Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi disappearance

Mnuchin to attend anti-terror meeting in Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi disappearance
© Greg Nash

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWhite House officials, Giuliani come to Trump's defense on Ukraine allegations Mnuchin on Trump's call with Ukraine president: 'Things are being implied that just don't exist' Overnight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea's Kim as 'best thing' for US MORE says he will still attend an upcoming anti-terrorism conference in Saudi Arabia after announcing Thursday he would withdraw from an unrelated investment conference in the country later this month.

Three people familiar with the Cabinet official's plans told The Washington Post Mnuchin still plans to attend the gathering of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center in the country's capital of Riyadh later this month despite participation in the event by Saudi security forces under suspicion of carrying out the possible murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist.

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The news of Mnuchin's travel plans comes a day after the Treasury secretary tweeted that he would not attend Riyadh's Future Investment Initiative later in October amid concerns about Saudi Arabia's involvement in Khashoggi's possible murder.

The columnist was last seen entering a Saudi Consulate in Turkey weeks ago, and Turkish investigators have implicated forces close to the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his death.

“Just met with @realDonaldTrump and @SecPompeo and we have decided, I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia,” Mnuchin tweeted Thursday morning.

Several GOP senators, including Arizona Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  MORE, had urged Mnuchin to withdraw completely from upcoming conferences in Saudi Arabia over the scandal.

"Secretary Mnuchin should not be going to Riyadh," Flake wrote on Tuesday.

Khashoggi's disappearance has turned into an international PR disaster for the Saudi government, which has watched finance ministers from several European nations and now the U.S. withdraw from the conference often referred to as "Davos in the desert."

Saudi Arabia has so far publicly denied involvement in the journalist's disappearance, but is reportedly planning to blame a top official for the alleged murder.