President Donald Trump has warned “there will be severe punishment” if investigations conclude Saudi Arabia is responsible for the disappearance and possible death of journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.
The Saudi reporter and columnist for The Washington Post has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month. He was a known critic of Saudi policies, and Turkish authorities claim he was killed inside the building.
“There’s a lot at stake, there’s a lot at stake and maybe especially so because this man was a reporter,” Trump told “60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl in a preview clip released Saturday ahead of their interview’s full broadcast on CBS Sunday.
Check out the clip here:
"There will be severe punishment." In his first 60 Minutes interview since taking office, President Trump tells Lesley Stahl that if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death, there will be consequences. https://t.co/BRZfIPHbNY pic.twitter.com/s6X98AylBR
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 13, 2018
“You’ll be surprised to hear me say that there’s something really terrible and disgusting about that if [Saudi involvement] were the case,” added Trump, who in the U.S. has repeatedly described CNN as “fake news” and journalists as the “enemy of the people.”
“We’re going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment,” he added.
Trump said “nobody knows yet” if Khashoggi was murdered on the instruction of Saudi authorities, adding that the incident was “being investigated” and “being looked at very, very strongly.”
“As of this moment, they deny it, and they deny it vehemently,” he said. “Could it be them? Yes.”
Trump refused to reveal whether he would impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia if its involvement was confirmed, and he said he was reluctant to cease arms sales between the U.S. and the country because it could hurt American jobs.
“There are other ways of punishing, to use a word that’s a pretty harsh word, but it’s true,” he told Stahl.
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