IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East

IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East
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International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde is postponing her trip to the Middle East amid a growing controversy over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The Managing Director’s previously scheduled trip to the Middle East region is being deferred,” an IMF spokesperson said in a statement.

Lagarde was slated to appear at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a high-profile conference known as "Davos in the Desert." Other influential figures expected to attend, including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and journalists like CNBC's Aaron Ross Sorkin have all pulled out from the event in recent days, sparked by growing questions over Khashoggi's fate.

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A U.S.-based Saudi journalist and frequent contributor to The Washington Post, Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. Turkish officials have said he was killed and dismembered inside the building, though these allegations have not been confirmed.

The reports of Khashoggi's alleged killing have sparked an international diplomatic crisis and led to calls on both sides of the political aisle in the U.S. for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE to take action. But the president has been resistant to the pressure, calling the rush to blame Saudi Arabia another case of "guilty until proven innocent."

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSecurity for Trump's Mar-a-Lago visits cost local taxpayers million On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico | Senate Dems launch probe into Trump tax law regulations | Trump announces Fed nominees Senate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations MORE is among those slated to appear at the Riyadh conference and, as of Tuesday evening, is still expected to attend. Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs' GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials The 5 most vulnerable senators in 2020 MORE (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday called for him to withdraw. 

Trump on Tuesday said he had spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who reportedly denied any knowledge of the journalist's disappearance. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoCountries reach agreement in Berlin on Libya cease-fire push, arms embargo Trump Jr.: If 'weaker' Republicans only call for certain witnesses, 'they don't deserve to be in office' House Democrats may call new impeachment witnesses if Senate doesn't MORE met with Salman on Tuesday, issuing a statement afterward in which he said he believed the Saudis had a "serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability" for Khashoggi's disappearance.