Trump calls Khashoggi killing ‘worst cover-up ever’
US president suggests Saudi crown prince was involved in journalist’s death
Donald Trump has referred to the suspected murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as “the worst cover-up ever”, after the US announced sanctions and repercussions for a number of Saudi officials.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US will be revoking the visas of those accused of murdering the Washington Post journalist, who vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. Pompeo said that the administration has “identified at least some of the individuals responsible”, CNN reports.
A US State Department spokesman declined to name the 21 officials so far believed to be involved, citing US law that says “visa confidentiality ... prohibits us from discussing individual visa cases”.
Speaking from the Oval Office yesterday, President Trump spoke bluntly of the botched assassination: “It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups,” he said “It's very simple.”
Asked by the Wall Street Journal about the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s possible involvement, Trump said: “Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be [involved], it would be him.”
Pressed on whether he believed Bin Salman’s denials that he ordered the execution or knew about it beforehand, the US president “paused for several seconds”, says The Guardian, before saying: “I want to believe them. I really want to believe them.”
Despite his criticism of the Saudi regime, Trump has continued to highlight the kingdom’s importance to the US as a key ally in the Middle East throughout the Khashoggi crisis, referring multiple times to planned weapons deals between the two countries.