Disappearance of Post journalist 'major impediment' to Trump-Saudi relationship, says expert

Foreign policy expert Peter Rough said on Wednesday that the disappearance of Saudi Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi signaled a major impediment to President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE's relationship with Saudi Arabia. 

"He [Trump] has leaned heavily on the Saudis. On the other hand, here is the more pernicious side of the Saudi regime, if these reports are true as they seem to be," Rough, a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"We've already seen close allies of the president like Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite Rubio criticizes reporters, Democrat for racism accusations against McCain MORE come out and say that this would fundamentally change the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia," he continued, referring to the South Carolina Republican senator. 
"Is this going to totally disrupt what is a foundational American relationship in the Middle East? I don't think so, but it's going to be a major impediment in the short run, I think," he said. 
Reports surfaced on Wednesday that a pro-government newspaper in Turkey had identified 15 people it says were members of a Saudi Arabian intelligence team involved in Khashoggi's disappearance. Vice President Pence expressed an openness during a radio interview on Wednesday at sending an FBI team to assist in the matter.
Khashoggi, who has long been critical of the Saudi government, disappeared in Istanbul last week after he entered the Saudi consulate. 
Saudi officials have denied wrongdoing, but Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi was killed. 
Trump has enjoyed a friendly relationship with the Saudi government, reaching a $1 billion arms deal with Riyyad earlier this year. 
The president said on Tuesday that he was "concerned" about the disappearance, while Pence said he was "deeply troubled."

— Julia Manchester