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Trump: Khashoggi Report Due in 2 Days  11/18 10:21

   President Donald Trump said Saturday that his administration will release a 
full report in the next two days about the death of a Saudi journalist, which 
has created a diplomatic conundrum for the president: How to admonish Riyadh 
for the killing yet maintain strong ties with a close ally in the Middle East.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump said Saturday that his 
administration will release a full report in the next two days about the death 
of a Saudi journalist, which has created a diplomatic conundrum for the 
president: How to admonish Riyadh for the killing yet maintain strong ties with 
a close ally in the Middle East.

   "We'll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday 
or Tuesday," Trump said. That will include "who did it," he said.

   Reporters asked Trump about the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for 
The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in 
Istanbul. Saudi Arabia's top diplomat has said the crown prince had 
"absolutely" nothing to do with it.

   American intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince ordered 
the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, according to a U.S. official 
familiar with the assessment. The official was not authorized to discuss the 
matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Others familiar with the 
case caution that while it's likely that the crown prince was involved in the 
death, there continue to be questions about what role he played.

   "The United States government is determined to hold all those responsible 
for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi accountable," the State Department said in a 
statement. "Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final 
conclusion are inaccurate. There remain numerous unanswered questions with 
respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi."

   The statement added: "The U.S. government has taken decisive measures 
against the individuals responsible, including visa and sanctions actions. We 
will continue to explore additional measures to hold those accountable who 
planned, led and were connected to the murder. And, we will do that while 
maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and 
Saudi Arabia."

   Intelligence officials have been providing information to Trump about the 
death for weeks and he was briefed again by phone Saturday by CIA Director Gina 
Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as he flew to California. White House 
press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders provided no details of his call but said 
the president has confidence in the CIA.

   Before his call on Air Force One, Trump told reporters that when it came to 
the crown prince, "as of this moment we were told that he did not play a role. 
We're going to have to find out what they have to say." That echoed remarks by 
national security adviser John Bolton, who said earlier this week that people 
who have listened to an audio recording of the killing do not think it 
implicates the crown prince.

   Also before leaving on his trip, Trump said Saudi Arabia was "a truly 
spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development."

   "I have to take a lot of things into consideration" when deciding what 
measures to take against the kingdom, he said.

   Trump has called the killing a botched operation that was carried out very 
poorly and has said "the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history 
of cover-ups."

   But he has resisted calls to cut off arms sales to the kingdom and has been 
reluctant to antagonize the Saudi rulers. Trump considers the Saudis vital 
allies in his Mideast agenda.

   But members of Congress are pushing Trump for a tougher response to the 
killing. The administration this past week penalized 17 Saudi officials for 
their alleged role in the killing, but American lawmakers have called on the 
administration to curtail arms sales to Saudi Arabia or take other harsher 
punitive measures.

   Vice President Mike Pence told reporters traveling with him Saturday for a 
summit of Pacific Rim nations in Papua, New Guinea, that the "murder of Jamal 
Khashoggi was an atrocity. It was also an affront to a free and independent 
press, and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who 
are responsible for that murder."

   Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States, often criticized the 
royal family. Turkish and Saudi authorities say he was killed inside the 
consulate by a team from the kingdom after he went there to get marriage 
documents.


(KA)

 
 
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