US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he had already seen a soon-to-be-published intelligence report describing the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“Yes, I have,” he told reporters when asked if he had read the intelligence service.
Earlier, the White House said that the unclassified report would be out “soon”.
Press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden would also “soon” tell King Salman of Saudi Arabia for the first time since taking office in January.
Psaki would not confirm a report in Axios that the Biden conversation with Salman would take place on Wednesday and that the unclassified intelligence report would be published on Thursday.
When asked when the call would take place, Biden simply said: “We’ll talk to him, I haven’t talked to him yet.”
Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian who wrote for The Washington Post and lived in the United States, was killed and divided in 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The CIA has directly linked Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the assassination. He has accepted the overall responsibility, as the leader of his country, but denies a personal link.
Biden has stressed that he will “calibrate” US relations with Saudi Arabia.
This will mean stepping away from former President Donald Trump’s dependence on Prince Mohammed and dealing directly with the king, says the White House.
However, there are clear limits to how far the Biden administration is ready to go to punish oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a strategic ally in the Islamic world.
“He will speak when human rights are violated, about the lack of freedom of speech or the lack of media freedom and freedom of speech,” Psaki said.
“At the same time, we have a long relationship with Saudi Arabia. They are being attacked in the region and it really is an area where we continue to work with them. ”
The content of the intelligence report will put pressure on the Saudi leadership, which received some back from the Trump administration.
The episode has already hurt the reputation of the powerful Crown Prince who had positioned himself as a forward-looking reformer in the monarchy.
According to CNN on Wednesday, court documents in a Canadian civil lawsuit filed earlier this year show that two private jets used by the troop allegedly sent to assassinate Khashoggi were owned by a company previously seized by Prince Mohammed.