US President Donald Trump cautioned against the rush to blame Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
He told the AP news agency that Riyadh was being treated as “guilty until proven innocent”.
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned,” Trump said.
President Trump also said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman had denied knowing what happened to Mr. Khashoggi.
Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate. He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, reached Turkey to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkish officials allege they have video and audio evidence that proves Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and murdered by a 15-man hit squad sent from Riyadh. Saudi Arabia said that the claims are false, although it has offered no alternative version of events.
“It took seven minutes for Jamal Khashoggi to die,” a Turkish source who listened in full to an audio recording of the Saudi journalist’s last moments told Middle East Eye.
Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the crown prince, relocated from Saudi Arabia to the US last year, where he wrote for the Washington Post. He visited the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul on 2 October for an appointment to pick up documents for his forthcoming marriage.