Trump: Concerned about missing WaPo journalist

President Trump said that he was "concerned" about reports on the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post writer and Saudi royal court insider-turned-critic. CNN's Arwa Damon has the details.

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 9:26 PM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 9:26 PM

President Donald Trump said Monday that he was "concerned" about reports on the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post writer and Saudi royal court insider-turned-critic.

"I am concerned about that," Trump said. "I don't like hearing about it and hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now, nobody knows anything about it."

"There's some pretty bad stories about it. I do not like it," he added.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed his comments in a statement late Wednesday, saying there were "conflicting reports," but that the US was "concerned" by Khashoggi's disappearance.

"We call on the government of Saudi Arabia to support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation," Pompeo said.

'Absolutely false'

Trump's comments coincided with a vehement denial from Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who said claims that Khashoggi had been killed or detained by Saudi authorities were "absolutely false, and baseless," according to a statement obtained by CNN.

"There are many facts regarding his whereabouts that will hopefully be revealed through the ongoing investigation. Despite that, we have seen over the last few days various malicious leaks and grim rumors flying around about Jamal's whereabouts and fate," the statement says.

"I assure you that the reports that suggest that Jamal Khashoggi went missing in the Consulate in Istanbul or that the Kingdom's authorities have detained him or killed him are absolutely false, and baseless," it notes.

Vice President Mike Pence also weighed in on Khashoggi's disappearance, saying on Twitter, "Deeply troubled to hear reports about Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. If true, this is a tragic day. Violence against journalists across the globe is a threat to freedom of the press & human rights. The free world deserves answers."

It was the first time Trump has weighed in on the situation involving Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday.

CNN on Tuesday obtained an image from a security camera of Khashoggi entering the building on October 2 at 1:14 p.m. local time.

Earlier on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saudi Arabia should prove that Khashoggi has, in fact, left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"He entered the general consulate himself, and if he has entered by himself and if he did not exit it, of course this should be proven by the general consulate," Erdogan said at a news conference in Budapest.

Erdogan said the Saudi consulate should have surveillance cameras and should be able to show the video of Khashoggi leaving the building. He mentioned that there are no documents or other evidence that show the journalist departing.

Turkish officials told The Washington Post and Reuters on Saturday that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. The officials have so far provided no evidence or details on how they arrived at this conclusion.

"I am following it up as the President of the Turkish Republic," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara on Sunday, while confirming that he had known Khashoggi for some time and considered him a friend.

The Justice Ministry and the chief prosecutor in Istanbul "started an investigation and efforts are continuing," Erdogan said. Airport entrances and exits are being investigated.

"At the moment there are certain people who arrived from Saudi Arabia. And our chief investigator is investigating everything in this matter."

No surveillance footage

Khashoggi, who left Saudia Arabia in 2017, entered the consulate last Tuesday to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage while his Turkish fiancée waited outside. She says she never saw him re-emerge.

A Saudi official said Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he visited. The Saudis did not, however, release any surveillance footage or other evidence.

CNN reported Sunday that the US government is quietly working Khashoggi's case across several agencies and at senior levels of the administration.

Two senior administration officials said the administration has no verifiable information to confirm the Turkish government claims that Khashoggi was killed but that the US is seeking answers about his whereabouts -- and talking to senior levels of Saudi government.

In his statement to CNN, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US said Saudi investigators are working with Turkish authorities to determine what happened to Khashoggi.

"Jamal is a Saudi citizen whose safety and security is a top priority for the Kingdom, just as is the case with any other citizen. We will not spare any effort to locate him, just as we would if it were any other Saudi citizen," it said.

The incident has put into sharp focus Saudi Arabia's young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's perceived crackdown on dissidents, his kingdom's delicate relationship with Turkey and Khashoggi 's influence within the royal court.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 491771

Reported Deaths: 33418
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Queens758537290
Kings741147381
Bronx547924985
Nassau490422208
Suffolk483992019
Westchester398901470
New York354593192
Rockland17581683
Richmond169291094
Orange13342505
Erie12705713
Monroe6992300
Dutchess5403163
Onondaga5222207
Albany3516136
Broome326283
Oneida2644128
Ulster245095
Niagara2016101
Putnam178063
Sullivan171448
Schenectady153050
Chemung15103
Saratoga126517
Rensselaer106442
Steuben92957
Chautauqua86813
Columbia66738
Ontario62935
Oswego6074
Tompkins5850
Madison55217
Tioga51230
Cortland4880
Greene48818
Cattaraugus4476
Warren44533
Wayne4085
Herkimer38010
Orleans37954
St. Lawrence3794
Otsego3785
Genesee3775
Fulton36124
Chenango3587
Cayuga3512
Washington32714
Livingston2668
Allegany2641
Montgomery2614
Clinton2325
Jefferson1970
Essex1950
Wyoming1775
Delaware1667
Seneca1393
Schuyler1110
Yates1077
Schoharie1040
Franklin790
Lewis680
Hamilton160
Unassigned021
Utica
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 41°
Oneonta
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Herkimer
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 41°
Thendara
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 41°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Click here to learn more about A Healthier Mohawk Valley
VOTE OCTOBER 22-30
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve
WKTV Golf Card - Under 150 left