Trump Suggests “Rogue Killers” May Have Been Behind Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance

“Who knows?”

On Monday, President Donald Trump appeared one step closer to accepting the denials of the Saudi Arabian government that it was behind the disappearance and alleged killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, suggesting that “rogue killers” may instead be responsible.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump said that during a phone conversation Monday morning, King Salman, the Saudi monarch, had repeatedly denied having any information about Khashoggi’s disappearance. “I asked and he firmly denied that,” Trump said. He continued, “The king firmly denied any knowledge of it. He didn’t really know, maybe—I don’t want to get into his mind—but it sounded to me like it could have been rogue killers, who knows?”

Trump also expressly stated that Khashoggi, who fled the kingdom for the US out of fear of political retribution, was, in fact, a Saudi Arabian citizen. Last week, the president appeared to openly question whether Khashoggi was a US citizen, implying that if he wasn’t, his disappearance was perhaps not the US’s issue.

Trump’s striking defense of the Saudi Arabian government comes as Turkish officials concluded that at the direction of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabian agents on October 2 lured Khashoogi to the the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and subsequently killed him.

Despite his apparent willingness to accept the Saudi Arabian government’s word, Trump told reporters that he was sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the Saudi King and discuss the growing diplomatic crisis.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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