Secret Service stops reporter asking Jared Kushner about Saudi Arabia as questions mount over his close friendship with Crown Prince thought to have ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s ‘murder’
- A CBS correspondent tried to ask Kushner a question aboard a flight from Washington to New York
- Kushner has been under fire for his close relationship with the Saudi crown prince following Khashoggi’s disappearance at a Saudi consulate
- Agent told the reporter he didn’t ‘give a damn’ who he was and that there was a ‘time and place’ for questions
- A Secret Service agent blocked the correspondent’s phone
- Secret Service said it was reviewing the incident
The U.S. Secret Service is reviewing an incident where an agent blocked the phone of a CBS reporter who tried to ask Jared Kushner a question about Saudi Arabia aboard a commercial flight.
Kushner has been conspicuously quit amid a fury over the alleged murder of Saudi dissent and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, due to his key role in cultivating Saudi crown prince Muhammad vin Salman.
When CBS correspondent Errol Barnett spotted Kushner and his detail aboard a flight from Washington to New York Tuesday, he tried to question Kushner about Saudi Arabia.
In town: Jared Kushner was back in New York after being confronted by a reporter on the Saudi Arabian crisis and apparently relaxed – but the Secret Service stepped in when he was asked questions by a reporter
But when he flashed his press credentials and tried to question Kushner as he exited the aircraft, the agent blocked his camera and shut him down.
‘I don’t give a damn who you are,’ the unidentified agent can be heard telling Barnett in video he later posted on Twitter. The agent then said there was a ‘time and place.’
‘We tried,’ says the correspondent to the camera after the exchange.
Barnett said he wanted to ask Kushner about Saudi Arabia and his relationship with Mohammed bin Salman, the powerful crown prince who is under scrutiny for the alleged murder of Khashoggi.
The latest reports out of Turkey, where Khashoggi disappeared after a visit to the Saudi consulate, contain grim details and suggest close links between a team of 15 Saudis who flew into Istambul around the time of the disappearance.
Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi fled Turkey yesterday, hours before it was reported that he can be heard on the seven minute audio Khashoggi allegedly recorded on his smartwatch of his own torture and murder.
A man identified as having worked as a bodyguard for the Crown Prince is confirmed as a suspect in the Turkish police investigation. He was previously named as part of the 15-strong ‘hit squad’ that was reportedly sent to Istanbul to take out Khashoggi.
Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, who previously worked as a diplomat at the Saudi embassy in London, has been photographed with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on recent trips to Madrid and Paris, as well as the United States, The New York Times has revealed.
Kushner, 37, and the crown prince, known as MBS, 33, have been in close contact throughout the Trump administration.
The Saudis have made deals to buy billions in U.S. armaments, something President Donald Trump brought up as the kind of thing he would not want to compromise through U.S. sanctions.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is the key power inside Saudi Arabia, and struck up a friendship with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner in 2017. Some of his close associates have now been linked to the Khashoggi disappearance
After Khashoggi’s disappearance, Kushner called MBS. The president told CBS ’60 Minutes’ that, ‘They deny it every way you can imagine.’
Following Trump’s visit to Riyadh, where Kushner accompanied him, the two young power-players consulted about the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan, which Kushner is working on.
The two men began a friendship at a White House lunch in 2017, the Washington Post reported.
They held private, one-on-one calls that caught national security staff off guard. One source told the paper it was “insane” how much they communicated. Kushner has argued that MBS is a reformer on internal issues, such as allowing women to drive cars, and could be an asset on Middle East peace, as well as a counter to Iran (In May, Trump announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran that he calls ‘horrible.’)
Trump spoke defended the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship in an interview on Fox Business Channel Tuesday. ‘I hope that the king and the crown prince didn’t know about it. That’s a big factor in my eyes,’ he said of the Khashoggi disappearance.
The Secret Service said it was ‘aware of the video’ involving Kushner and that ‘appropriate action will be taken if necessary
“The circumstances surrounding the incident are under review,” the Secret Service told the network in a statement “Pending receipt of additional facts, details and full circumstances surrounding the incident, appropriate action will be taken if necessary.”
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Kushner has yet to field questions about his close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, a fellow young ‘prince’ who is now at the center of the fury over the alleged murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi
In this May 20, 2017, file photo, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, right, walks with Ivanka Trump at the Royal Court Palace, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
CBS correspondent Errol Barnett tweeted out the exchange
The reporter displayed his credentials when he asked the question
An agent said he didn’t ‘give a damn’ who the reporter was, saying there was a ‘time and place’ for questions, as Kushner deplaned his flight to New York
The screen goes dark in the middle of the exchange
Barnett explained in an interview on ‘CBS This Morning’ that after spotting Kushner aboard his flight, displayed his credentials, and then made his approach to the president’s son-in-law, a senior advisor to the president whose portfolio includes the Middle East and who helped steer the president’s first foreign trip to the Saudi kingdom.
“What’s key about this is, what is the time and place to ask Jared Kushner a question? He does not make himself available, and there are so many more questions,” Barnett said in his morning appearance.
‘I was strategic. I waited until everyone in front of me had deplaned,’ he said.
‘I took out my camera. I had my CBS press pass on. I had my White House press pass as well.’
The Saudis are joining a Turkish investigation of Khashoggi’s disappearance, which occurred after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
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