- President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he’s spoken to people at the “highest level” of the Saudi Arabian government about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is feared dead.
- Trump said he hopes Khashoggi is not dead and says he’s working with the Turkish government to get to the bottom of it.
- “We’re demanding everything. We want to see what’s going on,” Trump said.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he’s spoken to people at the “highest level” of the Saudi Arabian government about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who officials fear is dead.
“We’re demanding everything. We want to see what’s going on,” Trump told reporters. “It’s a very serious situation for us and for this White House.”
The president also said he hopes Khashoggi is alive.
“This is a bad situation,” Trump said. “We can not let this happen, to reporters, to anybody, we can’t let this happen. And we’re going to get to the bottom of it.”
Trump would not say whether he thought the Saudi government was responsible for Khashoggi’s mysterious disappearance, adding that nobody knows what happened.
The president has a close relationship with the Saudis and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, which he acknowledged while speaking with reporters. He has recently butted heads with the Turkish government. But Trump on Wednesday said he’s working closely with Turkey to get answers on Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Trump on whether he's spoken to the Saudis about the death of Khashoggi: "I'd rather not say, but the answer is yes."
"We have to see what happens. Nobody knows what happened yet." pic.twitter.com/HxwUb6Sy8p
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 10, 2018
Khashoggi went missing last week after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document to marry his Turkish fiancée. His fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, said she waited outside for roughly 11 hours and he never came out.
Trump on Wednesday referenced an op-ed Cengiz wrote imploring him to “shed light” on what happened to Khashoggi. Trump said he’s inviting her to the White House.
Turkish officials have accused a 15-man team of Saudis of killing Khashoggi. They allege the group dismembered his body with a bone saw, placed it in boxes, and transported it out of the country.
Saudi Arabia has vehemently denied the allegations and has claimed he left the embassy. But they have provided no evidence to back up that assertion as Turkish officials continue to investigate the reporter’s disappearance.
Khashoggi had been living in the US and wrote op-eds for The Washington Post that were often critical of the Saudi government, its role in the ongoing Yemen conflict, and its brutal crackdown on dissent. He was once closely linked to the royal family, but left Saudi Arabia last year over fear of retribution for his critical reporting.
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