It "certainly looks" like missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, President Trump said Thursday, and there will be "very severe" consequences if Saudi Arabia is responsible.
Trump's assertion puts him in line with many White House senior officials — attorney Rudy Giuliani told The Washington Post that many in the administration believe Khashoggi was murdered. Turkish officials have said they have proof Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering Turkey's Saudi consulate on Oct. 2, was murdered by Saudi operatives. U.S. intelligence is likewise reportedly leaning toward blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi's apparent death.
President Donald Trump says it "certainly looks" like Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead. Trump says he is considering "very severe" consequences for Saudi Arabia if they are responsible pic.twitter.com/y1P4OANdBF
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 18, 2018
But Trump has largely avoided discussing Khashoggi's disappearance, urging the public to wait for a completed investigation. Reports suggest Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has pushed the president to avoid blaming bin Salman for Khashoggi's suspected death.
Khashoggi's disappearance was the subject of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit with bin Salman in Riyadh earlier this week. During their meeting, bin Salman apparently phoned Trump to say he had no knowledge of what happened in the Saudi consulate. Trump on Wednesday said he will wait "for some results" before making a "very strong statement" regarding who was responsible for Khashoggi's death. Kathryn Krawczyk