The Slatest

Trump Says “Rogue Killers” May Have Gotten Into Saudi Consulate to Murder Dissident at Meeting With Saudi Officials

Trump, Sisi, and King Salman place their hands on an orb.
Donald and Melania Trump with Saudi King Salman (second from left), Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and an illuminated globe meant to represent the worldwide battle against extremism in Riyadh on May 21, 2017.
Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Royal Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Some interesting Monday morning thoughts from our president about the apparent Oct. 2 murder of Washington Post columnist and dissident Saudi citizen Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul:

“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 maybe these could have been rogue killers.” (That would be King Salman, who’s largely designated power to his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.)

Khashoggi had an Oct. 2 appointment at the Saudi consulate—which is sovereign Saudi territory—to pick up a document. He was recorded on video arriving at his appointment but hasn’t been seen since. Meanwhile, Turkish authorities have released what they say is evidence that a number of Saudi intelligence and military operatives arrived in Istanbul on Oct. 2, were seen at the consulate and the Saudi consul’s residence at the same time Khashoggi was in the area, and then quickly left the country.

So it could have been the Saudis, or it could have been an independently operating team of murderers who knew where Khashoggi was going to be that day and were able to find him and kill him inside what were presumably secure Saudi government buildings.

Saudi Arabia, incidentally, has been involved in multiple investment and lobbying deals that were financially beneficial to individuals close to Trump.

The Saudis, on their end, released a summary of Trump and King Salman’s call that says Trump praised “the keenness of the Kingdom’s leadership to clarify all relevant facts” about Khashoggi’s disappearance.