Trump calls killing at Saudi consulate 'worst cover-up ever'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Memo: Cohen fans flames around Trump Memo Comey used to brief Trump on dossier released: report MORE on Tuesday ramped up his rhetoric against Saudi Arabia over the death of Jamal Khashoggi, calling the kingdom’s efforts to hide the journalist’s killing the “worst cover-up ever.”

“They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “They had the worst cover-up ever.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejected the Saudis' account of Khashoggi's killing and said the dissident journalist was murdered in a preplanned operation directed by top Saudi officials.

“Whoever thought of that idea I think is in big trouble and they should be in big trouble,” Trump said, referring to the possible plot to kill Khashoggi.

“Nobody likes what happened,” Trump said of the reaction he's heard from foreign leaders he's spoken with.

At the same time, Trump continued to offer opposition to the idea of ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He said the U.S. would just be "hurting ourselves" if it turned away from Saudi Arabia and did not go forward with arms sales to the country.
 
He said he would defer to Congress, at least to an extent, on the next steps. 
 
Lawmakers from both parties have expressed support for sanctions on Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi's death.
 
“In terms of what we ultimately do, I’m going to leave it very much — in conjunction with me — I’m going to leave it up to Congress,” Trump said, adding he hopes a decision will be bipartisan.