President Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted to defend Saudi Arabian authorities as speculation increased regarding missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump’s tweets came the same afternoon that he related the case to allegations of sexual assault that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh faced amid his confirmation.
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump told the Associated Press. “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.”
The president’s tweets said he had just spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “who totally denied any knowledge” of what happened to Khashoggi. The journalist, who wrote for the Washington Post and criticized Saudi leaders, was last seen entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.
…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.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
AP reports that a “high-level Turkish official” had told the news organization earlier Tuesday that police had found evidence that Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate. Trump said on Monday his “feeling” based on a conversation with King Salman was that “rogue killers” were behind Khashoggi’s disappearance.
International leaders and business executives have questioned their ties to the Saudi government in the wake of the investigation, according to AP. But Trump has dug in his heels on doing so due to possible U.S. weapon deals with Saudi Arabia and concerns that sanctions would negatively effect the economy.
He said Monday he hoped the Saudis’ investigation would wrap up in “less than a week.”
H/T Associated Press