Trump stands by Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi murder

FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., before his departure to California, November 17, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite saying that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have known about the plan to murder dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month. Defying pressure from U.S. lawmakers to impose tougher sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Trump also said he would not cancel military contracts with the kingdom. Such a “foolish” move would only benefit Russia and China, said the U.S. president, whom critics accuse of exaggerating the importance of those weapons sales to the American economy.