Trump: Saudi King denies knowledge of Khashoggi

President Trump says he spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, who denied any knowledge of what happened to missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Posted: Oct 16, 2018 7:51 AM
Updated: Oct 16, 2018 8:15 AM

President Donald Trump suggested Monday that "rogue killers" could be behind the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, after a phone call with Saudi Arabia's King Salman over the case.

Trump told White House reporters that Salman offered him a "flat denial" in relation to the disappearance of Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was last seen in public when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey on October 2.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left Washington for Riyadh at around midday to meet with the Saudi King on Trump's orders.

Saudi authorities maintain Khashoggi left the consulate the same afternoon of his visit, but have provided no evidence to support the claim. Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate, says she did not see him re-emerge.

"It wasn't like there was a question in his mind. The denial was very strong," Trump said of King Salman.

"It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers, who knows," Trump said. It was not clear whether Trump was offering his own analysis or whether the suggestion came from Salman.

"We are going to try to get to the bottom of it very soon," Trump added. "But his was a flat denial."

CNN reporters saw Turkish investigators, including forensics officers, entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul Monday evening. Saudi officials had granted permission for the premises to be searched, a Turkish diplomatic source told CNN, and police were seen cordoning off the area before investigators arrived. Turkish officials also want to search the nearby consul general's residence.

Turkish authorities believe 15 Saudi men who arrived in Istanbul on October 2 were connected to Khashoggi's disappearance and possible murder. At least some of them appear to have high-level connections in the Saudi government.

A source familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN on Friday that Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that shows journalist Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

International pressure is mounting on Riyadh to explain the journalist's disappearance, in a case that has created a diplomatic rift between Saudi and the West. The UK, France and Germany have demanded a "credible investigation" into the events and Trump on Sunday warned of serious retribution if the Saudis were found to be behind his possible death.

Saudi officials threatened to retaliate if the US imposed sanctions, but Riyadh later softened its tone.

The case has also caused friction between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which has repeatedly accused the Saudis of failing to cooperate with their investigation.

The agreement to allow a search of the consulate comes a day after King Salman called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the case. The two leaders agreed on a joint working group to look into the journalist's disappearance.

The Saudi official said that a royal decree was issued Friday directing the public prosecutor to conduct an internal investigation into the Khashoggi case, based on intelligence shared by Turkey with Saudi Arabia.

The official said that although a joint investigation team was cooperating on the ground, the Saudi "leadership had felt that an internal investigation was needed to make sure no stone is left unturned to unfold the truth."

International companies pull out

Saudi Arabia's stock market fell as much as 7% on Sunday amid fears of sanctions. The index recovered some ground later to close 3.5% down. The market's drop of as much as 9% since Khashoggi vanished has wiped out all the market's gains in 2018, although it is still up 8% from a year ago.

Amid the diplomatic fallout over Khashoggi's disappearance, international firms are pulling out of a high-profile investment summit, the Future Investment Initiative conference, dubbed "Davos in the Desert," due to take place later this month in Riyadh and to be hosted by Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The latest high-profile invitee to pull out of the conference is World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, according to a person familiar with the decision. The CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, has also withdrawn, a spokesperson confirmed Sunday.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was still due to attend the conference. The BBC reported that the attendance of the British Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, was in doubt.

Saudi Arabia has found support in a number of Arab allies, including Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which all put out statements Sunday saying they expressed solidarity with Saudi Arabia. The Palestinian Authority also put out a statement of support.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 539829

Reported Deaths: 11038
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson798271529
Mobile41261809
Madison35132506
Tuscaloosa25915455
Shelby25294249
Montgomery24705593
Baldwin21392310
Lee15987172
Calhoun14569319
Morgan14422280
Etowah13918353
Marshall12275225
Houston10641282
Elmore10147206
Limestone10065151
St. Clair9946245
Cullman9761194
Lauderdale9457243
DeKalb8865188
Talladega8339176
Walker7260278
Autauga7001108
Jackson6836112
Blount6771139
Colbert6320135
Coffee5578118
Dale4876113
Russell445138
Chilton4369113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4044153
Escambia394777
Chambers3590123
Dallas3568153
Clarke351461
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302698
Winston275773
Bibb264564
Geneva254078
Marengo249665
Pickens234862
Barbour232056
Hale223978
Butler219069
Fayette212662
Henry189643
Cherokee184645
Randolph182442
Monroe178141
Washington167739
Macon161150
Clay157157
Crenshaw153557
Cleburne149641
Lamar143236
Lowndes140553
Wilcox127430
Bullock123242
Conecuh110829
Coosa109228
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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