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 Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again 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 Pompeo2 US service members killed in Afghanistan after Pompeo visit The Hill's Morning Report - Democratic debates: Miami nice or spice? State Department need not be at odds with itself on Republic of Cyprus policy 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 KavanaughSupreme Court declines to overturn doctrine on regulatory clarity Gorsuch joins liberal justices in ruling against federal criminal statute Susan Collins: Trump's 'she's not my type' defense is 'extremely bizarre' MORE, who was accused of sexual assault during his confirmation process.