John Avlon welcomed Sen. Jack Reed (RI), who is the ranking Democrat on the Senate armed forces committee, to talk about Trump's attempt to cover up Mohammed Bin Salman's direct order to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"I want to start with the president's comments on these really refuting the CIA findings. Let's listen to what he said yesterday," Avlon said.
TRUMP: No, they didn't conclude. They did not come to a conclusion. They have feelings certain ways, but they didn't have the report.
REPORTER: What were they?
TRUMP: And you can ask Mike. They have not concluded. Nobody's concluded -- I don't know if anyone is going to be able to conclude that the crown prince did it.
Avlon was blunt. "Senator, is the president lying?"
"Yes," Reed said.
"The CIA concluded that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was directly involved in the assassination of Khashoggi. They did it,as has been reported to the press, with high confidence, which is the highest level of accuracy that they will vouch for. It's based on facts. It is based on analysis. The notion that they didn't reach a conclusion is just unsubstantiated. The CIA has made that clear."
"Why do you think he's covering for the Saudis and what can the senate do about it?" Avlon asked.
"I think he feels that he has an arrangement with the Saudis in terms of the region where they will act on behalf of their own interests, but he hopes the United States interests. I think he also has made this claim about their financial input into the United States, although it's widely exaggerated. Then I think he probably has relationships going back to previous business relationships and he might be thinking in the future of business relationships with the Saudis.
"So he's put himself in a compromised position, where he can't look at the intelligence reports in a detached, objective way, make a conclusion and then introduce evidence and introduce policies to effect a better outcome. He seems to be a captive of the Saudis, actually."
Avlon asked about the application of the Magnitsky Act.
"That is one of the most important ways that we can get some kind of reconciliation here," Reed said.
"My colleagues. principally Sen. Corker and Sen. Menendez, and others and from the Foreign Relations committee, have sent a letter on a bipartisan basis, it is important to emphasis bipartisan basis, to the president to ask, demand, in fact under the law, that he indicate the level of participation of the crown prince MBS, in this situation."
Then they should take states to apply the Magnitsky Act, he said.