Published: Tue, June 25, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump puts Saudi arms sales above inquiry into Khashoggi killing

Trump puts Saudi arms sales above inquiry into Khashoggi killing

United States President Donald Trump has on Monday turned down calls to probe the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia and refused to agree whether he would hold Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for his death, a day after a United Nations (UN) expert called for global investigation into Riyadh's official's involvement in the killing of Khashoggi.

Earlier this month, the United Nations laid out in a report evidence that suggests not only did Saudi officials at the highest level plan and carry out Khashoggi's killing, but that they carefully planned how best to hide the murder from the worldwide community.

Khashoggi was killed, and believed to have been dismembered by Saudi agents, inside the consulate on October 2.

"I think it's been heavily investigated", Trump said, when asked by host Chuck Todd whether he'd order the FBI to open an investigation, as recommended by the United Nations.

Asked by host Chuck Todd who has already looked into Khashoggi's death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Trump said "everybody" and added that he's seen "many different reports".

Asked by Todd if he spoke to MBS about Khashoggi, Trump said, "It really didn't come up".

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Trump declined final three hundred and sixty five days to penalize Saudi Arabia over the killing. "It's a big producer of jobs", the president told NBC's "Meet the Press" in a wide-ranging interview that was taped Friday and broadcast Sunday.

The CIA and Turkish authorities investigated Khashoggi's death and determined MBS personally ordered his murder. "If you're going to look at Saudi Arabia, look at Iran, look at other countries", Trump said.

"I'm not like a fool that says, 'We don't want to do business with them, ' " he said, when pressed about the humanitarian concerns raised against Saudi Arabia's leadership. That means something to me. USA intelligence agencies previously had concluded that the crown prince ordered that Khashoggi be killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, where he went to pick up documents to marry his Turkish fiancee. They have blamed the murder on a group of rogue Saudi officials.

Todd asked whether Saudi Arabia had paid the right price for the USA to essentially look the other way on Khashoggi's killing.

Trump declined a year ago to penalize Saudi Arabia over the killing. "They'll end trade with the Russians or with the Chinese language".

The Senate voted last week to block the Trump administration from selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

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