Amid global outrage over Khashoggi, Trump takes soft stance toward Saudis

In days of private phone calls and Oval Office huddles, Trump has repeatedly reached for reasons to protect the U.S.-Saudi relationship, according to administration officials and presidential advisers.

Trump has stressed Saudi Arabia’s huge investment in U.S. weaponry and worries it could instead purchase arms from China or Russia. He has fretted about the oil-rich desert kingdom cutting off its supply of petroleum to the United States. He has warned against losing a key partner countering Iran’s influence in the Middle East. He has argued that even if the United States tried to isolate the Saudis, the kingdom is too wealthy to ever be truly isolated…

Meanwhile, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said the administration had “clamped down” on sharing intelligence about the Khashoggi case. He said an intelligence briefing scheduled for Tuesday was canceled and he was told no additional intelligence would be shared with the Senate for now, a move he called “disappointing.”

“I can only surmise that probably the intel is not painting a pretty picture as it relates to Saudi Arabia,” Corker said.