Trump vows to find truth about Saudi journalist
President Donald Trump declares the U.S. will uncover what happened to journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whose disappearance in Istanbul has captured worldwide attention.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Friday the U.S. will uncover the truth about what happened to journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, whose possible murder at Saudi hands after disappearing in Istanbul has captured worldwide attention.
Trump promised to personally call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman soon about “the terrible situation in Turkey.”
“We’re going to find out what happened,” Trump pledged when questioned by reporters in Cincinnati where he was headlining a political rally.
Khashoggi, a forceful critic of the Saudi government, went missing more than a week ago after entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Turkish officials have said they believe he was murdered there. U.S. officials say they are seeking answers from the Saudi government and are not accepting the Turkish government’s conclusions.
The Saudis have called accusations that they are responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance “baseless.” Widely broadcast video shows the 59-year-old writer and Washington Post contributor entering the consulate on Tuesday of last week, but there is none showing him leaving.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia are important U.S. allies in the region. Trump said Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will evaluate whether to attend a Saudi investor conference this month. Mnuchin had indicated early Friday he planned to attend.
On Thursday, Trump had said U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia were “excellent” and he was reluctant to scuttle highly lucrative U.S. weapons deals with Riyadh. A number of members of Congress have pressed the Trump administration to impose sanctions on the country in response to the Khashoggi affair.
Meanwhile, Khashoggi’s fiancée said Friday in an interview with the Associated Press that he was not nervous when he entered the Saudi Consulate to obtain paperwork required for their marriage.
“He said, ‘See you later my darling,’ and went in,” Hatice Cengiz told the AP.
Citing anonymous sources, the Post reported Friday that Turkey’s government has told U.S. officials it has audio and video proof Khashoggi was killed and dismembered. The AP has not been able to confirm that report. In written responses to questions by the AP, Cengiz said Turkish authorities had not told her about any recordings and Khashoggi was officially “still missing.” She said investigators were examining his cellphones, which he had left with her.
Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi left the consulate. He hasn’t been seen since, though his fiancée was waiting outside.
A delegation from Saudi Arabia arrived in Turkey on Friday as part of an investigation into the writer’s disappearance.
A guard mans the entrance of Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate. A Turkish official says the Turks and Saudis will probe the fate of Jamal Khashoggi.