During an interview set to air this Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes, Donald Trump told Lesley Stahl that there will be "severe punishment" for the Saudis if it's confirmed that they killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate last week.
President Donald Trump said in an interview with 60 Minutes that the Saudis could be behind the disappearance of missing journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, and if so, the U.S. would inflict "severe punishment." In a clip broadcast on "CBS This Morning," Mr. Trump said there is a lot at stake "and maybe especially so because this man was a reporter."
The interview is his first with 60 Minutes since his post-election conversation with Lesley Stahl in November 2016. It will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, Oct. 14, at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. PT on CBS.
Mr. Trump said the Saudis denied "in every way you can imagine" having anything to do with Khashoggi's disappearance when his son-in-law Jared Kushner spoke with Saudi Arabia's crown prince. But Mr. Trump said the country may still be responsible and an investigation is ongoing. "Could it be them? Yes," the president said.
When asked what kind of punishments he may pursue if Saudi Arabia is found to be behind the disappearance, Mr. Trump wouldn't commit to sanctions or cutting sales of military equipment to Saudi from American companies.
"I'll tell you what I don't want to do," Mr. Trump said, "I don't want to hurt jobs. I don't want to lose an order like that. And you know what, there are other ways of punishing."
"There's a lot at stake," Mr. Trump continued. "And, maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. There's something, you'll be surprised to hear me say that, there's something really terrible and disgusting about that if that was the case."
As former Obama administration State Department senior advisor Nayyera Haq discussed on MSNBC's AM Joy this Saturday, don't expect anything to be resolved with this murder with "crown princes" Kushner and bin Salman covering it up:
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Reports have indicated that the Saudi government sent a hit squad of assassins to murder Khashoggi inside their consulate in Turkey and that President Donald Trump may have learned about the plot within 5 minutes. It has also been reported they made a proof of death tape.
“Our foreign policy is being run by a man who values close political and business ties over anything that has to do with real national security interests,” Haq explained to host Joy Reid. “He has business interests in Riyadh, the capital, and Jeddah, about his hotels which pre-date him becoming president, part of why he went there as his first trip.”
“The Saudis realized very early on all they had to do was just flatter and court him — again, this a common theme of people that Trump decides to play nice with,” she continued. “And in return, what they’ve gotten is a relationship between two crown princes … Mohammed bin Salman on the one side and Jared Kushner on the other.” [...]
“It’s not standard practice for anybody in the administration to have high-level phone calls on hot button crises issues and not have those read out to the press,” the former White House staffer reminded.
“The fact that Jared Kushner is leading this shows that the Trump administration is far more concerned about maintaining it’s personal relationship with Saudi Arabia than any security interest in the United States,” she concluded.
I'm sure Trump will get right to the bottom of this just like he did that Russian election interference.