Politics

Trump Still ‘Not Satisfied’ With Saudi Story on Khashoggi

‘We’ll see what happens,’ the president says as he prepares to stump for onetime archrival Cruz

President Donald Trump has remained evasive on the killing of a Saudi journalist. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump says he is still “not satisfied” with the Saudi Arabian government’s explanation of what led to the death of Washington journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers are calling on Trump to punish the Saudi royal family for coaxing the self-exiled Saudi citizen to the Istanbul facility and allegedly killing him before dismembering his corpse.

The Saudi government has confirmed Khashoggi died inside the consulate, but it claims he died after a fistfight that broke out as he argued with Saudi officials. But they are denying that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had anything to do with the columnist’s death.

Trump declined to say Monday whether he still trusts Saudi leaders. “We’ll see what happens,” he said when asked about his trust level, adding he expects to know more in the next two days.

Kushner Talks U.S.-Saudi Relations: ‘We Have Our Eyes Wide Open’

The president has said as recently as Saturday that he has yet to be convinced that MBS was involved in the operation to get Khashoggi to enter the Istanbul consulate.

Earlier Monday, White House adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner said he has advised the crown prince to be “transparent” about the Khashoggi matter, adding the administration has its eyes “wide open” about what might have happened and whether MBS was involved. He described the White House as still in fact-finding mode.

Meantime, Turkish President Recep Erdogan said Monday his government will reveal all details of its ongoing investigation, saying “nothing will remain secret.”

Trump spoke to reporters Monday as he departed the White House for a campaign rally in Houston for Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who is trying to hold off Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

Trump expressed no regrets for saying during the 2016 campaign that Cruz’s father might have been connected to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. He also took back his “Lyin’ Ted” nickname, saying the incumbent senator is “Beautiful Ted.” To that end, Cruz votes with Trump almost all of the time. 

Asked about O’Rourke, the president called him a “highly overrated guy.” “I actually like him a lot,” Trump said of Cruz, saying he and the senator have worked closely “a lot.”

Trump: 'I Think Beto O'Rourke is Highly Overrated'

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