Trump administration ramps up rhetoric over missing Saudi journalist

American officials on Wednesday sharply escalated their public demands on the government of Saudi Arabia to ...

Posted: Oct 11, 2018 3:55 AM
Updated: Oct 11, 2018 3:55 AM

American officials on Wednesday sharply escalated their public demands on the government of Saudi Arabia to reveal more of what it knows about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even as they stopped short of assigning blame to Riyadh for his murder.

"We're demanding everything. We want to see what's going on here. It's a bad situation," President Donald Trump said in the Oval Office, where he was receiving an update on a hurricane bearing down on Florida.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Jamal Khashoggi

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Misc people

Political Figures - US

Saudi Arabia

US federal government

White House

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Journalism and news media

Media industry

Freedom of press

Human rights

International relations and national security

King Salman

Political Figures - Intl

The President said he had contacted the "highest levels" of the Saudi government -- presumably King Salman -- to address the matter. And he revealed he planned to invite Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz, who appealed for Trump's help in an open letter, to the White House.

"This is a bad situation. We cannot let this happen -- to reporters, to anybody, we can't let this happen. And we're going to get to the bottom of it," Trump said.

Still, Trump acknowledged there was little clarity on what precisely happened to Khashoggi, who went missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain documents for his marriage. And he alluded to the sensitivities surrounding the matter, saying he'd prefer not to reveal which Saudi officials he spoke to about it.

"I have to find out who did it," Trump said. "People saw him go in but they didn't see him come out."

The scaled up pressure came after members of Congress demanded the administration confront Saudi Arabia, a major US security and trading partner that Trump has embraced. His first foreign stop as President was in Riyadh, where he was welcomed with high pomp, including massive projections of his face alongside King Salman on the Ritz Carlton hotel where he was staying.

Trump said Wednesday he found King Salman to be a "good man" with whom he speaks often, but acknowledged the Khashoggi case could prove to be an irritant.

"We have always had a very good relationship," he said. "I'm not happy about this."

Members of Trump's administration -- including son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner -- have also fostered close relationships with the kingdom's de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has pushed through reforms in the kingdom but drawn scrutiny for a bloody crackdown on dissent. Last year he oversaw the imprisonment of dozens of prominent Saudis in the very Ritz hotel Trump stayed during his visit.

As a columnist for The Washington Post, Khashoggi was a frequent critic of the regime in Riyadh.

Kushner and national security adviser John Bolton phoned Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday, according to the White House. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke with the 33-year-old crown prince.

"In both calls they asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process," press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

On Saturday, Turkish officials told the Washington Post and Reuters that Khashoggi had been killed inside the Saudi consulate. CNN has not been able to independently confirm these reports, and the Saudi government has denied them.

Lawmakers on Wednesday spoke in harsh terms about the case, warning of consequences if the Saudi regime is found to have ordered the killing.

"I've never been more disturbed than I am right now," said Sen. Lindsay Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is close to Trump. "If this did in fact happen, if this man was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, that would cross every line of normality in the international community. If it did happen, there would be hell to pay."

Speaking during a radio interview earlier on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said the US "stands ready to assist in any way" in the investigation.

"The free world deserves answers," Pence said. "And the reports that a Saudi Arabian journalist may have been tragically murdered in Turkey should be deeply concerning to everyone who cherishes a freedom of the press and human rights across the globe."

As of Wednesday, however, it did not appear as if Saudi Arabia or Turkey had made a formal request to the FBI for assistance in the investigation.

Huntsville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Florence
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 67°
Fayetteville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Decatur
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22400372
Mobile14282314
Tuscaloosa9983132
Montgomery9691196
Madison899992
Shelby703560
Lee643966
Baldwin637567
Marshall426748
Calhoun410259
Etowah402049
Morgan394532
Houston363132
DeKalb316727
Elmore309552
St. Clair279742
Limestone269227
Walker268092
Talladega255034
Cullman225823
Lauderdale206340
Autauga199928
Franklin199131
Jackson199114
Colbert190627
Russell19023
Dallas185227
Blount183823
Chilton180531
Escambia170928
Covington164729
Coffee16409
Dale162551
Pike130212
Chambers127343
Tallapoosa127286
Clarke126716
Marion104229
Butler99840
Barbour9819
Marengo96721
Winston89913
Geneva8337
Pickens80317
Randolph79514
Lawrence79230
Bibb78913
Hale74529
Cherokee71514
Clay70712
Lowndes69927
Bullock63517
Henry6316
Monroe6279
Washington62112
Crenshaw59030
Perry5796
Wilcox55712
Conecuh55413
Fayette54712
Macon52919
Cleburne5247
Sumter46421
Lamar4575
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 232061

Reported Deaths: 2922
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby34370552
Davidson29801325
Knox1183387
Hamilton11097102
Rutherford11031106
Williamson661848
Sumner5636107
Wilson440253
Putnam411053
Montgomery385751
Out of TN379435
Unassigned37653
Madison361378
Bradley340821
Sullivan318844
Sevier314920
Blount310231
Washington308043
Maury307435
Robertson248539
Hamblen232743
Tipton219222
Gibson205437
Dyer202326
Hardeman178732
Coffee176020
Trousdale17407
Obion163617
Bedford159020
Dickson156218
Wayne15607
Greene155650
Anderson155513
Loudon154010
Fayette152022
McMinn150832
Cumberland148924
Lawrence146217
Jefferson145818
Weakley143425
Carter141532
Henderson135425
Monroe134823
Warren13399
Hardin131319
Lauderdale130818
Macon125724
Franklin121115
Haywood119025
Roane11857
Overton111211
Johnson11046
Hawkins109923
Carroll109324
McNairy108825
White107614
Marshall10528
Rhea104816
Cheatham96911
Lake9683
Smith93313
Bledsoe9244
Cocke92212
Giles89234
Campbell8647
Fentress8497
Lincoln8012
Crockett76620
Henry74110
Hickman73913
Chester71214
Marion6999
DeKalb67216
Decatur62511
Grainger5314
Grundy5168
Claiborne4956
Union4932
Polk46913
Jackson4165
Humphreys4094
Morgan4086
Houston38914
Benton3879
Cannon3862
Unicoi3641
Clay36312
Lewis3502
Sequatchie3294
Scott3244
Stewart3087
Meigs2944
Moore2452
Pickett2445
Perry2041
Van Buren1911
Hancock1123

Community Events