for the murder of the Washington Post to grasp "journalist.

Graham said he and Menendez "took appropriate action" to put a bill on the president's desk and called the killing of Khashoggi "barbaric to acceptance".

"We believe that the Crown Prince – MBS – played a role in this, and without his knowledge and consent, it would not have happened and we will take action," he added.

Last week, a high-ranking government official told CNN that "the President, at his discretion, refuses to respond to requests from the Congressional Committee, if appropriate."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also sent letters to US President James Risch, a Republican from Idaho, and to Menendez of New Jersey, who apparently dealt with administration talks.

Risch told CNN on Wednesday that he was satisfied with the response of the Trump team, but that opinion was not shared by other key committee leaders on Capitol Hill.

"The answer I received was completely inadequate, it was about half a page and it was not lawful, I think it's important that Americans and policymakers know what happened" Our policy towards Saudi Arabia but also the world in general, "said MP Michael McCaul, the leading Republican on foreign affairs.

"I met the blogger's wife, who has been in jail for quite some time, the incident in Khashoggi was a cruel murder and assassination, and we hope that this Crown Prince will move forward, but his rhetoric must follow his actions," he told CNN.

CNN's Manu Raju, Nicole Gaouette, Erin Burnett, Erica Orden, Gloria Borger and Caroline Kelly contributed to the coverage

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