Trump mum on FBI investigation of Khashoggi killing

President Trump was noncommittal during an interview broadcast Sunday on whether he would order the FBI to investigate the killing of Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

“I think it’s been heavily investigated,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“By who?” host Chuck Todd asked.

“By everybody. I mean –,” Trump responded.

“By the FBI?” Todd pressed.

“I’ve seen so many different reports,” the president replied.

“What about the FBI?” Todd asked.

“Here’s where I am, you ready? Iran’s killed many, many people a day. Other countries in the Middle East, this is a hostile place. This is a vicious, hostile place. If you’re going to look at Saudi Arabia, look at Iran, look at other countries, I won’t mention names, and take a look at what’s happening. And then you go outside of the Middle East, and you take a look at what’s happening with countries. Okay? And I only say they spend $400 to $450 billion over a period of time, all money, all jobs, buying equipment,” Trump said.

{mosads}Trump also implied the journalist’s killing in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul would not affect arms sales to Riyadh.

“I’m not like a fool that says, ‘We don’t want to do business with them.’ And by the way, if they don’t do business with us, you know what they do? They’ll do business with the Russians or with the Chinese. They will buy — We make the best equipment in the world, but they will buy great equipment from Russia and from China,” Trump said.

The comments come shortly after an independent probe into the killing by the United Nations recommended further investigation into Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s connection to it, finding “credible evidence” of a connection to the “deliberate, premeditated execution.”

“No conclusion is made as to guilt,” investigator Agnes Callamard wrote. “The only conclusion made is that there is credible evidence meriting further investigation.”

Last Thursday, the Senate voted to block Trump’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia amid a series of incidents that have drawn increased scrutiny to the country’s human rights record, including Khashoggi’s killing and their involvement in a devastating civil war in Yemen. Trump is expected to veto the resolution.

Trump has previously demurred on condemning or sanctioning the Saudis in connection with the killing, tweeting last year “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” in response to reports that the crown prince ordered the murder.

Tags Chuck Todd Donald Trump

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