NOT A GOOD SIGN

Top White House Official for Saudi Policy Resigns: NYT

A top White House official in charge of the Trump administration's policy toward Saudi Arabia has reportedly resigned after pushing for harsh measures against the kingdom in response to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, The New York Times reports. Kirsten Fontenrose had been in Riyadh to discuss sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Saudi officials prior to her resignation, which came late Friday, according to sources cited by the Times. While there, she had reportedly pushed for Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to be added to the list of sanctioned officials. He was ultimately added to the list, but Fontenrose is said to have had a dispute with her superiors at the National Security Council after returning from the trip. It was not immediately clear if her departure stemmed from a disagreement over the Trump administration’s response to Khashoggi’s killing, but President Trump is said to have displayed a reluctance to blame the Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi’s killing in recent days, despite intelligence officials concluding that he was likely involved.