President Trump said he plans to call Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump spoke on Saturday during an appearance in the Oval Office with Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was recently released by the Turkish government.
“I will be calling King Salman of Saudi Arabia, because I think it is appropriate to ask him what is going on,” Trump said.
He added that he would call Salman either “tonight or tomorrow.”
Trump said in an excerpt from a "60 Minutes" interview expected to air on Sunday that there will be a “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia is behind the disappearance of Khashoggi, a journalist who wrote for the Washington Post and was a frequent critic of the Saudi government.
Khashoggi was last seen going into the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Turkish officials have said that Khashoggi was killed by a Saudi “hit team” as soon as he entered the consulate.
Trump said that he has not heard of the purported audio of Khashoggi’s death.
“We do want to see it,” he said of the recording.
But Trump again hedged against canceling an arms deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia if it turns out the government was behind Khashoggi’s death.
Trump said Saturday that the equipment deal with Saudi Arabia means 450,000 jobs.
"If they don't buy it from us, they are going to buy it from Russia, or they will buy it from China, or they are going to buy it from other countries," he said.
Because of the jobs and economic development involved, he said he wants to look at other steps the U.S. could take.
"I actually think we would be punishing ourselves if we did that. There are other things we could do that are powerful and strong and we will do it," he said.