Pompeo: US is giving Saudi Arabia a 'few more days' to complete Khashoggi investigation

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he told President Donald Trump to give Saudi Arabia "a few more days to complete" an investigation into the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • Pompeo says that Saudi officials told him during a visit to the kingdom this week that "they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding Mr. Khashoggi, and that they will do so in a timely fashion."
  • Minutes after Pompeo spoke to reporters, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuhin announced in a tweet that he would rescind his attendance at the Future Investment Initiative summit scheduled to start next week in Riyadh.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks after his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, October 18, 2018. 
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks after his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, October 18, 2018. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday he told President Donald Trump to give Saudi Arabia "a few more days to complete" an investigation into the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo said that Saudi officials told him during a visit to the kingdom this week that "they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding Mr. Khashoggi, and that they will do so in a timely fashion."

Minutes after Pompeo spoke to reporters, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuhin announced in a tweet that he had also met with Trump and Pompeo in the White House. They decided during that meeting that Mnuchin would rescind his attendance at the Future Investment Initiative summit scheduled to start next week in Riyadh, the secretary said.

Numerous other media outlets, including CNBC, have also dropped out of the conference.

Pompeo's remarks came just after the meeting, in which the Trump administration's top diplomat briefed the president on his overseas trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey as tensions continue to rise over unanswered questions surrounding Khashoggi.

A Saudi journalist and critic of the kingdom's royal family, Khashoggi entered a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 2 and has not been seen since. Turkish officials have told news outlets that Khashoggi was murdered by a Saudi-backed hit team inside the consulate, but Saudi Arabia insists Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he arrived.

U.S. lawmakers of both parties have criticized Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance. A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to Trump last week triggering a statute that requires the administration to investigate the incident.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Thursday morning, Pompeo said the U.S. wants to "allow the process to play out."

Trump, in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, said he did not like how the process was playing out as a case of "you're guilty until proven innocent." Trump compared the treatment of Saudi Arabia to allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process.

"I will say they were very strong in their denial about themselves knowing," Trump added during that interview.

The president announced in a tweet Monday that he was sending Pompeo to speak with Saudi Arabia's King Salman. On that trip, Pompeo also flew to Ankara, the capitol of Turkey, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the missing journalist.

In his remarks Thursday, Pompeo also said it was important to be mindful of the United States' "long strategic relationship" with the Saudi kingdom.

Trump previously batted away questions about his financial ties to Saudi Arabia, saying in a tweet Tuesday that he has "no financial interests in" the kingdom.