© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A human rights activist holds picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said in a CBS interview on Saturday that there would be "severe punishment" for Saudi Arabia if it turns out that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Trump said he did not want to block military sales to Saudi Arabia, one option that has rattled U.S. defense contractors, saying, "I don't want to hurt jobs."
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Riyadh and a U.S. resident who wrote columns for the Washington Post, disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the consulate.
"We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment," Trump said.
Asked whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave an order to kill Khashoggi, Trump said, "Nobody knows yet, but we'll probably be able to find out." Trump added in excerpts of the "60 Minutes" interview that will air on Sunday, "We would be very upset and angry if that were the case."
Trump said there was much at stake with Khashoggi case, "maybe especially so" because he was a reporter.
Major U.S. defense contractors have expressed concern to the Trump administration that lawmakers angered by Khashoggi's disappearance will block further arms deals with Riyadh.
But Trump said he did not want to lose military sales to Saudi Arabia that are coveted by U.S. competitors Russia and China, also exporters of military equipment.
"I don't want to lose an order like that," he said, mentioning the companies Boeing (NYSE:), Lockheed and Raytheon. "And you know what, there are other ways of punishing," he said, without elaborating.
Turkish sources have told Reuters the initial assessment of the police was that Khashoggi was deliberately killed inside the consulate.
Riyadh has dismissed the claims.
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.
Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.