President Trump said his response to the alleged murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul will come down to "whether or not the king or the crown prince knew about it."
"What we have right now is Mike Pompeo, who’s terrific, who’s doing a great job, secretary of state, is with the king right now and the crown prince literally as we speak and we're trying to find out what went on. And a lot will be determined," Trump said in a Fox Business interview set to air Tuesday night.
"Turkey is looking at it very strongly. We're all looking at it together. But Turkey and Saudi Arabia are looking at it very strongly and it depends whether or not the King or the Crown Prince knew about it in my opinion, number one what happened but whether or not they knew about it. If they knew about it, that would be bad," Trump said on "Trish Regan Primetime."
Turkish officials told reporters Tuesday that police have found evidence that Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Turkish police conducted a search of the consulate Monday and Tuesday and claim to have found "certain evidence" that Khashoggi was indeed killed there. Investigators spent roughly nine hours searching the consulate for clues as to the reason for Khashoggi's disappearance.
Khassogi 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.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Riyadh an met Tuesday with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who claims his government has "nothing to hide."
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.
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 significant questions.
"My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over," Erdogan told reporters Tuesday.
Trump said Thursday that he is not considering halting the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia in light of Khashoggi's disappearance. The president has ordered an investigation into the matter and there are no sanctions in place at the moment in response.
Trump said Pompeo would be getting back to him Tuesday afternoon about his meeting with Saudi leadership.