US President Donald Trump said in a CBS interview on Saturday that there would be “severe punishment” for Saudi Arabia if it turns out that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Riyadh and legal resident of the United States, disappeared on October 2 after visiting the consulate.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment,” Trump said.
Asked whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave an order to kill him, Trump said “nobody knows yet, but we’ll probably be able to find out.” Trump added in excerpts of the “60 Minutes” interview that will air on Sunday “we would be very upset and angry if that were the case”.
Trump said that there was much at stake with Khashoggi case, “maybe especially so” because he was a reporter.
But Trump signaled that cutting off US military sales to the kingdom may not be an option, saying, “I don’t want to hurt jobs.”
Turkish sources have told Reuters the initial assessment of the police was that Khashoggi was deliberately killed inside the consulate. Riyadh has dismissed the claims.