President Donald Trump has declared the U.S. will uncover the truth about what happened to journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, whose possible murder at Saudi hands after disappearing in Istanbul has captured worldwide attention.
Trump promised Friday to personally call Saudi Arabia’s King Salman soon about “the terrible situation in Turkey.”
Turkish officials have said they believe he was murdered there. U.S. officials say they are seeking answers from the Saudi government and are not yet accepting the Turkish government’s conclusions.
Trump says Saudi leaders, as of now, “deny it every way you can imagine” allegations that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by the kingdom.
But, he has told CBS’ “60 Minutes,” ”Could it be them? Yes.”
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and critic of the Saudi government, went missing more than a week ago after entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Trump, who’s attacked the press as the “enemy of the people,” says “there’s a lot of stake, and maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. You’ll be surprised to hear me say that.”
He says “we’re going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment.”
Trump isn’t saying what that could be, but says he doesn’t want to cut off American military sales to Saudi Arabia.
He says “there are other ways of punishing.”
A pro-government Turkish newspaper is reporting that Turkish officials have an audio recording of the alleged killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Sabah newspaper, through which Turkish security officials have leaked much information about the case, reported Saturday that Khashoggi’s Apple Watch recorded his alleged slaying at the hands of Saudi officials.
The newspaper said authorities recovered the audio from Khashoggi’s iPhone and his iCloud account. The journalist had given his phones to his fiancee before entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Meanwhile, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud said Saturday that “what has been circulating about orders to kill (Khashoggi) are lies and baseless allegations against the government of the kingdom.”