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Trump, Pompeo still defending Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi

18 October, 2018, 06:21 | Author: Sara Gill
  • Trump Speaks to Saudi King, Sends Pompeo for Follow-Up

Fifteen days after he entered the consulate in Istanbul and was never seen coming out, the Saudis have yet to give an explanation.

"We need Saudi Arabia", the president said, before ticking down a list of items from the fight against terrorism to Iran.

TRT World's Joseph Hayat has the details.

A team of Turkish investigators searched the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for a second time as part of a probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent.

Back in Washington, President Trump confidently parroted the Saudis' denials: Hey, it could have been "rogue killers" committing the murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside a heavily guarded Saudi consulate, Trump argued implausibly, and why let the grisly murder of a USA resident get in the way of lucrative arms sales?

Hours before the search at the residence, a Saudi team arrived at the building, Anadolu said, adding police cordoned off the street in Istanbul's Levent district.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says America takes the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi "seriously". Lippmann said Graham probably "didn't think much of the optics of that glad-handing session between Pompeo and the prince - but when did this administration ever care about the optics?"

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured before being decapitated inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, pro-government Turkish daily Yeni Safak reported yesterday, saying it had heard audio recordings of the incident.

"Here we go again with you're guilty until proven innocent", Trump told the AP in an interview.

"In all probability, the Saudis want Trump to know that his cooperation in covering for the Khashoggi affair is important to the Saudi monarch", said Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma. Al-Otaibi left Turkey on Tuesday afternoon, Turkish state media reported. Leaked surveillance video shows that diplomatic cars traveled to the consul general's home shortly after Khashoggi went into the consulate.

Saudi Arabia understands the need to conclude its investigation into the disappearance of government critic Jamal Khashoggi in a timely and rapid fashion, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

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"I'm not giving cover at all", Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

In an editorial, the paper called for an independent worldwide investigation into the disappearance of the journalist, saying that the travel to Saudi Arabia by State Secretary Mike Pompeo has seemed to fail to find the truth.

The three posed for photos before their meetings, but said nothing in front of journalists.

Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of SC and one of the kingdom's biggest defenders, angrily rejected the Saudi denials that Trump repeated. In August, US officials hailed the Saudi pledge and said the United States would use US$230 million earmarked to help stabilise Syria for other purposes.

But Pompeo, "who smiled broadly as he greeted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, appeared less intent on determining the truth than in helping the de facto Saudi ruler escape from the crisis he triggered", said the Post. Turkish officials say Saudi officials killed and dismembered The Washington Post columnist.

Pompeo said the Saudis committed to holding accountable "anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found", making no exceptions for anyone, including members of the royal family.

Trump on Wednesday denied he was covering for the longtime United States ally.

No major decisions are made outside of the ultraconservative kingdom's ruling Saud family.

"I hope they haven't", Trump said, referring to King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

U.S. media and officials have called on Ankara to release the evidence, but the Turkish investigators have not done so yet.



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