Trump says getting closer to understanding Saudi journalist's disappearance

Ruben Ruiz
October 11, 2018

President Trump revealed the USA has investigators looking into how a journalist went missing last week after entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey and said it would be a "very sad thing" if the kingdom's crown prince hatched the plot.

Indication of those stakes came within four months of Trump taking office, when Saudi Arabia became his first destination on a presidential trip and he announced $110 billion in proposed arms sales. Bob Corker, who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has reviewed USA intelligence on the case, said it was likely that Khashoggi was killed the day he walked into the consulate. Bob Corker, the Republican chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, said he believed the Saudis killed Mr Khashoggi; his colleague Lindsey Graham said there would be "hell to pay" if so.

Paul also brought up the Saudi military intervention in the civil war in Yemen, saying that Riyadh has been "bombing civilians" in the neighboring country "for over a year now" and that Khashoggi's disappearance just adds to the anger directed at Saudi Arabia. The two countries are also at odds over Iran's role in the region and the Muslim Brotherhood, both of which Saudi Arabia views as threats.

"The traditionally opaque methods used by Saudi Arabia to silence critical journalists constitute grounds for fearing the worst in the case of Khashoggi's disappearance", said Sophie Anmuth, head of RSF's Middle East desk.

Before Khashoggi's disappearance, US intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him, according to a person familiar with the information. The video later shows some of the men leaving a hotel near the Saudi consulate and Khashoggi entering the consulate.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker says he has reviewed USA intelligence reports suggesting that Khashoggi was killed on October 2, the day he went to the consulate.

The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that us intelligence intercepts, according to USA officials familiar with them, reveal that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an effort to lure Khashoggi back to his home country. "And we're going to get to the bottom of it", Trump said.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg News in an interview last week that Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after entering it last week and that he was ready to let Turkey to search the building. Turkish authorities suspect he was killed.

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The Post has obtained video of the areas surrounding the consulate that purportedly shows when Khashoggi arrived at the consulate, as well as the movements of vehicles leaving the consulate two hours later. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said it would be time for the U.S.to rethink its relationship with Saudi Arabia if it turned out Khashoggi was lured to his death by the Saudis.

According to one friend, Khashoggi told him "I don't trust them one bit" after a conversation with one such official.

"Well, we're looking at it very, very seriously".

Turkish officials have concluded, whatever the intent of the operation, Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

The Turkish government believes that Khashoggi, a Saudi national who was living in the United States, was murdered.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his department called on Saudi Arabia to "support a thorough investigation. and to be transparent about the results".

"Such an assassination within the grounds of the consulate, which is territory under Saudi Arabian jurisdiction, would amount to an extrajudicial execution", she added. "I've told them they have to pay for their military".

Other reports by GizPress

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