Donald Trump has spoken out about the disappearance of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, acknowledging the likelihood that he might be dead. The Washington Post reports that in an interview en route to a political rally in Montana, the president said that it “certainly looks like” Khashoggi was dead and expressed that “it was very bad stuff”
“I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff. But we’ll see what happens,” he said.
According to the Washington Post, Trump hinted that the Saudi Arabia could face repercussions because of the Khashoggi case, but it would depend on the results of an investigation led by the Saudis. Trump told the press that he expects to receive a report on the matter, “very soon.”
“And I think we’ll be making a statement, a very strong statement,” he continued. “But, we’re waiting for the results of about three different investigations, and we should be able to get to the bottom fairly soon.”
Jamal Khashoggi, a permanent U.S. resident and vocal critic of the Saudi government, went missing after he was seen entering the Saudi consulate building in Turkey. Khashoggi was there to file paperwork that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancee.
The Washington Post notes that Turkish authorities believe that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi Arabian mercenaries who captured him at the consulate and dismembered his body. There are claims that the Turkish government has an audio recording of the murder, but they have not released any evidence related to their investigation.
The Guardian reports that the U.S. and some European countries have already started to distance themselves from Saudi Arabia because of the Khashoggi incident by boycotting Davos in the Desert, an important economic summit that’s held in Saudi Arabia.
According to The Guardian, U.S. Trade Secretary Steve Mnuchin will not attend. Financial/Trade ministers from the United Kingdom, France, and The Netherlands have also pulled out. Mnuchin announced his decision on Twitter approximately four hours after the news of the French and Dutch cancellations, The Guardian reports.
Jamal Khashoggi’s final column has been published by the @washingtonpost. In it, he accuses Arab governments of “silencing the media” — and the West of complicity. How prescient. How poignant. How painful. https://t.co/7FJRmCxNA5 pic.twitter.com/dFwBQCs0OK— James Cook (@BBCJamesCook) October 18, 2018
The Guardian also notes that Vladimir Putin seems to be against sanctioning Saudi Arabia, effectively stating that since Khashoggi was a U.S. resident, it’s Trump’s issue to deal with. He added that Russia won’t take any hardline stance against the Saudis until evidence is made available.
The Vox reports that Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, has advised him to support Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Kushner’s decision to take this stance is reportedly based on the fact that furor over previous alleged state-sanctioned assasination often dissipates over time.