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WH report on Khashoggi murder expected soon: sources

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A declassified U.S. intelligence report is set to be released on Thursday finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved and likely ordered the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

That's according to four U.S. officials familiar with the report.

The report's release is part of U.S. President Joe Biden's policy to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia over its human rights record and intervention in Yemen's civil war.

It follows four years of more comfortable relations under former President Donald Trump.

Biden told reporters on Wednesday he had read the report and plans to speak soon with Saudi Arabian King Salman, the father of the country's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden would bypass the crown prince and only communicate with the king.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist who had criticized Riyadh's policies, was killed by a team of operatives linked to the prince in 2018.

Riyadh eventually admitted that Khashoggi was killed in a “rogue” extradition operation gone wrong, but denied the crown prince's involvement.

A classified report on his murder was shared with U.S. lawmakers in late 2018.

But the Trump administration rejected demands to release a declassified version to preserve the U.S.-Saudi alliance and promote U.S. arms sales to the kingdom.

Biden has pledged to take a more hardline approach with Saudi Arabia in part because of Khashoggi's murder.

Since taking office, he's ended arms sales to stop supporting Riyadh's intervention in Yemen and appointed a special envoy to Yemen in an effort to end its grueling civil war.

Video Transcript

MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN: [SPEAKING ARABIC]

- A declassified US intelligence report is set to be released on Thursday, finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved and likely ordered the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. That's according to four US officials familiar with the report.

The report's release is part of US president Joe Biden's policy to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia over its human rights record and intervention in Yemen's civil war. It follows four years of more comfortable relations under former president Donald Trump. Biden told reporters on Wednesday He had read the report and plans to speak soon with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, the father of the country's de facto ruler, the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden would bypass the crown prince and only communicate with the king.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist who had criticized Riyadh's policies, was killed by a team of operatives linked to the Prince in 2018. Riyadh eventually admitted that Khashoggi was killed in a rogue extradition operation gone wrong, but denied the crown prince's involvement. A classified report on his murder was shared with US lawmakers in late 2013, but the Trump administration rejected demands to release a declassified version to preserve the US-Saudi alliance and promote US arms sales to the kingdom. Biden has pledged to take a more hard line approach with Saudi Arabia in part because of Khashoggi's murder. Since taking office, he's ended arms sales to stop supporting Riyadh's intervention in Yemen, and appointed a special envoy to Yemen in an effort to end its grueling civil war.