Trump threatens “severe punishment” if Riyadh is behind the disappearance of Khashoggi. “We are going to get to the bottom of the matter,” the US president told CBS about the disappearance of the Saudi journalist.
Donald Trump has raised the tone considerably in the crisis unleashed by the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who described as “really terrible and disgusting.” The president has promised “severe punishment” to Saudi Arabia if the United States confirms that Saudi agents killed The Washington Post columnist.
Trump Threatens ‘Severe Punishment’ if Saudis Killed ‘Khashoggi’
“Well, nobody knows yet, but we will probably be able to find out. Is being investigated. And we would feel very disappointed and angry if that were the case. For the moment, they deny it, and they vehemently deny it. Could it have been them? Yes. We are going to get to the end of this and there will be a severe punishment, “Trump said in a television interview with CBS that will be broadcast entirely this Sunday night.
Khashoggi, 59, is a Saudi citizen, but he had lived in the US since last year, where he moved to fear for his safety as a journalist critical of the Saudi regime. On October 2, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to do a paperwork and was never seen leaving. Since then, his whereabouts are unknown.
The Turkish authorities, who have contributed recordings of Khashoggi entering the consulate, suspect that he was killed by a team of Saudi agents, dismembered with a saw, and his remains taken away from the diplomatic headquarters. The US intelligence services intercepted a conversation of Saudi officials about an operation to get him to return to Saudi Arabia, from Virginia, where he lived, and stop him.
The Saudi regime categorically denies the, in their words, “false accusations”. “What has been circulating about alleged orders to kill Jamal are gross lies and baseless accusations against the Government of the kingdom, which is committed to its principles, norms, and traditions and complies with international laws and conventions,” says an official statement.
Turkey is confident that Washington will press Saudi Arabia to offer more information about Khashoggi’s whereabouts. On Friday, President Donald Trump said he planned to speak with King Salman about the disappearance. “I’ll call him, I’ll call King Salman sometime,” he told reporters on the way to an election in Ohio. “A lot of people are trying to know because it’s a potentially very terrible situation.”
The crisis over the disappearance of the journalist is a complicated episode for Trump, who has reinforced in these two years the relationship with Riyadh, the largest Arab ally in the US. In the past, the president has avoided criticizing the Saudi regime on issues related to human rights. Saudi Arabia was the first country that visited Trump as president and his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, has a very close relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohamed in Salman.