The White House made excuses for its decision to not target Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a US intelligence report linked the royal to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Iran Press/America: Khashoggi, a 59-year-old US resident and a widely known critic of the Saudi royal family was killed inside the Saudi Consulate and later dismembered. His remains were never recovered.

The Saudis are the indisputable top buyers of US-made arms, a title that has safeguarded the kingdom from retaliatory sanctions under the Trump administration over the disappearance of journalist Khashoggi and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

"Historically and even in recent history, Democratic and Republican administrations, there have not been sanctions put in place for the leaders of foreign governments where we have diplomatic relations and even where we don’t have diplomatic relations," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during an interview on CNN’s "State of the Union" program.

"We believe there are more effective ways to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and also to leave room to work with the Saudis on areas where there is mutual agreement," Psaki claimed.

"That is what diplomacy looks like. That is what a complicated global engagement looks like and we’ve made no secret and have been clear that we are going to hold them accountable on the global stage," Psaki said, adding that the administration took steps through the Treasury and State Department.

When he was running for president, Joe Biden said he would hold senior Saudi leaders accountable for Khashoggi’s death, calling the kingdom’s leadership a pariah that had very little social redeeming value.

When asked if the Biden administration would take further action, Psaki said that the United States would recalibrate its relationship with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Trump administration.