Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

Trump Says He Now Believes Khashoggi Is Dead, Threatens 'Consequences'

Trump Says He Now Believes Khashoggi Is Dead, Threatens 'Consequences'

President Donald Trump, who has reaped millions from Saudi royal family members staying at his hotels and resorts, has been reluctant to condemn Saudi leaders for Khashoggi's disappearance, saying they must be presumed innocent.

Pompeo told reporters he stressed to the Saudis that the US takes "very seriously" Khashoggi's disappearance.

Trump stopped short of accusing the Saudis of killing Khashoggi, but he said there would be "very severe" consequences if it turns out they did. On Monday, he said, "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers". Increasingly upset US lawmakers are condemning the Saudis and questioning the seriousness with which Trump and his top aides are taking the matter, while Trump has emphasized the billions of dollars in weapons the Saudis purchase from the United States.

President Trump has been publicly asking to hear the recording. "They are an important strategic alliance of the United States and we need to be mindful of that as well", he said. He interacted with bin Laden during the civil war in Afghanistan during the 1980s and 1990s, but strictly as a journalist.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is a pity that Mr Khashoggi has gone missing, but that Russia can not damage relations with Saudi Arabia without hard facts.

Additionally, Trump said he would not make a statement on the case until several investigations into Khashoggi's disappearance have concluded.

Saudi Arabia preparing to admit Khashoggi was killed
But it has rapidly become a vehicle for those firms to express their concerns over Khashoggi's disappearance. Trump also seemed to offer another theory for a crime allegedly carried out at the Saudi diplomatic post .

Turkish officials claim Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered in the consulate by a hit squad which arrived from Riyadh - claims denied by the Saudi government. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, a top intelligence official with close ties to Saudi Arabia's crown prince, may get the blame for the alleged killing. "It's not something you want to blow up willy-nilly". "I'm not giving cover at all".

In an editorial headlined "Why is the Trump administration cleaning up Saudi Arabia's mess?". Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sen. The pro-government Sabah newspaper published a series of photos of a man it identified as someone who travels with the Saudi crown prince.

U.S. president Donald Trump acknowledged that it "certainly looks" as though Khashoggi is dead, and he threatened "very severe" consequences if the Saudis are found to have murdered him.

But Trump's willingness to give the Saudis more time to investigate the matter - at the behest of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, even as USA intelligence agencies and global leaders say Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is behind Khashoggi's October 2 disappearance - complicates the growing crisis with the U.S.'s uneasy ally.

U.S. officials denied that the payment had anything to do with Pompeo's visit or Khashoggi, though a source told The New York Times that the timing of the deposit "was no coincidence".

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