Trump said Pompeo is leaving this morning for Saudi Arabia and that king Salman “firmly denies” any involvement in journalist Kashoggi’s death.
“I just spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia, who denies any knowledge of what took place with regard to, as he said, his Saudi Arabian citizen. I’ve asked — and he firmly denied that. I’ve asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to immediately get on a plane, to Saudi Arabia, go to other places if necessary, which he probably will. But with regards to this, go to Turkey if necessary. The King told me that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are working hand-in-hand, very closely, on getting to the bottom of what happened. So we’ll see what happens,” Trump said in a brief gaggle on the South Lawn this morning.
Repeating his statement from his tweet, he said that Mike Pompeo is getting ready to depart to Saudi Arabia.
“We are going to leave nothing uncovered. With that being said, the King firmly denied any knowledge of it. He didn’t really know. Maybe — I don’t want to get into his mind — but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows? We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon. But his was a flat denial.”
In the same fashion President spoke before about Putin’s firm denial of election meddling, he said that Saudi King denied involvement in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. “He told me in a very firm way that they had no knowledge of it. He said it very strongly,” Trump said.
Asked who else could it be if not Saudi Arabia, President said that he does not know. “We’re going to try to getting to the bottom of it. I can only tell you that his denial to me is — just one very, you know, relatively fast phone call. Probably lasted 20 minutes. His denial to me could not have been stronger that he had no knowledge. And it sounded like he, and also the Crown Prince, had no knowledge.”
Trump said that he did not talk to the King of Saudi Arabia about the potential punishment the kingdom would face and that the Saudis are going to investigate this case together with Turkey. “ I think that’s a good thing”, he concluded.
Exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, and Turkish officials allege he was murdered by Saudi officials.