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: Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing finance plan | Dems jump into Trump turf war over student loans | House passes bill targeting anonymous shell companies Two new Trump executive orders will shape up Treasury and hold bureaucracy accountable Trump has floated Mnuchin, Conway for White House chief of staff: report 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 PompeoTrump hotel cancels Christian aid group's event to support the Kurds: report Pence on Syria: 'Our troops are coming home' House calls on Russia to release Paul Whelan or else provide evidence of wrongdoing MORE's meeting with Saudi and Turkish officials.


"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.


Google, Uber and the head of the International Monetary Fund are among those who have withdrawn from the event in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance.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 RubioHouse passes bill taking aim at anonymous shell companies Turkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours 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 FlakeVulnerable senators hold the key to Trump's fate Trump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong How to survive an impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungPaul blocks vote on House-passed Syria resolution for second time Turkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Paul blocks Senate vote on House-passed Syria resolution 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 TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' 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.