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.

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 TrumpDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Lady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity 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 MnuchinOn The Money: Trump teases 'major announcement' Saturday on shutdown | Fight with Dems intensifies | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking trip to Afghanistan | Mnuchin refuses to testify on shutdown impacts The case for Russia sanctions Treasury issues final rules on key part of Trump's tax law 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 FlakeSchumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least 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 PompeoPompeo: US 'absolutely not' getting out of the Middle East Pompeo taking meeting about running for Kansas Senate seat: report Ex-US envoy in ISIS fight: 'There's no plan for what's coming' after US troop withdrawal in Syria 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.