President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE said Monday he believes the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was the result of a "plot gone awry," and that he opposes ending weapons sales to Riyadh as a result.
Trump, who made the comments during an interview with USA Today while aboard Air Force One, said he didn't think the Saudis intentionally lured Khashoggi to the consulate in Istanbul in order to murder him.
Trump told the paper that there are “many other” possible forms of punishment the U.S. can bring against the kingdom as opposed to halting weapons deals.
The president added that he would be "very upset" if it's proven that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the killing of Khashoggi.
“He says he is not involved nor is the king,” Trump said, but didn't indicate if he believed the claims.
Khashoggi, a Virginia-based columnist for The Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
The Saudi government said Friday that the dissident journalist was killed during a "brawl," which prompted skepticism from much of the international community and U.S. lawmakers.
Turkish officials have said they have evidence Khashoggi was tortured, dismembered and murdered inside the consulate.
Trump said Monday that he is "not satisfied" with the Saudi explanation for Khashoggi's death after initially saying last week that he found the explanation to be credible.
He told The Washington Post in an interview over the weekend that the Saudis' "stories are all over the place" and said "there’s been deception and there’s been lies."