President Donald Trump promises “severe punishment” for the culprit behind the disappearance of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a newly released clip of his upcoming interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes with correspondent Lesley Stahl.
When asked what was at stake in the disappearance of Khashoggi, who contributed to The Washington Post and was considered a dissident to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, Trump responded, “There’s a lot at stake, maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. There’s something — you’ll be surprised to hear me say that, [but] there’s something really terrible and disgusting about that, so we will see. We’re going to get to the bottom of that and there will be severe punishment.”
Trump has previously been friendly with bin Salman, but earlier on Wednesday he said he was “not happy” about the Khashoggi disappearance.
Earlier in the interview, Stahl asked the president who was behind the disappearance. “Nobody knows yet, but we’ll probably be able to find out. It’s being investigated, it’s being looked at very, very strongly, and we would be very upset and angry if that were the case. As of this moment, they deny it, and they deny it vehemently. Could it be them? Yes.”
Stahl then asked what the Crown Prince said when Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and national security advisor John Bolton called the country’s heir apparent on Tuesday. “They deny it,” Trump said. “They deny it in every way you can imagine. In the not-too-distant future I think we’ll know an answer.”
When considering punishments if Saudi Arabia were found culpable, Trump was hesitant to suggest sanctions. “It depends on the sanctions,” he said. “Let’s give an example: We are ordering military equipment. Everybody in the world wanted it; Russia wanted it, China wanted it, we wanted it, we got it, and we got all of it, we got every bit of it.”
“So would you cut that off, or take…” Stahl asked.
“Well, I tell you what I don’t want to do: Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all these companies, I don’t want to hurt jobs, I don’t want to lose an order like that. And you know, there are other ways of punishing, to use a word that’s a pretty harsh word, but it’s true,” Trump replied.
Since outcry has grown louder over Khashoggi’s disappearance in the past week, media giants including Viacom, CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC have joined other major companies in pulling out of the Oct. 23-25 Future Investment Initiative, which has been called the “Davos of the Middle East.”