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Trump said it ‘certainly looks’ like Jamal Khashoggi is dead

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Donald Trump
President
Donald Trump has been under mounting pressure to address the
disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a more
forceful way.

Carolyn
Kaster/AP


  • President Donald Trump on Thursday told reporters it
    “certainly looks” like Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is
    dead. 
  • Trump stopped short of alleging the Saudis killed Khashoggi,
    but said there would be “very severe” consequences if it turns
    out they did. 
  • Khashoggi, who was often critical of the Saudi government in
    his reporting, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in
    Istanbul on October 2.
  • Trump has largely stood by the Saudis over the past week or
    so as they’ve issued a series of denials.

President Donald Trump on Thursday made what was perhaps his most
forceful statement yet on the disappearance of Saudi journalist
Jamal Khashoggi. 

When asked if he believes Khashoggi is dead, the president told
reporters, “It certainly looks that way to me.”

The president also said consequences will have to be “very
severe” if it turns out Saudi Arabia is responsible for
Khashoggi’s death. 

Additionally, Trump said he would not make a “very strong”
statement on the case until several investigations into
Khashoggi’s disappearance have concluded. 

“I think we’ll be making a statement, a very strong
statement,” Trump said. “We’re waiting for the results of about
three different investigations and we should be able to get to
the bottom fairly soon.”

Khashoggi, who most recently wrote for the Washington Post, was
often critical of the Saudi government in his reporting. He
disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on
October 2 and Turkish officials have accused the Saudis of
brutally killing Khashoggi in the consulate. 

The Saudis have so far denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s
disappearance. But over two weeks after he went missing, the
Saudi government has still not provided any evidence the
journalist safely departed the consulate.

Trump has largely stood by the Saudis over the past week as
they’ve issued a series of denials.

The president at one point suggested “rogue killers” could be
responsible, but provided no evidence to back up this assertion.

Trump also said the criticism against the Saudi kingdom amid the
Khashoggi investigation is another instance of “guilty until
proven innocent.”

Meanwhile, Trump has touted the strategic alliance between the US
and Saudi Arabia, boasting about the billions of dollars of arms
America has sold to the Saudis. He said it would be a “tough pill
to swallow” to cease arms sales to the Saudis over Khashoggi,
contending such a move would hurt the US economy. 

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