Trump doubts Turkish officials and touts arms deal with Saudi Arabia when asked about Khashoggi disappearance

John Moore/Getty ImagesUS President Donald Trump
  • President Donald Trump expressed doubts that Turkish officials have audio and video recordings proving Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed on orders from the government.
  • “We have asked for it, if it exists. We have asked,” Trump told reporters.
  • Trump on Wednesday also boasted about billions of dollars of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia while answering questions on Khashoggi’s alleged killing.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed doubts that Turkish officials have audio and video recordings proving Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by his government.

Trump said the US has requested access to audio and video pertaining to the alleged killing “if it exists.”

“We have asked for it, if it exists. We have asked,” Trump told reporters. “I’m not sure yet that it exists. It probably does. Possibly does.”

The president said he’d have a “full report” on this from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he returns to the US.

Pompeo visited Saudi Arabia and Turkey this week amid the controversy over Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Speaking with reporters earlier, Pompeo said he had “nothing to say” about claims from Turkish officials they have audio proving Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.

Trump on Wednesday also boasted about billions of dollars of US arms sales to Saudi Arabia while answering questions on Khashoggi’s alleged killing.

“If you look at Saudi Arabia, they’re an ally and they’re a purchaser of military equipment among other things,” Trump said. “When I went there, they committed to purchase $US450 billion worth of things, and $US110 billion worth of military. Those are the biggest orders in the history of this country, probably the history of the world.”

When asked whether he’d sent the FBI to investigate the case, Trump declined to answer while also noting Khashoggi wasn’t a US citizen. Khashoggi was a US resident and lived in Virginia as he wrote articles for The Washington Post.

Trump has repeatedly defended Saudi Arabia as it faces allegations of brutally killing a journalist who was often critical of the government in his reporting. Despite bipartisan in Congress support for sanctions or ceasing arms sales to the Saudis in relation to Khashoggi, Trump has also exhibited a reluctance to commit to any form of punishment as the investigation continues.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.