Trump asks Turkey for evidence of journalist’s killing
by Harvest Prude
Posted 10/17/18, 02:23 pm
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday asked Turkey to hand over audio and video evidence of the alleged killing of a Saudi journalist, “If it exists.” Turkish officials claim a Saudi intelligence team killed Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and columnist for The Washington Post, on Oct. 2 after he went into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to obtain marriage documents. Officials said they have audio and video recordings of his gruesome torture, death, and dismemberment. Turkish crime scene investigators searched the consulate Monday, saying they found traces of “toxic” materials. They searched the residence of Saudi Consul Mohammed al-Otaibi on Wednesday. Al-Otaibi reportedly left Turkey on Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday in Ankara, Turkey, and said Erdogan assured him the Saudis had “cooperated with the investigation.” The top U.S. diplomat also met Tuesday with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and said the royal family promised “to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing” accountable. Saudi Arabia previously called the allegations “baseless.”
On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that nine members of the 15-person team suspected in the killing are connected with the Saudi government, military, and security. Some of the suspects held high-profile positions in the Saudi regime, including a diplomat who traveled with the crown prince.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in a radio interview that, while any killing is grievous, “an attack on a journalist is an offense to a free and independent press.” Trump previously warned of “severe punishment” if the Saudis were found responsible, but on Tuesday he was cautious in his condemnation of the U.S. ally: “You know, here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that.”
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