WASHINGTON — President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the administration continues to weather criticism over its relationship with Riyadh following the murder of a U.S.-based columnist.
Kushner and two other senior administration officials met with the crown prince and King Salman on Tuesday to discuss “increasing cooperation between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and the Trump Administration’s efforts to facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians,” the White House said in a statement.
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) February 27, 2019
The visit comes as lawmakers from both parties continue to pressure the administration to limit its ties to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last year and frustration over the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
There’s also rising bipartisan frustration over how the White House has so far ignored a 120-day deadline for a report on Khashoggi’s killing requested by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
While the administration has said it will punish Saudi officials responsible for the killing, top U.S. officials have said any action shouldn’t threaten the broader relationship with Saudi Arabia. That suggests the administration won’t target Crown Prince Mohammed, widely believed to have ordered or at least known about the killing in advance.
Kushner’s Middle East trip also comes amid heightened expectations for the public release of the administration’s long-awaited peace plan. Few details of the proposal, which Trump has called the “ultimate deal,” have emerged, and its unlikely the administration will release it ahead of Israeli elections scheduled for early April.
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) February 26, 2019
Kushner earlier in his trip visited Oman and the United Arab Emirates, traveling with Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran and a key Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt.