Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

A CIA assessment says that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) communicated several times with his top adviser, who oversaw the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, before and after Khashoggi's death, according to the Wall Street Journal which reviewed excerpts of the assessment.

Why it matters: The CIA's conclusion that MBS directed the murder of Khashoggi has been disputed by President Trump, who said the CIA "points it both ways." But MBS said, according to the CIA assessment, that "we could possibly lure him outside Saudi Arabia and make arrangements" if he was unable to get Khashoggi to return to the kingdom, which the CIA says "seems to foreshadow the Saudi operation launched against Khashoggi."

Details: The CIA concludes in its assessment that there is "medium-to-high confidence" that MBS "personally targeted" Jamal Khashoggi, and "probably ordered his death," the Journal reports.

  • The team of people who killed Khashoggi was made up of MBS' "top security units in the Royal Guard," the WSJ reports. The CIA said: "We assess it is highly unlikely this team of operators...carried out the operation without Muhammed bin Salman's authorization."
  • It's unclear if the comments about luring Khashoggi to another country came directly from MBS or were being described by someone.

Go deeper

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 18,160,139 — Total deaths: 690,724 — Total recoveries — 10,755,137Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 4,698,244 — Total deaths: 155,191 — Total recoveries: 1,468,689 — Total tests: 56,812,162Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Business: Virtual school is another setback for retail — The pandemic hasn't hampered health care.
  5. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
2 hours ago - Sports

13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive for coronavirus

Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Seven players and six staff members from the St. Louis Cardinals have tested positive for the coronavirus over the past week, prompting the MLB to postpone the team's upcoming four-game series against the Detroit Tigers.

Why it matters: Seven consecutive Cardinals games have now been canceled after St. Louis became the second team to report a significant coronavirus outbreak, just two weeks into the season.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

White House adviser Peter Navarro talks TikTok

President Trump has relaxed his threat to immediately ban the popular social media app TikTok, giving Microsoft room to negotiate an acquisition from Chinese tech giant ByteDance.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the situation with Peter Navarro, the White House's top trade adviser and a noted China hawk, who suggests Microsoft should be forced to make unrelated concessions related to its China operations.