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cashing in

Trump suggests U.S. could back Saudi Arabia in a war with Iran because the kingdom 'pays cash'

President Trump said he has not promised Saudi Arabia the U.S. will offer protection in the event the kingdom goes to war with Iran, but Saudi investments in the U.S. over the years have at least inspired the president to consider sticking by the U.S. ally. And he apparently really appreciates that the country "pays cash" when making those investments.

Trump made the cash comment in response to a question about whether the U.S. was prepared to enter a conflict alongside Saudi Arabia in the wake of drone strikes on two major Saudi oil production facilities that may or not have been orchestrated by Tehran. Trump maintained that he doesn't want to get involved in a conflict, but added that he is willing to "work something out with" Saudi Arabia, whose allegiance with the U.S. has raised many an eyebrow thanks to human rights abuse allegations against the kingdom.

"They've been a great ally," he said to reporters Monday before a White House meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. "They spend $400 billion in our country over the last number of years." And, unlike other countries, Trump said, Saudi Arabia does not want any conditions. "No. No," the president said. "Saudi Arabia pays cash." Tim O'Donnell