Trying to Find Out What Happened to Khashoggi, Saudi an Ally: Trump
Donald Trump denied covering up for key ally Saudi Arabia in the suspected murder of the journalist.
File photo of US President Donald Trump. (Image: Reuters)
Washington: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he is trying to find out what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, which he said could be known by the weekend even as he denied "covering up" for key ally Saudi Arabia in the suspected murder of the Saudi journalist.
Under tremendous pressure from his own lawmakers and influential opinion makers in the US to take action against Saudi Arabia as Khashoggi was feared killed inside the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul, Trump reiterated that he does not want to walk away from the Saudis.
"I don't want to do that," Trump told Fox News in an interview when asked if he is going to "walk away" from Saudi Arabia.
Soon thereafter he told reporters that he will find out soon about what happened to Khashoggi.
"We will probably know (what happened) by the end of the week," Trump said, adding that he will have a long meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he returns from his trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Trump denied covering up for key ally Saudi Arabia in the suspected murder of the journalist.
"No. Not at all, I just want to find out what's happening," Trump said when asked if his cautious approach to the scandal amounted to a cover-up. "I'm not giving cover at all."
Pompeo had a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. On Wednesday he met with the Turkish leadership and held talks about their investigations on the missing Saudi journalist who used to write for The Washington Post.
Trump described Saudi Arabia as an ally, which is not only important strategically, but also from the perspective of business and economy.
"Hope we're going to be on the better side of the equation, you know we need Saudi Arabia in terms of our fight against all of the terrorism, everything that's happening in Iran and other places, but Iran's been the leader," Trump said.
Trump said he does not want to pull back from Saudi Arabia. "I do not want to do that, and frankly they have a tremendous (military) order of USD 110 billion. Every country in the world wanted a piece of that order. We got all of it. What are we going to do? Again, I've had some senators come up and some Congressmen that said, 'well, you know, sir, I think what we should do is we should not take that order'," he said.
"I said, 'Who are we hurting? It's 500,000 jobs. It'll be ultimately USD 110 billion. It's the biggest order in the history of our country from an outside military'. And I said, 'we're going to turn that down? Why would we do that?' So hopefully it's working out. We'll find out. We'll get down to the bottom of it. I hope that the Saudi King and Crown Prince didn't know about it (Khashoggi). That's the big factor in my eyes, and I hope they haven't," said the US president.
Responding to a question whether he has heard the latest audio which is being talked about that reportedly points to the brutal murder of Khashoggi, Trump said he is not sure yet if the audio exists, but it "probably does".
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