WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he spoke by telephone with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and he predicted that soon there will be “answers” about what happened to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared two weeks ago in Istanbul.
“Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate,” Trump said on Twitter in the first of two tweets on the matter.
“He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly,” Trump added.
Pompeo met on Tuesday in Riyadh with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the crown prince and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
During the meeting, the Saudi monarch promised to fully investigate the disappearance of Khashoggi, a Saudi reporter who had been critical of Riyadh and who vanished on Oct. 2 after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance in Turkey has pointed to the strong possibility that the reporter, who had been living in Washington since fleeing Saudi Arabia in 2017, may have been killed in the consulate, presumably by Saudi government agents, something that Saudi authorities have denied.
After speaking with the Saudi king on Monday, Trump had cast doubt on the implication that the Riyadh government may have murdered Khashoggi, saying that possibly “rogue killers” had done him in.
The New York Times and CNN on Monday reported that Saudi Arabia is planning to admit that Khashoggi died in the consulate in an operation that got out of hand but will try to distance the monarchy from the incident.
Pompeo is scheduled to travel to Turkey on Wednesday to meet with that country’s authorities, who are continuing with their investigation of the matter.