Donald Trump Ignores Reports Saudi Prince Ordered Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Calls Kingdom 'Spectacular Ally'

President Donald Trump on Saturday morning declined to substantively address the CIA's conclusion that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and instead commended the kingdom as a "truly spectacular ally."

Trump told reporters in the White House South lawn before his flight to fire-devastated California that he had not been briefed on the CIA's reported conclusion on Khashoggi's death.

"We're taking a look at it. You know, we also have a great ally in Saudi Arabia," Trump said. "They give us a lot of jobs, they give us a lot of business, a lot of economic development. They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development."

Trump continued: "And I also think that you know, I'm president, I have to take a lot of things into consideration so we will be talking to the CIA later and lots of others. I'll be doing that while I'm on the plane. I'll be speaking also with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo."

President Trump says he will be briefed today on the CIA report that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi while also calling Saudi Arabia "a truly spectacular ally."

— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 17, 2018

The president's comments on Saturday mirrored his previous reactions to developments on Khashoggi's death.

Trump shortly after Khashoggi's disappearance told The New York Times that Saudi Arabia had been "a very good ally and they've bought massive amounts of various things and investments in this country," and that the kingdom was "very strong" in denying knowledge of the incident.

Pompeo the same day said that the Trump administration wanted to "be mindful" of the "important strategic alliance" it has with the kingdom.

Khashoggi wrote columns critical of the Saudi kingdom for The Washington Post. He entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2 and was never seen again.

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing the White House for California, where he is scheduled to view damage from the state's wildfires, on November 17, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The President spoke about the investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's murder, the Mueller investigation, and the migrant caravan approaching the southern border. Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images