Trump: Khashoggi Report Due in 2 Days 11/18 10:21
President Donald Trump said Saturday that his administration will release a
full report in the next two days about the death of a Saudi journalist, which
has created a diplomatic conundrum for the president: How to admonish Riyadh
for the killing yet maintain strong ties with a close ally in the Middle East.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump said Saturday that his
administration will release a full report in the next two days about the death
of a Saudi journalist, which has created a diplomatic conundrum for the
president: How to admonish Riyadh for the killing yet maintain strong ties with
a close ally in the Middle East.
"We'll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday
or Tuesday," Trump said. That will include "who did it," he said.
Reporters asked Trump about the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for
The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in
Istanbul. Saudi Arabia's top diplomat has said the crown prince had
"absolutely" nothing to do with it.
American intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince ordered
the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, according to a U.S. official
familiar with the assessment. The official was not authorized to discuss the
matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Others familiar with the
case caution that while it's likely that the crown prince was involved in the
death, there continue to be questions about what role he played.
"The United States government is determined to hold all those responsible
for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable," the State Department said in a
statement. "Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final
conclusion are inaccurate. There remain numerous unanswered questions with
respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi."
The statement added: "The U.S. government has taken decisive measures
against the individuals responsible, including visa and sanctions actions. We
will continue to explore additional measures to hold those accountable who
planned, led and were connected to the murder. And, we will do that while
maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and
Intelligence officials have been providing information to Trump about the
death for weeks and he was briefed again by phone Saturday by CIA Director Gina
Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as he flew to California. White House
press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders provided no details of his call but said
the president has confidence in the CIA.
Before his call on Air Force One, Trump told reporters that when it came to
the crown prince, "as of this moment we were told that he did not play a role.
We're going to have to find out what they have to say." That echoed remarks by
national security adviser John Bolton, who said earlier this week that people
who have listened to an audio recording of the killing do not think it
implicates the crown prince.
Also before leaving on his trip, Trump said Saudi Arabia was "a truly
spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development."
"I have to take a lot of things into consideration" when deciding what
measures to take against the kingdom, he said.
Trump has called the killing a botched operation that was carried out very
poorly and has said "the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history
But he has resisted calls to cut off arms sales to the kingdom and has been
reluctant to antagonize the Saudi rulers. Trump considers the Saudis vital
allies in his Mideast agenda.
But members of Congress are pushing Trump for a tougher response to the
killing. The administration this past week penalized 17 Saudi officials for
their alleged role in the killing, but American lawmakers have called on the
administration to curtail arms sales to Saudi Arabia or take other harsher
Vice President Mike Pence told reporters traveling with him Saturday for a
summit of Pacific Rim nations in Papua, New Guinea, that the "murder of Jamal
Khashoggi was an atrocity. It was also an affront to a free and independent
press, and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who
are responsible for that murder."
Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States, often criticized the
royal family. Turkish and Saudi authorities say he was killed inside the
consulate by a team from the kingdom after he went there to get marriage