Don warns Saudis

But kayo biz deal? No way!

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY JES­SICA SCHLADEBECK

Pres­i­dent Trump vowed to in­flict “se­vere pun­ish­ment” on Saudi Ara­bia if the U.S. dis­cov­ers that na­tion's gov­ern­ment is be­hind the sus­pected mur­der of miss­ing Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi.

In his first in­ter­view with “60 Min­utes” since his sit­down af­ter win­ning the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Trump said the Saudis have de­nied “in every way imag­in­able” any role in the dis­ap­pear­ance of The Wash­ing­ton Post con­trib­u­tor, a vo­cal critic of the Saudi gov­ern­ment — de­spite a grow­ing amount of ev­i­dence sug­gest­ing the regime was di­rectly in­volved.

“It's be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, it's be­ing looked at very, very strongly,” the Pres­i­dent said in a clip of the in­ter­view re­leased Satur­day. “And we would be very up­set and an­gry if that were the case. As of this mo­ment, they deny it, and they deny it ve­he­mently. Could it be them? Yes.”

Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties have said a team of Saudis killed Khashoggi, and U.S. in­tel­li­gence has re­vealed of­fi­cials dis­cussed plans to lure the jour­nal­ist — a Saudi ci­ti­zen who had been liv­ing in the United States — from his home in Vir­ginia and de­tain him in Saudi Ara­bia, ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Saudi Ara­bia's in­te­rior min­is­ter, Prince Ab­du­laziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Ab­du­laziz, in a re­cent state­ment con­demned the claims as “base­less al­le­ga­tions” and “out­right lies.”

Trump added that his sonin-law, Jared Kush­ner, spoke with Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, who also said he did not give any or­der to have Khashoggi killed.

His com­ments come as a grow­ing num­ber of busi­nesses and groups con­tinue to with­draw from an up­com­ing global sum­mit In Saudi Ara­bia.

“There's a lot at stake and maybe es­pe­cially so be­cause this man was a re­porter,” Trump said.

“There's some­thing — you'll be re­ally sur­prised to hear me say that — there's some­thing re­ally ter­ri­ble and dis­gust­ing about that if that were the case, so we're go­ing to have to see. We're go­ing to get to the bot­tom of it and there will be se­vere pun­ish­ment.”

When asked whether he would con­sider im­pos­ing sanc­tions, Trump said that “it de­pends.”

“I'll give you an ex­am­ple, they are or­der­ing mil­i­tary equip­ment. Ev­ery­body in the world wanted that or­der. Rus­sia wanted it, China wanted it, we wanted it . We got it, and we got every bit of it,” he con­tin­ued.

“I'll tell you what I don't want to do. Boe­ing, Lock­heed, Raytheon, I don't want to hurt jobs. I don't want to lose an or­der like that. And you know what, there are other ways of pun­ish­ing, to use a word that's a pretty harsh word, but it's true.”

In a White House cer­e­mony Satur­day, Trump said can­cel­ing the mil­i­tary equip­ment deal would be “fool­ish.”

“I ac­tu­ally think it would be pun­ish­ing our­selves if we do that,” Trump said. “I think that would be very fool­ish for our coun­try.”

The “60 Min­utes” in­ter­view is slated to air in full Sun­day evening.

Sure Pres­i­dent Trump would be up­set if it turns out Saudi Ara­bia is be­hind mur­der of miss­ing Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi (l.), but not so much, he tells “60 Min­utes,” be­low, that he would can­cel huge mil­i­tary deal with king­dom.

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