Donald Trump rules out punishing Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi's killing

President Donald Trump Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

Donald Trump has said the US will not levy additional punitive measures at this time against Saudi Arabia over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

The US president said in a statement that the US does not condone the killing of the US-based Saudi columnist, but that "foolishly" cancelling $110 billion in arms sales, as some in Congress have suggested, would only mean that Saudi Arabia would go to other countries to acquire them.

Trump said the king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia "vigorously deny" any knowledge of the planning and carrying out of the October 2 murder of The Washington Post columnist at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

He said: "It could well be that the crown prince had knowledge."

Trump said: "Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t."

Candles lit by activists, protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, are placed outside Saudi Arabia's consulate, in Istanbul. Credit: AP

"Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!" Trump added.

"That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran."

President Trump said the United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of the United States. "America First!" he wrote.