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Trump Warns Of "Very Severe "Consequences Over Khashoggi's Likely Death


U.S. President Donald Trump has said it looks like missing dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is no more.

Talking to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews for an election rally in Montana on Thursday, Trump warned Saudi Arabia of "very severe" consequences if the kingdom is found responsible for Khashoggi's apparent murder.

Trump was briefed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about an investigation to establish the truth regarding what happened to Khashoggi.

Trump addressed the media after holding a detailed meeting with Pompeo, who traveled to Saudi Arabia and Turkey on a brief fact-finding mission earlier this week.

Asked if he believes Jamal Khashoggi is dead, Trump replied, "It certainly looks that way to me. It's very sad. Certainly looks that way".

To another question, Trump said that his administration is waiting for the results of three different investigations. He added that he will be making "a very strong statement" once he "gets to the bottom fairly soon."

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who had been living in the United States, has not been seen since he entered a Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd.

Turkish authorities suspect that Khashoggi was abducted and murdered by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate and his body then removed. But Riyadh denies the claims.

Saudi Arabia allowed Turkish investigators to search the Saudi consul's residence and the consulate Wednesday night.

BBC quoted sources close to the investigation as saying they have audio evidence of Khashoggi's torture and eventual murder at the diplomatic facility.

Saudi Arabia is one of Washington's closest allies and the Trump administration has been reluctant to take strong action against Saudi Arabia.

This is the first time that the U.S. has officially acknowledged Khashoggi's death.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.K. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox have pulled out of a major investment conference in Riyadh next week.

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