Trump plans to call Saudi king about Khashoggi

The Mercury News - - News - By Philip Rucker The Wash­ing­ton Post

WASH­ING­TON >> Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Fri­day he plans to call Saudi Ara­bia’s king to dis­cuss the dis­ap­pear­ance and al­leged killing of Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist Ja­mal Khashoggi in­side the Saudi Con­sulate in Is­tan­bul ear­lier this month.

“We’re go­ing to find out what hap­pened with re­spect to the ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion in Turkey hav­ing to do with Saudi Ara­bia and the re­porter,” Trump told re­porters. “And no­body knows quite yet. No­body’s been able to put it all to­gether. Peo­ple are start­ing to form ideas, and as they’re formed, we’ll let you know, but it’s cer­tainly a ter­ri­ble thing.”

Trump, who made his com­ments upon land­ing in Ohio to head­line a cam­paign rally, said he plans to call Saudi Ara­bia’s King Sal­man “at some point” to dis­cuss Khashoggi’s un­ex­plained dis­ap­pear­ance.

Asked whether Saudi Ara­bia’s his­tory of au­thor­i­tar­ian rule and re­stric­tions on hu­man rights had been over­looked for too long, Trump de­fended the oil-rich Ara­bian Desert king­dom.

“I think a lot of records are over­looked,” Trump said. “If you look at Iran, if you look at some of the other coun­tries, if you take a look at Syria, if you take a look at a lot of coun­tries, a lot of coun­tries’ records have been over­looked. But this is a very se­ri­ous thing ...”

Saudi Ara­bia is host­ing the Fu­ture In­vest­ment Ini­tia­tive, a high­pro­file in­ter­na­tional busi­ness con­fer­ence, next week in Riyadh, but sev­eral me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions as well as some head­lin­ing at­ten­dees have with­drawn be­cause of the Khashoggi sit­u­a­tion.

Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin is sched­uled to rep­re­sent the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion at the con­fer­ence, and he said Fri­day morn­ing on CNBC that he was plan­ning on go­ing “at this point.”


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