There is still very little clarity regarding the fate of missing Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. That is, other than the fact that many US lawmakers believe Turkey’s account that he was murdered by a Saudi hit squad, while President Donald Trump himself is giving some credence to Saudi Arabia’s side of the story.
“We are going to leave nothing uncovered,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Monday in response to questions about Khashoggi.
He stressed that during a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman that “the king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” adding that “it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?”
Trump announced on Twitter early on Monday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would be traveling to Saudi Arabia as part of the administration’s efforts to get to the bottom of the situation:
Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 15, 2018
US weapons manufacturers, meanwhile, have expressed concern that Congress might block arms sales to Riyadh over the case, as was reported by Reuters on Friday.
“They’ve had holds on major systems for months for Yemen issues,” one senior Trump administration official said, after mentioning that defense contractors had raised concerns. “This makes it more likely they’ll expand holds to include systems that aren’t necessarily controversial by themselves. It’s a major concern.”