US President Donald Trump said Saudis deny killing missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but he promised to hold them responsible if they lied.
Facing mounting pressure to confront the Saudi government over the shocking disappearance and possible murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump vowed “severe punishment” for whoever is responsible — once the United States concludes its investigation.
In a 60 Minutes interview that will air Sunday, Trump told Lesley Stahl that the US is looking at the case “very strongly,” but does not have any leads on whether Saudi Arabia is behind Khashoggi’s vanishing. Turkish officials have reportedly told their American counterparts that they have audio and video recordings proving that Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist, was tortured and killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
“We would be very upset and angry if that were the case. As of this moment, they deny it, and they deny it vehemently,” Trump said.
Later, Trump added, “We’re going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment.”
Khashoggi, who was a US resident living in Virginia on self-imposed exile, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2 to file some paperwork for his upcoming marriage. His fiancée, who was waiting for him outside, told Turkish media and local authorities that she never saw him exit.