1. ITV Report

Trump ‘not satisfied’ with Saudi explanation over journalist’s death

President Donald Trump stops to talk to members of the media (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP) Photo: AP/Press Association Images

President Donald Trump says he is not satisfied with the explanations he has heard about the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family living in Virginia in the United States, died on October 2 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

People hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Saudi Arabia said Mr Khashoggi was killed in a “fistfight” with officials sent to encourage him to return to the kingdom.

Turkish media and officials say the 59-year-old Washington Post columnist was killed and dismembered by a 15-man Saudi hit squad.

President Trump said he has spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since Mr Khashoggi’s death.

Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, he said: “I am not satisfied with what I’ve heard regarding Khashoggi’s death.”

“We’re going to get to the bottom of it. We have people over in Saudi Arabia now. We have top intelligence people in Turkey. They’re coming back either tonight or tomorrow,”

“We’re going to know a lot over the next two days about the Saudi situation,” said President Trump, who spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday. “It’s a very sad thing.”

President Trump seemed to be taking a tougher stance against Saudi Arabia. When asked on Friday whether he thought the Saudi explanation was credible, the president answered: “I do. I do.”

That statement rankled members of Congress and former government officials who have accused Riyadh of trying to cover up the truth behind Mr Khashoggi’s death or hide any evidence that the kingdom, particularly the crown prince, authorised it.

Sen Rand Paul, who has been trying to coax President Trump into ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, said it is “laughable” to believe the crown prince was not involved in Mr Khashoggi’s death.

President Trump said any US response should not involve scrapping billions of dollars in arms sales, which would hurt US defence industries and eliminate US jobs.

“I don’t want to lose all of that investment that’s being made in our country,” he said.