House Democrats to investigate Trump's response to Khashoggi murder

The president pointed out Saudi Arabia's royal family has vehemently denied any involvement in the murder of Khashoggi, saying he trusts their defense.

Starting with saying, "the world is a very unsafe place", U.S. President Donald Trump released an official statement this week on why the White House is standing with Saudi Arabia after veteran Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Asked who should be accountable for the murder, Trump said: "Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place".

Trump's backing of Saudi Arabia, his key ally against Iran, comes despite global outrage over the grisly October 2 killing that has tarnished the image of both the kingdom and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi journalist, a former court insider turned critic of Prince Mohammed, was killed and dismembered in what the kingdom said was a "rogue" operation.

"Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!"

Another prominent Republican, Senator Rand Paul, added "Let's put America first, not Saudi Arabia", while Khashoggi's old employer the Post said in an editorial that Trump's position meant "a world where dictators know they can murder their critics and suffer no consequences".

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Wednesday he was "astounded" by Mr Trump's statement and likened it to a press release for Saudi Arabia. "They said he might have done it".

Prince Mohammed was received in the UAE by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed late on Thursday.

Attiah also described reports that Trump intends to meet with MBS during the summit as "disgraceful". "Yet the same time I say it, it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remains stable".

Khashoggi, a Saudi national, United States resident and Washington Post columnist, went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The committee will investigate the U.S. intelligence assessment of Khashoggi's death as well as the war in Yemen, the stability of the Saudi royal family and the kingdom's treatment of critics and the press, the California representative Adam Schiff told the Washington Post.

Turkey insists the murder was premeditated, sharing evidence with Riyadh as well as with the USA and Western allies but stops short of pointing the finger of blame at the prince.

After lengthy denials, Saudi authorities admitted responsibility and said 21 people had been taken into custody. "We should not distance ourselves from human values", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN Turk, a CNN affiliate.

USA president Donald Trump has turned a blind eye to the Saudi regime's human rights violations, saying Washington can not abandon Saudi Arabia.

The US has sanctioned 17 Saudis after the journalist's killing.

  • Joey Payne