The Latest: Blunt: 'Smoking gun' against prince would help

8 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago Sunday, November 18 2018 Nov 18, 2018 Sunday, November 18, 2018 4:59:00 PM CST November 18, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (all times local):

10:55 a.m.

A Republican member of the Senate intelligence committee says it looks like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL' khahr-SHOHK'-jee). But he adds that a "smoking gun" would help before the U.S. issues sanctions against the prince.

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told ABC "it's hard to imagine" that Crown Prince Mohammed didn't know about the killing, but he said, "I don't know that we absolutely know that yet."

Blunt has received a confidential intelligence briefing on the situation.

He says Congress will await the Trump administration's report in the next two days. He says the U.S. will need to be clear about the ramifications of sanctions, given Saudi Arabia's strategic role in the Middle East.

___

10:10 am.

President Donald Trump says the crown prince of U.S. ally Saudi Arabia has told him directly that he had nothing to do with the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but Trump says he wonders "will anybody really know."

A U.S. official has said American intelligence agencies have concluded that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October. The Saudi government denies the claim.

The Trump administration this past week penalized 17 Saudi officials for their alleged role in the killing.

Trump was asked during a "Fox News Sunday" interview whether the crown prince had lied to him. Trump said: "I don't know. You know, who could really know, but I can say this, he's got many people now that say he had no knowledge."

The president also said: "Will anybody really know?"

___

9:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump says there's "no reason" for him to listen to an audio recording of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL' khahr-SHOHK'-jee) at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Trump confirms the U.S. has the recording, which was provided by Turkey. But he tells "Fox News Sunday" that "I don't want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape."

When asked why, Trump calls it "a suffering tape" and says he knows "everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it."

The president says that what happened to Khashoggi at the consulate Oct. 2 was "very violent, very vicious and terrible."

A U.S. official says American intelligence agencies have concluded that the Saudi crown prince ordered the killing. The Saudi government denies that.

___

1:30 a.m.

The death of a Saudi journalist is the subject of an upcoming government report, and that's presenting President Donald Trump with a diplomatic dilemma.

Trump faces the challenge of admonishing the Saudi government in the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi while maintaining strong ties with a Middle East ally.

Trump told reporters Saturday that his administration will get "a very full report," including who was responsible for Khashoggi's death, on Monday or Tuesday.

A U.S. official says U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey. Others familiar with the case say questions remain about what role he played.

Saudi officials deny the crown prince was involved.

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