Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference

Mnuchin to decide by Thursday whether to attend Saudi conference
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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Taxpayers slow to file as they grapple with tax law | Schiff says Dems to charge ahead with Trump probes | Feds charge Avenatti with trying to extort Nike | Yellen sees no recession in sight House Oversight Dem wants Trump to release taxes and 'get it over with' Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week MORE told reporters Wednesday that he intends to decide by Thursday whether to attend an economic summit in Saudi Arabia.

Mnuchin said at a Treasury press event that he still plans to attend the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh next week, but is waiting to hear the results of Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Dems look for traction following Barr-Mueller findings Ilhan Omar tells Muslim group to 'raise hell' over discrimination Seven questions AIPAC attendees should ask of Democratic presidential wannabes MORE's meeting with Saudi and Turkish officials.

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"We're going to revisit the decision again tomorrow," Mnuchin said, according to a CNN report. "So for now we are. We're going to make a decision tomorrow based on Secretary Pompeo's report." 

Mnuchin's decision is in the spotlight as the Trump administration faces pressure to deliver a tougher response to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Published reports on Wednesday said audio exists of Khashoggi being killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Instanbul.

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Google, Uber and the head of the International Monetary Fund are among those who have withdrawn from the event in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance.

Mnuchin has faced growing calls from lawmakers to drop out of the conference, known as "Davos in the Desert," as officials investigate what happened to Khashoggi. 

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate GOP proposes constitutional amendment to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats McConnell blocks resolution calling for Mueller report to be released publicly Trump UN pick donated to GOP members on Senate Foreign Relations panel MORE (R-Fla.) said Sunday that the U.S. can't conduct "business as usual" in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance, and said Mnuchin should not go to Riyadh.

Since then, Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (R-Ariz.), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungSenate GOP proposes constitutional amendment to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats Trump UN pick donated to GOP members on Senate Foreign Relations panel Overnight Defense: Senate breaks with Trump on Yemen war | Shanahan hit with ethics complaint over Boeing ties | Pentagon rolls out order to implement transgender ban | Dem chair throws cold water on Space Force budget MORE (R-Ind.) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) have each said Mnuchin should drop out of the event. Multiple Democrats have said the same.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos claims he was pressured to sign plea deal Tlaib asking colleagues to support impeachment investigation resolution Trump rips 'Mainstream Media': 'They truly are the Enemy of the People' MORE said in an interview Tuesday that Mnuchin doesn't need to decide until Friday.

"It depends on what we find out over the next couple of days," Trump told The Associated Press.

Pompeo met on Tuesday and Wednesday with leaders from Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He offered few details on the investigation into Khashoggi's status, and said the Saudis need time to conduct a thorough review of the incident.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who spoke critically of Saudi leadership, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. 

President Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. has requested audio and video from Turkey related to Khashoggi's disappearance.

Saudi leadership has said it does not know what happened to Khashoggi, denials Trump has repeatedly highlighted even as lawmakers indicate it's likely the journalist was murdered.