DONALD TRUMP has said he wants to talk to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman he takes the “next steps” in his response to the news of Saudi Arabia’s explanation of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The US commander-in-chief conceded the Saudi prosecutor’s version of events - that Mr Khashoggi had been murdered after a ‘fist fight’ fracas in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul - were credible.
Asked if he believed the assertions made earlier today, he said: “I do, I do.”
Trump also said Saudi Arabia’s announcement of arrests after the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a “good first step,” and what happened was “unacceptable”.
He disclosed he would work with Congress to orchestrate an appropriate US response.
But he said he did not want to hurt American companies and jobs by cutting billions of dollars in arms sales to the kingdom.
The President instead insisted he’d prefer “some form of sanction” on Saudi Arabia after the journalist’s death.
He said the death of Mr Khashoggi was a “horrible event” that has not gone “unnoticed.”
Trump made the remarks during a defence roundtable at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, where he was holding a political rally.
But Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump supporter, expressed scepticism about the Saudi Arabian version of events that Mr Khashoggi - a critic of the royal family - died during a “fist fight” in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The Republican Graham tweeted: “To say that I am sceptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr Khashoggi is an understatement.”
Mr Khashoggi - who was a Washington Post columnist - was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on October 2.