Trump Says Report on Khashoggi Death Expected in a Few Days

Tom Ozimek
By Tom Ozimek
November 18, 2018US News
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President Donald Trump said on Nov. 17 that his administration will get a report in the next two days about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“We’ll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday,” Trump said Saturday. That will include “who did it,” he said.

Reporters had asked Trump about the death of Khashoggi, a U.S. permanent resident, who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Trump said that when it came to allegations that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman may have been directly involved, “as of this moment we were told that he did not play a role. We’re going to have to find out what they have to say.”

“The United States government is determined to hold all those responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable,” the State Department said in a statement on Saturday. “Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate. There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts.”

The statement made reference to recent reports, which cited anonymous sources, that the CIA had concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

The CIA has not commented on the allegations.

Saudi officials have denied claims of the crown prince’s involvement, saying instead that a group of rogue operators was responsible. Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat has said Prince Mohammed had “absolutely nothing” to do with it.

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters traveling with him Saturday for a summit of Pacific Rim nations in Papua, New Guinea, that the “murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity. It was also an affront to a free and independent press, and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey has disclosed audio recordings related to Khashoggi’s killing to officials from several countries.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said he didn’t think the tape implicated the crown prince.

“That is not the conclusion that the people who have heard it have come to,” Bolton said. “I have not listened to the tape myself, but in the assessment of those who have listened to it, it does not, in any way, link the crown prince to the killing.”

Sanctions

The United States sanctioned 17 senior Saudi officials on Nov. 15, hours after Riyadh’s top prosecutor called for the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out Khashoggi’s killing.

Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb said that 11 suspects have been indicted in connection with Khashoggi’s slaying in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, and that five of the individuals should face the death penalty for their direct involvement in “ordering and executing the crime.”

The announcement was published Nov. 15, in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia's top prosecutor Saud
Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb preparing to board a plane in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 31, 2018. (DHA via AP)

Hours after Riyadh’s announcement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions against 17 Saudi officials allegedly involved in the killing. The officials include Saud al-Qahtani, a former top aide to Prince Mohammed, and Istanbul Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi.

“At the time of Khashoggi’s killing, these individuals occupied positions in the Royal Court and several ministries and offices of the Government of Saudi Arabia,” Pompeo said in a statement. “Our action today is an important step in responding to Khashoggi’s killing.”

Saturday’s State Department-issued statement added: “The U.S. government has taken decisive measures against the individuals responsible, including visa and sanctions actions. We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those accountable who planned, led and were connected to the murder. And, we will do that while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Prosecutor Reveals Details of Khashoggi’s Killing

The spokesman for al-Mojeb’s office, Shalan al-Shalan, told a rare press conference in Riyadh that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and his body was dismembered and handed over to an unidentified “local collaborator” for disposal. The victim’s body hasn’t been found.

The Saudi public prosecutor’s office also said Khashoggi was killed following a struggle, after which he was tied up and injected with an overdose of a sedative that killed him.

According to Shalan, Prince Mohammed knew nothing of the operation.

Prosecutors said the highest-level official incriminated in connection with the killing is former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri, who was fired as pressure from Turkey and around the world mounted on Saudi Arabia.

Al-Assiri deemed Khashoggi a threat because of his work as a writer and because he was allegedly backed by groups and countries that are hostile to Saudi Arabia, Saudi prosecutors said. Al-Assiri, a close confidant of the crown prince, is facing charges for allegedly ordering Khashoggi’s forced return to the Saudi kingdom.

Without identifying them, Shalaan said the Saudi prosecutor had requested the death penalty for five individuals “charged with ordering and committing the crime, and for the appropriate sentences for the other indicted individuals.”

He said 11 of 21 suspects have been indicted and will be referred to court, while investigations of the remaining suspects will continue.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. Epoch Times staff writer Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

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