Trump to speak with CIA about Khashoggi's murder

Trump to speak with CIA about Khashoggi's murder
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE said Saturday he would be briefed by the CIA over its reported assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month.

“We haven’t been briefed yet. The CIA will be speaking to me today," Trump told reporters on the South Lawn before leaving the White House for a trip to California in the wake of wildfires there.

“As of this moment, we were told that he did not play a role, we’re gonna have to find out what they say," Trump added.


Vice President Pence said earlier Saturday that he couldn't "comment on classified information" but vowed to hold those responsible for the murder of Khashoggi accountable, calling his death an "atrocity."

“It was also an affront to a free and independent press and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder,” Pence told reporters while traveling in Papua New Guinea for events surrounding an Asia-Pacific summit.

Saudi Arabia has denied that the crown prince ordered the operation to kill Khashoggi inside the country's consulate in Istanbul last month.

Khashoggi, who was a columnist for The Washington Post, disappeared after entering the consulate on Oct. 2 to obtain documents for his marriage to a Turkish woman.

The Saudi government for weeks offered conflicting explanations for his disappearance before acknowledging that he was killed inside the consulate.

Multiple reports on Friday indicated that the CIA has concluded with high confidence that the crown prince was involved in ordering the killing, something that contradicts what the Saudi government has maintained.

Trump has been reluctant to offer severe punishments for Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's murder, including refusing to cancel arms sales to the kingdom valued at billions of dollars.

The president told reporters on Saturday that Saudi Arabia remains a "spectacular ally" in terms of jobs and economic development and indicated that he would also speak with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials over 'intimidation' tactics Israel's new Gulf relations give Biden's team a new Middle East hub Pompeo knocks Turkey in NATO speech: report MORE.

CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed Trump after returning to the U.S. from a trip to Turkey last month in the wake of the journalist's death.

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said this week that it would seek the death penalty for five suspects allegedly involved in the killing.