United States President Donald Trump calls Saudi response to Khashoggi death ‘the worst cover-up ever’

Donald Trump
When asked about the the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia going forward, President Donald Trump said he will leave it up to Congress to decide how they want to respond to the killing. | Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

“They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover up was the worst in the history of cover-ups, very simple,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “They had the worst cover-up ever. Where it should have stopped is at the deal standpoint, when they thought about it. Because whoever thought of that idea, I think is in big trouble. And they should be in big trouble.”

Saudi Arabia has said that Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation gone wrong in their consulate in Turkey, where the journalist was last seen. The new statement was at odds with the Saudi government’s initial story, which was that Khashoggi had left the consulate through a back entrance alive and well.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said that Khashoggi’s killing had been planned several days in advance.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist living in exile in the U.S., was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the royal family. The crown prince, along with King Salman, have denied planning Khashoggi’s death and claim to have not known anything about it until days later.

When asked about the the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia going forward, Trump said he will leave it up to Congress to decide how they want to respond to the death.

“Congress has some very strong ideas, both ways. I’ve been told by certain senators, we want that investment to keep coming,” he said. “At the same time, that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to do something. There has to be some kind of retribution. There has to be, no matter what you do.”

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