Trump: US requesting audio, video on missing Saudi journalist

Trump: US requesting audio, video on missing Saudi journalist
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE on Wednesday said the U.S. has requested audio and video from Turkey related to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

"We have asked for it, if it exists," Trump said in the Oval Office, later conceding it "probably does."

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Trump said he expected to get a "full report" from Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs Hill, Holmes offer damaging impeachment testimony: Five takeaways Graham requests State Department documents on Bidens, Ukraine MORE when he returns to the U.S. from meetings with Saudi and Turkish officials.

"I want to find out what happened, where is the fault, and we will probably know that by the end of the week," Trump said.  

The president spoke as grisly details emerged about the Saudis' alleged interrogation of Khashoggi inside their consulate in Istanbul that led to the dissident journalist's apparent death. 

Citing a Turkish official, The New York Times reported Wednesday that Khashoggi's fingers were severed before he was beheaded and his body dismembered. The account is based off an audio recording of the alleged killing that is in Turkish hands.

The new details could raise pressure on the U.S. to confront Saudi Arabia over the fate of Khashoggi, who has not been seen since entering the consulate on Oct. 2. 

Trump again denied he is providing cover to Saudi Arabia, one of the United States' closest partners in the Middle East, in the Khashoggi case. 

"No not at all, I just want to find out what’s happening," he said. 

Asked why he hasn't directed the FBI to investigate, Trump noted that the journalist "wasn't a citizen of this country" and suggested he wouldn't tell the public even if he did order an FBI probe.

"Maybe we have," he said. "Why should I tell you?” 

Trump has previously repeated Saudi denials of knowledge about Khashoggi's fate and expressed a reluctance to punish the kingdom by canceling or suspending a multibillion arms agreement. 

He also criticized the global outcry against Saudi Arabia over the incident, calling it another example of "guilty until proven innocent" and likening it to the backlash against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughIn private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book GOP senator compares impeachment inquiry to Kavanaugh confirmation Christine Blasey Ford receives ACLU courage award MORE, who was accused of sexual assault during his confirmation process.