Trump touts Saudi King’s denial in journalist’s disappearance

FILE: President Donald J. Trump

By Devan Cole, CNN

(CNN) — President Donald Trump said Monday that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman denied having any knowledge of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, even as questions continue to swirl in Washington about the Saudi regime’s possible involvement in the Saudi journalist’s disappearance.

“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!” Trump tweeted Monday morning.

The President has been reluctant to castigate Saudi Arabia, a key US ally which plays a central role in the Trump administration’s Middle East policy, despite growing pressure from congressional Republicans. In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, the President said that there would be “severe punishment” if Khashoggi were found to have been killed, but has not publicly shared any details about any possible investigations into Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the country’s government, disappeared last week after he went into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée.

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