Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he believes Saudi Arabia’s explanation for what happened to American-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He’s just about the only person who does.
Jamal Khashoggi was living in America, but traveled to the Saudi consulate on October 2. Khashoggi, a journalist, has been critical of the Saudi royal family in the past, and was living in self-imposed exile after being threatened.
On October 19, 17 days after Khashoggi disappeared inside the consulate and after Turkey has released multiple reports that the journalist was killed in the building, Saudi Arabia released a statement. Their story is that Khashoggi, a man in his 70s, engaged in a fight with several other men when he entered the consulate and died as a result.
And Donald Trump believes this story — or at least, that’s what he’s telling the media, according to CNN.
70-yo man was engaged in a fight with 15 men? #bollywood storyboard should be designed..#Khashoggi@CNN @cnnbrk @washingtonpost @FoxNews @NBCNews @CBSNews @ABC @business @latimes @MSNBC @BBCBreaking @France24 @FT pic.twitter.com/3JnJsGnaUd— nete bab (@ntebdwa) October 20, 2018
When word of Khashoggi’s disappearance became national news, Saudi Arabia flatly denied having any knowledge of his whereabouts and stated that he left safely through a back door of the consulate building.
As Turkey began to release more reports and more evidence that Khashoggi was killed inside the building, Saudi Arabia announced that perhaps the journalist was killed by rogue agents inside the building. Now, they say he actually got into a physical fight to the death.
To be clear, Khashoggi went to the consulate to obtain paperwork so he could marry his fiancee, who waited for him outside the building for 11 hours. She never saw him again. Now, she knows she never will.
Turkish investigators say they have an audio recording of the murder, which occurred after an interrogation of Khashoggi. It has been reported that Khashoggi’s fingers were broken, his body was dismembered and his head was cut off.
The location of his body is unknown, and Turkish investigators are searching forest and farm areas for it. The missing body would seem to contradict the story released by Saudi Arabia, but a lot of the information about the disappearance and death of Jamal Khashoggi does.
Still, evidently the story is good enough for Donald Trump.
It’s worth noting that Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have been in the oil business together since the 1930s. Saudi Arabia supplies the U.S. with billions of dollars in oil annually, and purchases more weapons from the U.S. than any other nation in the world.
Trump has publicly stated that he does not wish to interrupt a current arms deal with Saudi Arabia, reports CNBC.
Trump said he thinks the Saudi explanation of the assassination of WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi is credible. That Khashoggi got into a fist fight with 15 members of the Saudi military. So Trump is either a complete moron or he’s covering up for the Saudis. It’s probably both.— Scott Dworkin (@funder) October 20, 2018
Many members of Congress are calling for the U.S. to launch its own investigation about the journalist’s death. Some are even accusing Donald Trump of helping Saudi Arabia cover up this crime.
Donald Trump has a famously contentious relationship with the media. On Friday, he publicly praised Congressman Greg Gianforte, who physically body-slammed a U.S. reporter, according to the BBC. During his presidential campaign, Trump said that journalists should be locked up.