President Trump called the criticism of Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of a journalist premature. The president likened the rush to judgement to the criticism received by Judge Brett Kavanaugh as he went through the confirmation process to the Supreme Court.
“I think we have to find out what happened first. 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.”
President Trump made the comments during an interview in the Oval Office with The Associated Press.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2. He went there to obtain paperwork which would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancée. He has not been seen since.
Turkish authorities believe Khashoggi was tortured and killed. Khashoggi was an outspoken critic of the Saudi Royal Family. He was a Saudi citizen but a resident of the United States. He contributed to The Washington Post.
Khashoggi’s disappearance has become an international incident with governments all over the world calling on the Saudis to explain the disappearance. “We expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote in a joint statement.
The Saudi government has agreed to work with Turkish officials on Khashoggi’s case. A development welcomed by President Trump.
“Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian citizen.” He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!” the President tweeted yesterday.
It is an open question whether U.S. officials are still attending a prominent investment conference being held in Saudi Arabia next week. President Trump said that as of now Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin is still attending but that those plans may change.
“I think we’ll also be guided by what other countries are doing,” President Trump said.
The joint Saudi-Turkish investigation is expected to conclude in a week.
Photo by POMED via Flickr