Trump Defends Saudi Arabia again in Khashoggi’s Case

Local Editor

US President Donald Trump once again defended the Saudi government over the mysterious disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, considering that pinning the blame on Riyadh before knowing all the facts is yet another case of “guilty until proven innocent.”

Trump Tuesday criticized people blaming Saudi Arabia for the disappearance of the US-based journalist and accused them of prejudging the case.

“Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that,” Trump said during an interview with The Associated Press.

He likened the global outcry against the Saudi government to the controversy surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned,” Trump said. “So we have to find out what happened.”

Khashoggi disappeared on October 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish authorities believe he was tortured and killed inside the building by a team of Saudi operatives who removed his dismembered body.

Earlier in the day, Trump wrote in tweets that he had spoken to the Saudi crown prince on the phone and that bin Salman had “denied any knowledge” of the fate of the missing Washington Post columnist.

He further noted that bin Salman agreed to “expand” an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance and that “answers will be forthcoming shortly.”

Trump told AP that he hopes the Saudi investigation concludes in “less than a week.”

The tweets came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and senior Saudi officials in Riyadh.

In this respect, the US State Department said Pompeo called for a “thorough, transparent and timely” investigation during the discussions.

The comments mark the second time in two days Trump has vouched for Saudi Arabia’s denials of knowledge about the fate of Khashoggi.

Speaking to reporters following a phone call with King Salman on Monday, Trump suggested that “rogue killers” may be responsible for whatever happened to Khashoggi.

But in an interview aired late on Tuesday on Fox Business channel, Trump said it would not bode well Saudi leadership if it is found they were involved in Khashoggi’s case.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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