On Thursday, President Donald Trump said for the first time that he believes that Khashoggi no longer lives more than…
On Thursday, President Donald Trump said for the first time that he believes that Khashoggi no longer lives more than two weeks after the Washington Post columnists entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, never to be seen again.
“It’s certainly looking so far out to me, it’s very sad,” said the president when asked if Khashoggi is dead.
Asked about consequences for Saudi Arabia if it was found to be involved in his killing, Trump said: “Yes, it will be serious, I think it’s bad, bad things. We see what’s happening. OK?”
The Trump administration has fought much of its political agenda in the Middle East in a strong US-Saudi Arabian relationship, with the president’s son-in-law and senior counselor Jared Kushner forging a close personal relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed.
But on Thursday, Saudi Arabia felt the first impact of the United States on Khashoggi’s apparent death, with Finance Minister Steve Mnuchin, who draws a planned appearance at a Saudi investment conference next week. An administrative official said that no US officials would attend the conference in his place.
Although Trump said he is still awaiting Saudi Arabia and Turkish investigations before his final assessment of the situation, Mnuchin’s assertions suggest that Washington may have enough information to incriminate Saudi Arabia.
Liam Fox, UK Commercial Secretary and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and his Dutch counterpart Wopke Hoekstra, also pulled out of the conference.
The CEOs in three top banks had already announced that they would withdraw. International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde has also interrupted his participation. G7 Foreign Ministers on Tuesday urged those responsible to be held responsible.
Two-party groups of US legislators have begun to withdraw international demands for an independent investigation of Khashoggi disappearance and urges Trump, who has spoken the Crown Prince’s total denial “of any commitment to reveal his personal financial ties to Saudi Arabia.”
Trumps loyalty to Riyadh has become increasingly difficult to justify as evidence has mounted to link Khashoggi to people with ties to the highest levels of the Saudi government.
On Thursday, CNN learned that Turkish officials suspected within a few hours after Khashoggi disappearance as he probably had been killed.
Turkish intelligence officials drove to Istanbul airport, where a private Saudi airplane was waiting to take off – to try to find out if he had been abducted or if his body was taken out of the country. They found intact ing suspiciously, and the current flight left at 11 o’clock in the morning. local time.
Turkish authorities now say that they believe that 15 Saudi men who arrived in Istanbul on October 2 were linked to Khashoggi’s death. At least some of them seem to have high relations in the Saudi government.
Grisly details from an audio recording suggests that Khashoggi was tortured then killed soon after entering the consulate, according to Turkish media. The Turkish officials have told CNN that his body was dismembered.
Saudi Arabian intelligence officer and former diplomat Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb played a “key role” in the apparent killing. A source familiar with the Turkish investigation has told CNN.
The source said Mutreb was fully aware of the “plot” of the operation.
Several US officials have told CNN that an operation with members of the Crown Prince’s internal circle could not have happened without his direct knowledge.