Trump raises economic concerns over halting Saudi arms sales

Posted October 11, 2018

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi - a Saudi Washington Post columnist critical of the kingdom who was previously living in self-imposed exile in Washington - was killed shortly after he entered the consulate on October 2 seeking divorce papers.

Dana Ahmed said that if reports about Khashoggi's murder are true, the incident would be "an abysmal new low" for human rights in Saudi Arabia. Khaled Saffuri, an Arab American political activist, told the Post that Khashoggi had discussed these offers with them and said that he would never take an offer like this seriously.

Khashoggi had first left Saudi Arabia previous year, saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent. The Saudi consulate says Khashoggi left its premises.

The President said blocking further arms sales to Saudi Arabia "would be hurting us".

"Fox & Friends" hosts (from left) Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade spoke with President Donald Trump on October 11 about Khashoggi and U.S. -Saudi relations.

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Steve Doocy noted the Washington Post has reported that Mohammed ordered the operation to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.

U.S. officials have not confirmed Turkish claims that Khashoggi, a United States resident and one of the more outspoken critics of the regime of King Salman and his son Prince Mohammed, had been lured to the consulate and murdered by a team of 15 government operatives sent by Riyadh to Istanbul. But he said the U.S.is demanding answers: "We're demanding everything, we want to see what's going on here".

The apparent outing of members of the Saudi security services will add to growing worldwide pressure on the kingdom, which faces accusations from Turkey of having murdered and dismembered Mr Khashoggi when he went to the consulate on October 2.

Turkish officials believe that Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate, but US officials observed that the way the operation was conducted looked more like a kidnapping.

The Post has obtained video of the areas surrounding the consulate that purportedly shows when Khashoggi arrived at the consulate, as well as the movements of vehicles leaving the consulate two hours later.

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The Sabah newspaper, which is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, published images of what it referred to as the "assassination squad" apparently taken at passport control.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that Washington was working with Ankara and Riyadh on the investigation, though Turkish officials denied his claim that U.S. investigators were operating inside Turkey. And frankly I think that that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country. There is no footage of Khashoggi leaving the consulate, where his Turkish fiancee was waiting for him.

The Trump administration has been criticized for not taking a firmer stance against Saudi Arabia and its leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has vigorously campaigned to convince other nations of its progressive reforms.

According to one friend, Khashoggi told him "I don't trust them one bit" after a conversation with one such official. "I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate", she added. In both calls, they asked for more details and for the Saudi government to be transparent in the investigation process.

But State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters they had no such tip. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke with the crown prince "to reiterate the United States request for information", Sanders said.

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Turkish officials say they fear Saudi Arabia killed and dismembered Khashoggi, without offering evidence explaining why they believe that.