Trump asks Turkey for audio, video evidence on Khashoggi

The Turkish government has launched an investigation into the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist who reportedly was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, according to Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu.

The U.S. has asked Turkey for a recording that could reveal gruesome details of what happened to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump said Wednesday. But he’s not confirming there is any such recording, as reported by Turkish media, and he’s continuing to urge patience while Saudi Arabia says it’s investigating.

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 6:38 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has asked Turkey for a recording that could reveal gruesome details of what happened to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Donald Trump said Wednesday. But he’s not confirming there is any such recording, as reported by Turkish media, and he’s continuing to urge patience while Saudi Arabia says it’s investigating.

LINK | MISSING JOURNALIST A GRADUATE OF INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY

Asked about a recording described by the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak, Trump said, “We’ve asked for it, if it exists.” At another point, he said, “I’m not sure yet that it exists.”

Trump, who threatened punishment for Saudi Arabia when Khashoggi’s disappearance first came to light two weeks ago, has repeatedly noted Saudi leaders’ denials since then and insisted the U.S. must know the facts before taking action.

But when asked if he was “giving cover” to the Saudi leaders, he said Wednesday that he was not.

“No, not at all,” he declared.

Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally in the Mideast, is under pressure to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor living in the U.S. who had been critical of the crown prince. Turkish officials have said he was murdered, and the Turkish newspaper’s report said an audio recording revealed gory details about Khashoggi’s demise inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Trump has repeated denials by the Saudi king and crown prince that they knew anything about Khashoggi’s fate, and he has warned of a rush to judgment.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, dispatched by Trump to the region, said the U.S. takes Khashoggi’s disappearance seriously.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Trump compared the case of Khashoggi to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing. Kavanaugh denied the allegations and was confirmed to the court.

“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”

Trump’s remarks were his most robust defense yet of the Saudis. They put the president at odds with other key allies and with some leaders in his Republican Party who have condemned the Saudi leadership for what they say is an obvious role in the case. Trump appeared willing to resist the pressure to follow suit, accepting Saudi denials and their pledge to investigate.

The AP’s Oval Office interview came not long after Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He spoke by phone a day earlier with King Salman, and he said both deny any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.

After speaking with the king, Trump floated the idea that “rogue killers” may have been responsible for the disappearance. The president told the AP on Tuesday that that description was informed by his “feeling” from his conversation with Salman and that the king did not use the term.

In Turkey on Tuesday, a high-level Turkish official told the AP that police investigators searching the Saudi Consulate had found evidence that Khashoggi was killed there.

Pompeo met with the king and crown prince in Riyadh and said the Saudis had already started a “serious and credible investigation” and seemed to suggest it could lead to people within the kingdom. The secretary of state noted that the Saudi leaders, while denying knowledge of anything that occurred inside the consulate, had committed to accountability “including for Saudi Arabia’s senior leaders or senior officials.”

Trump said he hoped the Saudis’ own investigation of Khashoggi’s disappearance would be concluded in “less than a week.”

In the meantime, there were signs at home that Trump’s party was growing uncomfortable with his willingness to defend the Saudis.

In an interview with Fox News, a prominent Trump ally in the Senate called on Saudi Arabia to reject the crown prince, known as MBS, who rose to power last year and has aggressively sought to soften the kingdom’s image abroad and attract foreign investment.

“This guy has got to go,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, turning to speak to the camera. “Saudi Arabia, if you’re listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself.”

International leaders and business executives are severing or rethinking ties to the Saudi government after Khashoggi’s high-profile disappearance. Trump has resisted any action, pointing to huge U.S. weapons deals pending with Saudi Arabia and saying that sanctions could end up hurting the American economy.

He said it was too early to say whether he endorsed other countries’ actions. “I have to find out what happened,” he said. But his complaint about “guilty until proven innocent” and comparison to the Kavanaugh situation suggested he was giving the Saudis more leeway than other allies.

Khashoggi went to the consulate on Oct. 2 to get documents for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman while his fiancee waited outside. She and Turkish authorities say he never emerged and he has not been heard from since.

___

AP Writer Matthew Lee contributed.

Trending on AP News
James admits 'terrible error' after swastika shown in TV ad
At a glance: Execs bailing on Saudi 'Davos in the Desert'
EgyptAir pulls magazine after Drew Barrymore article
by Taboola

Terre Haute
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 68°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 66°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 66°
Rockville
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 66°
Casey
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 67°
Brazil
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 68°
Marshall
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 68°
A Pleasant Overnight
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 281303

Reported Deaths: 8744
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1406235180
DuPage16955551
Lake16545486
Will13612374
Kane12790325
St. Clair6386187
Winnebago5531149
Madison5463131
Champaign447220
McHenry4463118
Peoria331449
McLean320020
Rock Island286974
Kankakee267677
Sangamon229044
Unassigned2238236
Kendall194725
Tazewell165721
LaSalle164056
DeKalb148438
Macon143642
Coles139630
Williamson135139
Jackson124824
Clinton108820
Boone107423
Adams103210
Randolph92611
Effingham8361
Whiteside70220
Ogle6516
Vermilion6484
Grundy6455
Monroe63915
Henry6365
Morgan62823
Knox6273
Bureau59711
Jefferson57238
Marion5180
Macoupin5157
Union50724
Franklin5053
Stephenson4846
Christian46011
McDonough45915
Logan4401
Woodford4086
Crawford4002
Cass38911
Jersey38514
Fayette3733
Shelby3604
Iroquois35919
Livingston3486
Lee3471
Perry34215
Montgomery33913
Warren3142
Saline2993
Bond2964
Douglas2857
Wayne2565
Lawrence2512
Jo Daviess2462
Carroll2174
Greene2167
Moultrie2083
Jasper2029
Cumberland2014
Hancock1993
Washington1981
Richland1714
Pulaski1611
White1610
Clark1542
Fulton1530
Johnson1480
Wabash1471
Clay1420
Piatt1320
Mason1291
Mercer1295
Menard1200
Pike1131
Edgar1117
De Witt1041
Ford995
Marshall980
Massac972
Scott750
Alexander731
Gallatin692
Hamilton670
Edwards640
Henderson640
Putnam550
Stark532
Calhoun470
Schuyler460
Brown430
Hardin370
Pope261
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 113337

Reported Deaths: 3530
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20936761
Lake10334319
Elkhart6438109
St. Joseph6226103
Allen6060200
Hamilton4761109
Vanderburgh349430
Hendricks2681122
Monroe251236
Tippecanoe231213
Johnson2279123
Clark215756
Porter209046
Cass19339
Delaware189561
Vigo178524
Madison161075
LaPorte138239
Floyd132161
Howard129063
Warrick122336
Kosciusko120617
Bartholomew115357
Marshall99424
Dubois95918
Boone95646
Hancock91443
Grant89733
Noble89432
Henry78125
Wayne74714
Jackson7429
Morgan70638
Shelby66629
Daviess65428
Dearborn63928
LaGrange63211
Clinton59513
Harrison56424
Putnam53810
Lawrence50628
Montgomery50521
Knox5039
Gibson4894
White48214
DeKalb46311
Decatur45739
Miami4303
Greene41935
Fayette41813
Jasper3862
Steuben3747
Scott35910
Sullivan33112
Jennings31212
Posey3090
Franklin30325
Clay2985
Orange28624
Ripley2828
Carroll27113
Wabash2628
Washington2611
Whitley2556
Starke2537
Adams2523
Wells2503
Jefferson2443
Fulton2352
Huntington2223
Spencer2223
Tipton22022
Perry21513
Randolph2097
Jay1750
Newton17211
Owen1671
Martin1640
Rush1534
Pike1411
Vermillion1260
Fountain1202
Pulaski1151
Blackford1133
Brown1033
Crawford1030
Parke961
Benton880
Ohio777
Union770
Switzerland690
Warren391
Unassigned0225