Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday morning that President Trump will wait to make a decision about Saudi Arabia until after the kingdom has completed its own investigation into the disappearance of Saudi dissident and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.
"I had a chance to brief the president on the travels that I returned from last evening where I traveled both to Saudi Arabia and Turkey. I had a chance to talk with in Riyadh with the king, with the crown prince, foreign minister. All of the United States counterparts there," Pompeo told reporters outside the White House on Thursday.
"We made clear to them that we take this matter with respect to Mr. Khashoggi very seriously. They made clear to me they, too, understand the serious nature of the disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi," Pompeo continued. "They also assured me that they will conduct a complete, thorough investigation of all of the facts surrounding Mr. Khashoggi and that they'll do it in a timely fashion."
[Related: Lindsey Graham feels 'betrayed' by Saudi Arabia after Jamal Khashoggi disappearance]
Pompeo traveled to Riyadh on Tuesday to meet with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who claims his government has "nothing to hide" in relation to Khashoggi's disappearance. Saudi Arabia's government has denied involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, despite early reports from the Turkish government that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia ordered a hit on the journalist.
Pompeo assured journalists that the report will be thorough, accessible to the public, and open for inquiry. He also said he has advised the president that he should allow Saudi Arabia a few more days to complete its investigation before making a final determination on whether or not to mount a retaliatory response.
"I told President Trump this morning we ought to give them a few more days to complete that so that we, too, have a complete understanding of the facts surrounding that at which point we can make decisions how or if the United States should respond to the incident surrounding Mr. Khashoggi," Pompeo said.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was last seen the afternoon of Oct. 2 entering the Saudi mission. Turkish investigators believe he was murdered inside the embassy, where he was to fill out paperwork for his wedding, and previously told U.S. officials they have audio and video evidence to prove it. The Turkish officials claim Khashoggi was dismembered at the consulate.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that the police search was complicated because some of the rooms inside the consulate were freshly painted, raising some concerns the potential crime scene might have been tampered with after the fact.
In their meeting, Erdogan told Pompeo that his police were conducting their own investigation, which he claims will be made available to Saudi Arabia.
Asked why the United States should trust Saudi Arabia with conducting a fair, thorough investigation, Pompeo again noted that the findings will be made public and will be subject to public scrutiny.
"We'll all get to see the work and the response that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia takes with us. When we see that we'll get a chance to determine, all of us will get a chance to make a determination with respect to the credibility and work that went into that," Pompeo said. "Whether it's truly accurate, transparent in the way they made a personal commitment to me and the crown prince also made a personal commitment to the president when he spoke to him I believe it was the night before last."